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We hear it all the time. Parents are tired of all of the toys laying around. They are tired of buying toys that only get played with a few times. They are tired of every special occasion being about toys. There IS another way. Gifts don't have to be toys. There are plenty of good non-toy gift ideas out there that won't put a hole in your wallet just to take up space in a corner collecting dust.
You probably already know by now but we value experiences over things and know that this way of thinking can be instilled early on in a child's life. We've shared 10 Things to Get Rid of for a Clutter-Free Home and also released a 30-Day Minimalism Challenge.
Below is a list of our picks for non-toy gift ideas! Think of anything we left out? Let us know in the comments below!
20 Non-Toy Gift Ideas
1. Money in a savings account
You could start a normal savings account, a 529 plan which is a savings college account, or you could buy stocks. Something that I think would be really cool is to start the accounts but not even tell the child about them until they are older! How awesome would it be to have someone tell you when you are 16, 18, 21 (whatever age you choose) that you have XX amount of money in an account that you didn't even know existed!?
2. Membership (museum, zoo, amusement park, etc)
Purchase a yearly membership to a local establishment. It's a gift that keeps on giving! A few ideas include amusement parks, the zoo, or museums.
3. Movie tickets
Sure, the parents probably pay for the child to attend movies normally but movie tickets are always a great idea. It makes them feel more grown up with their own movie ticket and they can choose which movie they want to see. You could even include some goodies for them to take with them to the movie!
4. Subscription (little passports, etc)
Subscription services are the latest craze and there are quite a few for kids. Little Passports is one that I've heard of recently and it seems like a really cool option. They inspire children to learn about the world and each month the child will receive a new package in the mail. Another one is Kiwi Crate. Kiwi Crate inspires kids to see themselves as scientists, artists, creators, and makers.
5. Dress up clothes
Some might consider dress up clothes as a form of toys but I think that they spark creativity. You could even go to a secondhand store and get some really cool vintage dress up clothes!
Having your own piece of luggage as a kid is so cool! It makes you feel like an adult. Whether they just use it to store things or actually take it on trips, either way, it's going to a piece that they love and think of you each time they see it.
7. Tickets to an event
Have a child that loves sports or theater? Consider buying them a ticket to an event! You could even get them multiple tickets so they can take friends!
9. Lessons (art, music, sports, etc)
Pay for your child (grandchild, niece, nephew, etc) to take lessons on something they are interested in! Things like gymnastics lessons, art lessons, and sports club fees can all be presented as a gift.
10. Family vacation
Experiences are always better than things and going on a family vacation is definitely an experience! Gift them with a vacation that the whole family is going to take. Print off fun articles or pictures are where you are going and box those up and wrap them. Even if the vacation is far away you can make it fun by giving them a way to countdown the days.
11. Room decor
Kids (and adults!) are always wanting to re-design rooms. Gift them with the tools they need to do that! Have the room painted and/or buy new decor. Bonus points if you can sell the old decor!
12. Sports equipment
Does your child need a new football or baseball gear? Instead of just buying it, give it as a gift. If they are already into the sport, they will love it!
14. Gift card to a restaurant
Similar to the idea for movie tickets, getting them their own gift card to a restaurant will make them feel very grown up. Pick their favorite restaurant, get the gift card, and then set a special date that you will go together, if possible.
15. Sleeping bag
16. Hobby kits (cake decorating, model cars, sewing, etc)
Again, this could be considered a toy by some but I believe that it gets their brain going in a different direction. They have to concentrate on what they are making or building. Some good ideas include cake decorating, model cars, and sewing!
17. Coupon book (that you create)
Create a coupon book for them that includes things like going to the movie, going bowling, going out to eat, playing in the park, etc. You could even include a coupon or two in there about YOU cleaning their room. ;-)
18. Craft supplies
If they are really interested in taking that hobby kit to the next level you could invest a little bit more in the supplies they need. Our nephew loves to get sketchbooks and art supplies.
19. Board games
And the best gift of all... MONEY! I honestly don't care if people think it's not personal enough or whatever reason they come up with... I've never met anyone to turn down money. If you are giving it for Christmas turn it into a money tree (tutorial here).