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Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids and Families

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Toys, toys, toys.  My home is full of toys. Cars and trucks, baby dolls, books, stuffed animals, play clothes, toy dishes, building blocks, and more. You name it, we probably have it. It’s not that we don’t purge on a regular basis. The toys just seem to multiply before our very eyes! What we need are some non-toy gift ideas.

Wichita Riding Academy horseback riding lessons
Photo: Wichita Riding Academy

My plan this year is to give the kids a couple of traditional gifts and the rest will be non-toy gifts.

I have compiled a list of non-toy gift ideas to get you started:

Lessons. Hone your child’s interest. Whether it’s music, art, dance, acting, singing, horseback riding or golf, find out what they are interested in and let them try it out.  It is best to sign them up for the lessons before giving them the gift so that you don’t get busy and forget to follow through on the gift! This present can also be combined with a correlating gift such as dance shoes, a leotard, paintbrushes and paints…you get the idea! One great gift idea for tweens and teens is an instrument from Damm Music Center and lessons too! We just bought a ukulele at Damm Music for my daughter. (They are all the rage right now with teens and tweens!)

Memberships. This is a great gift and value, especially for large families. Day passes can be pricey and this is the gift that just keeps giving. A family can enjoy going to the Sedgwick County ZooCowtown, Exploration Place, Botanica and more. This is a great way for a family to get out and explore their city together. 

Adventure Activities Miniature golf, trampoline park, Go Karts, paintball and rock wall climbing are just a few of the activities that a family can enjoy together. I know my active kids would love this.

Non-toy gift ideas for kids! | Take the kids rock climbing or participate in another active, adventurous activity. A gift they'll remember!

Classes. Cooking, art, sewing, gardening and more. There are lots of classes available for kids. This gift could be combined with a small physical gift to wrap such as  an apron for a cooking class or paintbrushes for an art class.

wichita ice center gift cards holiday
The Wichita Ice Center has gift cards you can give for skating, lessons, more.

Tickets to an event or attraction. These can be a perfect gift for so many people on your list. Would they like tickets for concerts, miniature golf, paint ball, the Wichita Art Museum, bowling, swimming, dinner and a show, roller skating or ice skating?

Creating an Experience. This could be a trip to All Star Sports or Chuck E. Cheese. (Buy arcade tokens, miniature golf passes and go kart passes ahead of time so you have something to wrap.) A day at Watson Park riding the train, paddle boats and miniature golf would be fun too.

This could be a trip to play paintball or play at one of the indoor trampoline parks. A trip to the spa with mom. Rock wall climbing at Bliss Bouldering & Climbing.  A sleepover at the Sedgwick County Zoo with the gorillas.

Non-toy gift ideas for kids! | Take the kids on an adventure and explore nearby places with a family road trip. Fun, unforgettable experience for kids.

Family Trip. For a fun Stay-cation stay at a local hotel with a pool and explore the city. Go to a hotel with an indoor water park. A family day trip is also a lot of fun and makes for great memories. Check out one of these Kansas Road trips: here, here or here.  Or visit Branson. Check out Reserve Branson deals here.

Their own tools. My kids love to help out, whether it’s baking in the kitchen or helping to fix the steps to the deck. My daughter loved when we gave her her very own baking icing tips, rolling pin, whisk and other kitchen tools. She currently wants to be a baker so these were just right for her. My son loves to take things apart and put them back together again, so we bought him his very own set of real tools. We didn’t buy him play tools. We actually went to the store and found small sized real tools for him and put them in a small tackle box that looks like a tool box. He loves to get it out and use it.

Magazine Subscription There are several magazines just for kids that they will love receiving each month. My kids have really enjoyed the free Lego Life Magazine.

Monthly Subscription Box.  If your child has an interest in comic books, gaming, make up, adventure, science experiments or really just about anything, there are monthly subscription boxes for it. Some are as low as $10 a month.

Books. Books are a great way to expand your home library and your child’s love of reading. If you’re not sure what books they might like, get them a gift certificate to a local book store along with a journal and gel pens.

Clothes and Shoes. I know clothes don’t sound very exciting, but they can be if it’s a fun piece of clothing instead of a necessity item. For instance, a fancy dress, a neat hat, cool shoes, a funky shirt, and fancy jeans that you wouldn’t normally buy can all be great gift ideas.

Scrapbook. Combine this gift with scrapbooking supplies such as decorative paper, glue, craft scissors, and photos of your child and family. Then put it all in a decorative box. This is a great way for your child to show his or her creativity and have a place to put all of those school programs, art work and other papers all in one place.

Art and Craft Supplies. Gel pens, paint, art canvas and easel, paintbrushes, googly eyes, pipe cleaners, popsicle/craft sticks, buttons, markers, glue sticks, stickers and the like are always popular with kids. As a bonus, it also helps to develop their creativity and imagination. Put it all in a small tub or decorative box and let their imaginations soar! I have found that these types of gifts provide hours of creative fun. You can find a huge variety of highly-rated supplies here at Amazon.

Games. We love to play games together. Board games can be a great family gift and way to bond with your children.


DIY Kit. Give them all the supplies to create slime, lip balm, a hand sewing kit, jewelry making kit, build your own wooden toy, rock painting kit, stamp kit, etc. These can be bought as kits or buy the supplies separately and build your own DIY kit.


Room Décor. A gift card with a promise to take them shopping to decorate their own room including letting them choose their own paint color or a few special pieces to add to their room make great gifts. New bed sheets, decorative pillows, a new curtain, new artwork or posters for the wall or fun room organizers. The gift card can be combined with one decorative item to make the gift a little more fun to open.

A Personal Letter or Card. Believe it or not, this is actually on my children’s Christmas list this year. They love when we write handwritten letters or cards to them. We like to include stories of  “when you were little” and tell them the great things we love about their personality and talents. They really treasure these personal stories and they make great keepsakes.

Related:

How to Make the Holidays Special When You Can’t Afford Big Gifts

Inexpensive (but awesome!) gifts for coffee lovers

Black Friday Shopping Tips

I hope these ideas help you think of the perfect gifts for your kids or grandkids. Tell me – what are some non-toy gifts you’ve given or plan to give this year? Did the kids love them?

Originally published Dec. 4, 2017

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