Non-Toy Gifts 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.
Non Toy Gift Ideas For Kids
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.
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.


Non Toy Gifts for Kids

Printable Sight Word Flashcards

Do you have a child who is learning to read? Check out this free set of Printable Sight Word Flashcards….a gift from me to you!

printable sight word flashcards

My daughter NJ is learning to read right now, and I have to be honest, sometimes it’s a challenge.  She LOVES being read to, we read together every night, but she is less motivated to read on her own.

One of the reasons I created Petit Mail was to make reading fun and exciting.

Your story postcard arrives in the mailbox, you open up the bright envelope in excitement and read together.  Key words are highlighted and I try to keep the sentences simple for early readers.

This month, I created a set of printable sight word flashcards to go along with the new “Milo Loves Reading” Petit Mail story postcard.  This sight word flashcard set is perfect for reading practice at home with a bright background and featuring Petit Mail characters.

Let’s create a whole new generation who LOVES READING!

Sign Up For Your Printable Sight Word Flashcards Here


Sign Up Here

Kids Pen Pal: Find A Pen Pal For Your Child

Did you have a pen pal as a child?
I did – she lived in Australia and I loved learning about her life.
Kids Pen Pal Cover

International Kids Pen Pal Group

For quite a while now, I’ve been thinking about starting a Facebook group so that parents can connect with other parents and find a pen pal for their child in another part of the world.

So, I finally did it.

Join The International Kids Pen Pal Group Here

Let’s learn about different places around the world (or even in our own country) – it’s one of my favourite things about pen pals. You can spark new conversations and new learning, just by reading a letter!

See you in the group,


5 Reasons To Choose Gift Subscriptions For Kids

Our kids. They want our attention. They want us to spend time with them. They want to know we are there, close by, engaged with them.
As a full-time working outside the home mom, I feel like my time for presence is SO limited. That’s part of the reason why I created Petit Mail – a story card to read together, a link and ideas for easy activities we can do together. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with activities on the spot – it’s a little easier with a helping hand. Plus, snail mail is the MOST FUN. Don’t you agree?

Here’s a list of my Top 5 Reasons to Choose Gift Subscriptions for Kids

Reason 1
Gift subscriptions keep giving well past the initial “open”.  It is the age-old “gift that keeps on giving” when something new and fun arrives in the mailbox each month.
Reason 2
Kids LOVE to get mail. Mail with their name on it. Bright, colourful mail.  It can be a really joyful experience, especially the first time a subscription arrives.
Reason 3
During gift-giving times, especially during the holidays, there are SO. MANY. TOYS. Yes, the toys are exciting for a short period of time, but often lose their appeal quickly. Subscriptions do not add to the pile.  They offer something deeper.  See reason 4.
Reason 4
Subscriptions spark learning and imagination in a fun way. They encourage creative play and quality time spent together as a family. They are the perfect non-toy gift.
Reason 5
Subscriptions offer you the ability to give the best gift of all – your presence.  Your presence while you read together each month and your presence in the parent-child activities your subscription provides.

What Really Matters?

I get asked this question all the time
“How do you do it all”?

I’m never quite sure how to respond.

I mean, what, exactly, is “it all”?
I used to provide a somewhat lengthy response

“oh, you know, I don’t watch much TV….I have a very supportive husband who does a LOT….my house isn’t really that clean……..etc”.

Lately, I’ve changed my answer.  Now I say “you always have time for the things you put first”.  It sums up all of the above, and more.  It says everything I want to say, without having to explain myself too much, and, most importantly, it’s true.

Parenting is always a challenging undertaking.  As far as I can tell, that never stops.
There are beautiful, magical, heart-warming days, and there are days when you feel like you will never come up for air again.

Lately, I’m focusing more on the little moments with my kids. The moments that I feel I can have some control over.

These moments, the moments where I put down my technology and spent 15 minutes drawing with my daughter.
These moments, where we keep our weekends as free as possible so that we can enjoy family time together.
These moments, when the supper table is magically free from whining, stalling and other general unpleasantness and we can talk about our days.


I’m focusing here, in these moments, and it has made me a lot calmer, and a lot happier.

I’m putting quality time first.

I plan ahead, so I’m less rushed.
I schedule carefully, so we don’t overcommit.
I say no to some things, to make room for other things.
Always full of big ideas, I save many of those ideas for later.  There will be time for those things, they don’t all have to happen right now.
I try to let go when things don’t go quite according to plan.
I simplify.
I make time for reading together. For playing together, even if that means that all of the laundry doesn’t get finished today.
I make time for myself, which makes me a 100% better parent.

You always have time for the things you put first.