7 Non-Toy Gift Ideas For Kids

It seems like many of the conversations I have with other moms lately revolve around the STUFF we are trying to get rid of.
For the past year, I’ve been on a decluttering spree and a move toward simpler, more minimalist living and for the past few years, my mind always comes back to KIDS GIFTS AND TOYS.  I try to maintain some level of control over what comes into our home (within reason), and we donate old toys on a regular basis.


I don’t know about you, but my kids don’t need much.  They play happily for hours with the simplest of things – what they really want is for someone to engage and interact with them.  I always cringe a little on the inside when I hear other parents talking about their playrooms full of toys that never get used….it feels so wasteful.
A few months ago, I started to look for creative non-toy gift ideas for kids and put together a Pinterest board with ideas that inspired me.
There are other posts out there with non-toy gift ideas for kids, but they all seem really generic, like “a zoo membership” or “a subscription”.  I wanted to come up with some really practical, creative ideas that are a little more specific. My hope is that you find these inspiring, and that you can use some of these ideas for your own gifting this year.

1. Make a DIY KIT set inspired by the child’s interests.

My niece loves to make her own cards, so this year, I decided to give her a DIY card kit. I’ve been gathering many more DIY gift kit ideas from other blogs over on the Non-Toy Gifts for Kids Pinterest board, including puppet kits, art kits, cookie kits, dramatic play kits, science kits, sewing kits, fort kits and so much more!

2. Plan an outing to pick out a special new outfit. 

We gratefully receive 95% of our kids clothing passed along from other families that we know.  For me, this is fantastic because the clothes is all in excellent condition and we save a fortune in clothing costs.  However, it means that our kids don’t go clothes shopping very often, making it a special treat.  This year, for NJ’s birthday – part of her gift was to go to the store and pick out a special “birthday outfit”.  She absolutely loved this.  I chose a store where I knew the clothing was affordable and she picked a new dress, shoes, hairband and sunglasses.

3. Choose an affordable, engaging subscription

Our favorite is Petit Mail of course.  Many subscription boxes and services are a lot of fun, but can be QUITE expensive once you add shipping costs.  Petit Mail story card subscriptions cost $6 per month for Canada and US mailing addresses (a little more for International subscribers) and inspire imagination and creative play.  Each month, read along with the adventures of Oliver + Olivia and connect as a family with science projects, nature exploration, art ideas, dramatic play and more. Ideal for ages 3 – early reader.

4. Dress Up Costumes

Dress up costumes could be store-bought or handmade.  Think hats, shirts, masks, animal tails, capes and more.  This gift could be one elaborate costume, or a whole dress-up box full of accessories.  Your gift will provide hours of imaginative, creative play.  You can find some DIY costume ideas on the Non Toy Gifts for Kids Pinterest Board

5. A custom-made piece of clothing, especially for them

Find a local dressmaker, or a maker that inspires you to make a custom piece of clothing for a child in your life.  OR, make it yourself!  This could be a dress, a hat, a costume of some sort (see number 4!), Make it into an experience that INVOLVES them in the process, not just something that you do behind the scenes.  Take them to a studio to get measured, have them pick out the colors or designs they like the best.

6. Photo or Memory Albums

Our daughter  NJ (age 5) loves looking at photos of herself when she was younger. If you have a child in your life that you spend time with and regularly take photos of, don’t underestimate the value of something like this, even for fairly young children.

7. A sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight and book or movie

Need I say more.  You could also include a coupon for a sleepover at your house, or a night of camping out in the backyard.

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