Use this list of non-toy gifts for kids to make your next gift-giving experience for kids special without adding yet another toy to the mix.
Listed are non-toy gift ideas for Christmas, birthdays, or simply if you want to spoil the young child with something special. (Grandma, this is for you!)
Many parents get inundated with toys and STUFF with the birth of a new one and then year after year of gift-giving.
Don’t add to the clutter, and use these non-toy gifts for kids as inspiration to spoil the little ones in your life!
Related Post: 15 Epic Minimalist Gifts for Kids
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The Best Non-Toy Gifts for Toddlers
Babies and toddlers don’t usually understand all the gift-giving at Christmas and birthdays. Take advantage of their lack of understanding of consumerism and get them things they need or that they can enjoy all year round.
Non-toy gifts for a 1 year old, 2 year old or 3 year old
1. Photo Album
I especially love the ideas of a photo album as a non-toy gift for a 1 year old. They love to look at pictures of loved ones, especially if one parent travels or extended family lives farther away.
You can make a quick photobook on Shutterfly. You don’t even have to be crafty. Simply upload your photos and choose a template. It will do the work for you! I love this service.
Hands down the best non-toy gift for toddlers when you are short on ideas or cash! I’ve never seen a toddler frown at bubbles. No special bubble blowing equipment necessary. Buy one or two gallons of bubbles and watch the fun!
3. Savings Account
Speaking of saving money, if you really want to buy the young toddler in your life a non-toy gift and they are too young to really get understand anyway, consider starting them a savings account now. They will thank you when they are teenagers.
Mothers hate it, toddlers love it. 😊 Don’t buy the specialty play-dough kits. Go simple with a monster pack of Play-Doh. Let the child imagine what they will create.
6. A toddler-sized camping chair
Let your little one join you outside with their own kid-sized camping chair.
7. Sticker Books
8. Hooded Towels
My kids loved hooded towels but it was an unnecessary item I never bought them, as my plain ole’ adult towels worked just fine. Treat the little ones in your life with a fun hooded towel!
9. Bath essentials
Bath time is playtime for toddlers. Get them a basket of their favorite items like:
- Bath bombs
- Character bath soap (that mom would never buy)
Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Bigger Kids (and still good for little kids)
These non-toy gift ideas are great for bigger kids, but many of them are also perfect for toddlers too.
I especially love these ideas for the perfect non-toy Christmas gifts, as my kids already have too many toys, and these solutions won’t add to the toy clutter in my home!
There are some pretty awesome games out there for kids of all ages and they are the perfect non-toy gifts for Christmas or birthdays.
My personal favorite game for toddlers is Don’t Wake Daddy. It’s good for ages 3 and up.
Best part, the more a child “loses,” the better their chance at advancing as the game progresses. It teaches winning and losing without all the complaining!
Plus, when daddy wakes up, it is kind of hilarious!
Puzzles don’t have to have 1000 pieces. Grab a puzzle for your toddler with 20-100 pieces and you may be amazed at what they can accomplish.
For older kids, you can buy puzzles anywhere from 100-1000 pieces. Kids get pretty good at puzzles with practice.
I like having a puzzle mat on hand so we can work on one at the kitchen table, and then, when it is time for dinner, store it back under the bed.
12. Piggy Bank
Kids don’t really understand the value of money, but they enjoy the idea of sticking coins in a piggy bank. Get them a fun one they can use to start saving money now.
13. Lessons or Classes
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a child learning how to swim. Get them swimming lessons early on, and help them develop a love for the water!
14. Subscription Boxes
Subscription boxes are all the rage now. You can buy anything from a book subscription box to one for teaching kids how to cook.
Sock Panda – Get fun socks delivered to your favorite little! 15% OFF FOR NEW SIGN-UPS AT CHECKOUT Coupon code: BESTGIFT15
Boss Club – Teach your kids how to be an entrepreneur with these fun business ideas!
Green Kid Crafts – Get screen-free fun a tree planted for each order!
Think Outside LLC – Get your kids outside and active!
Bookroo – Book club for kids!
Eat2Explore – Discover the joy of cooking, tasting and exploring new world cuisines from home with the family!
LittleSous – A cooking club for kids!
HOOT for Kids – Quality Ideas for Kids
15. Art Supplies
Art supplies are one of my favorite non-toy gifts for kids. Don’t get fancy here. A giant book of plain paper and some paint pens make for a fantastic gift. You can even get them a smock they can wear for years.
16. Ice Cream Sundae Makings
I LOVE this gift idea, and it is our go-to for many birthday parties.
You basically buy everything except the ice cream (unless you are headed somewhere with a freezer readily available!).
Every kid loves an extra dose of sugar. You can buy chocolate syrup, marshmallows, sprinkles, candy, caramel, nuts, cherries etc. Go crazy!
17. A CD Player
You know all those CDs you never listen to anymore but you can’t quite part with yet? Get your child a CD Player, and allow them to have full musical control over the CDs you choose for them.
I also adore audible books on CD to help with reading.
Kids love to listen to music and stories. You can buy a kid-friendly pair of headphones to go with a CD player. I love youth-specific headphones, as they often limit the volume.
Toddlers and big kids love slippers, especially the ones with fun characters on them.
I don’t know why, but my kids always loved getting new socks. Buy ones with fun designs on them and that they can call their own, without sharing with a sibling!
21. A homemade blanket
Making a blanket is probably the easiest homemade craft you can accomplish. You can even buy a blanket making kit with no sewing required!
Pick out a fun fabric, and watch their eyes light up when you give it to them.
Umbrellas are pretty much the coolest non-toy gift you could give a kid. They are so much fun, and they encourage play outside, even when it is raining!
The best memberships our family has enjoyed over the years were memberships to the local zoo, the children’s museum, and other local museums. You can even gift a membership to a local gym.
24. Dress Up Clothes
Every year after Halloween, I’ll scope the aisles for clearance dress up clothes. Kids love to pretend, and this non-toy gift idea encourages the best imaginations.
25. Silk Scarves
26. Weighted Blankets
Kids love a special blanket to call their own, and weighted blankets are the best when it comes to making them feel snug and calm. I love the fun designs on this weighted blanket.
27. A watch
Kids may not know how to tell time yet, but they love wearing a watch, and they can get in the habit of learning this new skill.
28. Outdoor Play Equipment
Anything that encourages outdoor play is a win and makes the best non-toy gift for kids.
29. Bean bag chair
Every child loves bean bag chairs. Just make sure you have the room for it! They are always bigger than I imagine.
You can even buy a bean bag cover and stuff it with stuffed animals to help reduce the clutter.
30. Science Experiment Kit
Help your child learn how things work with a science experiment kit. Many are super basic science experiment kits for the toddler level and require not much more than an imagination and maybe a little vinegar mixed with baking soda!
As kids get older, you can get science experience kits where more complex concepts can be learned.
Toddlers cannot get enough books, as this is the most important time to start building their vocabulary and love for reading.
My girls loved the 100 Words Book when they were 1 year old, as it helped them start saying new words and associate a word with a picture.
For non-toy gifts for 2 and 3 year old toddlers, anything by Eric Carle is fantastic.
Whether you make a terrarium out of upcycled items or from a terrarium kit, help kids learn how things grow with this fun and educational non-toy gift.
33. A garden kit
Help your child learn how to grow plants by getting them their own garden kit.
You can simply buy a pot, soil and something easy like green beans, or you can buy a garden kit. Make it fun and easy!
34. Sleeping Bags / Sleeping Mat
You don’t have to get fancy here with this non-toy gift idea. Kids love having “sleep overs” in a sibling’s rooms or on mama’s bedroom floor. Make it all the more fun with a sleeping bag or homemade sleeping mat.
35. Gift cards
While I am not always a fan of gift cards, as I feel they lack in creativity, they do make for an awesome and easy gift.
If you want to do a gift card for a child, consider extra fun places like a donut shop, local ice cream parlor, or one for the movie theater.
Kids love experiences, and there are a ton of them out there you can give to a kid in lieu of a toy. Consider the following:
- Favorite restaurant
- Donut shop
- Ice cream shop
- Children’s Museum
- Local museum
- Indoor gym or trampoline place
- Event tickets (concerts, Disney on Ice, local events, etc.)
Related Post: Experience Gifts for Everyone on Your List
37. Movie and a treat
We do movie night every Friday night in our house, so my kiddos love getting new movies to add to their collection.
They would be super excited to get a new movie and candy treat. You can buy the movie used or new. I promise, kids don’t care.
38. Craft supplies
Give a child a stack of construction paper, glue sticks, scissors, and markers, and you will have a masterpiece created for you in less than an hour.
Kids love to have craft supplies to call their own, with no rules on how much they can use in one sitting!
My girls love to wear jewelry. You can buy them special pieces just for kids, but they also love very colorful and gaudy selections from thrift stores.
I think kids feel more grown up when wearing adult pieces.
40. A digital camera or a disposable camera
Get your kid a digital kid-friendly camera or even a disposable camera.
Let them run loose for a week or two with it, and then take them to experience developing photos. Every child should know what it is like to wait for pictures and see what they look like!
I did this with my kids, and it melted my heart to see the scenes they captured from their view.
41. Bath Robe
Like hooded towels, toddlers and big kids love bath robes. It’s a good excuse to escape getting dressed one minute longer! I like these unicorn bath robes!
Kids love sunglasses. They will also scratch them up in an instant, so moms don’t usually like to buy them. Grab a pair or two as a fun non-toy gift idea for kids.
43. Magazine subscriptions
- Highlights (ages 6-12)
- Highlights Hive Five ages (2-6)
- National Geographic Kids (ages 6+)
- National Geographic Little Kids (ages 3-6)
- Jack and Jill
- Ranger Rick (ages 7-12)
- Ranger Rick Jr. (ages 4-7)
- Ranger Rick Cub (ages 1-4)
Magazine subscriptions are the gift that keeps giving every month. What kid doesn’t love to receive mail?
Give a kid a flashlight, and they are armed for the darkest of nights! Flashlights make camping, fort building, and just sitting in the dark so much fun!
45. Hiking backpack
If you are an outdoorsy family or travel often, your kids can start carrying their own backpacks when very young.
Our kiddos were hiking with them as early as 3 years old, and they are awesome on an airplane. I love the Osprey hiking backpacks with the water reservoir pocket!
For bigger kids, I love these hiking backpacks from Osprey. They usually grow with a kid to at least 12 years old.
46. Fishing supplies
If you like to fish, get your child their very own fishing pole and supplies. Then, plan a fun day to the water.
47. Amazon Fire Tablet for Kids
OK, some may put the Amazon Fire Tablet in the “toy” category. Hear me out.
We bought these for kiddos for our airplane travels. I LOVE THEM! As a parent, you can go into their profile, place time limits, limits on what they can access, and choose age-appropriate material.
It also comes with one year of access to their own kids’ Audible library with Amazon FreeTime Unlimited.
The kid version of the tablets also come with a 2 year, no questions asked warranty. It is peace of mind when they drop in for the up-teenth time!
Give your child the gift of relaxing outside in nature in their very own hammock. Hammocks are fun for naps and swinging and the prefect non toy gift for kids.
49. A musical instrument
If you are up for the
noise practice, then musical instruments make for the perfect non-toy gift for kids. Encourage their musical love now, while they are young.
50. Nail polish
Little ones love to paint their nails! You can even use kid-friendly, non-toxic nail polish!
We got our children kid-friendly suitcases one year. Now, years later, they still LOVE using them. One has a fun design and the other has light-up wheels. Make travel fun with your little ones!
52. Care package
Put together an amazing care package for the little ones in your life. It can be a movie care package, ice cream sundae (minus the ice cream) care package, etc.
Decorate the box, and have a great time making it special, especially if you have special kids in your life that live farther away.
53. A scrunchie making kit
My daughter’s friend got a scrunchie making kit as a gift and it was a hit with all the little girls at the party.
Need more gift ideas? Check out the following posts:
- 15 Fun Minimalist Gifts for Kids
- Budget-Friendly Gifts that Cost Zero to Little Money
- Experience Gifts for Everyone on Your List
- Brilliant Minimalist Gifts for Dad He Will Love
- Gifts for Mom Who Doesn’t Want Anything: Unique Gift Ideas for Mom
- The Ultimate Gift Guide for Minimalists | Useful Gifts for Everyone on Your List
- Minimalist Gifts for Mom that Don’t Add to Clutter
- Gifts for Minimalists: Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List
Got more non-toy gift ideas for kids? Please share them below!