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90 Non-Toy Gifts For Kids (and Adults!) | 2023 Guide

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Inside: Here are 90 non-toy gifts for kids to try this holiday season! These are foolproof Christmas gift ideas for kids suggested by moms for moms!

Raise your hand if the only gift idea you have for Christmas is toys.

*Every mom raises their hand.*

Of course, there’s a place for getting kids toys, but I don’t think they should be their only gifts. Plus, most toys don’t have longevity, are easily broken or require batteries. Non-toy gifts, on the other hand, are usually more practical, special and don’t create a lot of clutter.

We did a big toy clean out a few years ago to get rid of the stuff my kids don’t play with anymore and to make room for the new Christmas gifts they’ll be getting.

I was pretty disappointed that we got rid of one of my son’s big toy gifts from Christmas last year that he doesn’t play with AND that got broken within a few days of opening it.

But you know what we didn’t get rid of? His clothes, and books, and other non-toy gifts.

I asked a few fellow mamas what the best non-toy Christmas gifts they’ve given or received and here are their suggestions!

90 Creative Non-Toy Gifts for Kids

A young boy and girl hold up wrapped Christmas presents and jump in front of Christmas tree.

Practical Gift Items

Practical items make great non-toy gifts for kids because you know they’ll be used. And while they might not be the most exciting gifts, kids usually appreciate them, nonetheless.

1. Clothes

Clothes are one of the best Christmas present ideas for kids, IMHO!

We always give our kids ‘something to wear‘ each year, and that’s usually a nice outfit and some pajamas they open on Christmas Eve. It’s a pretty popular tradition because lots of other moms I talked to also said they do Christmas Eve jammies.

A few other clothing ideas for kids are snow gear (if you live somewhere cold), and dress clothes. And this isn’t exactly clothes, but one mom said her mother would give them new flannel sheets for the winter along with their PJs on Christmas Eve.

2. Socks and shoes

Socks and shoes are another practical gift that will get tons of use. You can also use socks as stocking stuffers. Consider purchasing some everyday socks and some special Christmas themed socks, too.

3. Alarm clock

This gift idea is great for kids who are starting school. It will help them wake up in the morning and get them used to their new routine. Alarm clocks can be a fun way to start your kids day.

4. Flashlight

Kids love flashlights! You can use them to make puppet shows, to tell scary stories and to play outside at night. They can also come in handy in case of emergency or a power outage.

5. A Watch

What kid doesn’t love to wear a watch? There are lots of great kids watches on the market these days that have cool features for fun and for safety. Many double or triple as a phone and GPS device.

6. Night light

A fun night light can help your child sleep in their own bed at night. There are so many different options out there that can be catered to their unique interests and tastes. Some night lights even come with music or put projections on the wall.

7. Calendar

Calendars can help children learn the days of the week, months and holidays. You can also preload your calendar with fun activity ideas do do throughout the year. Be sure to highlight their birthday, too!

8. Bedroom decor

Personalized wooden circle wall hanging for a little girl's bedroom with her name on it.

You’d be surprised how excited kids can be for new bedroom décor. Whether you’re adding in some needed items or upgrading their room to be more age appropriate, room decorations and bedding will definitely be a hit.

9. Bath products

A new robe, special towel and other bath products make great non-toy Christmas ideas for kids. You can also get fun bubble bath, a shower radio or bathroom décor and accessories just for them.

Personalized Items for Kids (and Adults!)

Family wears personalized Disneyland t-shirts with their names on them at Disneyland park.

Looking back, some of my most memorable non-toy Christmas gifts are the ones that were personalized. I remember getting a monogram necklace for Christmas one year that I absolutely loved!

Here are some of the most popular personalized gift ideas:

10. Personalized book

Get your child a personalized book with their name in it! They’ll love seeing their name right on the cover or inside pages. There are also companies that can illustrate your child or a significant other right into the storyline and artwork of the book.

11. T-Shirts

Personalized t-shirts and matching t-shirts are so fun. And you can use this gift to go along with a family vacation surprise (like the ones we did for Disneyland!).

12. Personalized blanket

Every kid needs a comfy blanket, so why not get them a monogrammed one with their name on it? No more fighting over blankets because each kid will have their own!

13. Photo album/memory books

I love to create photo books for my kids, and they enjoy seeing themselves in the pictures. It’s so fun to create something special just for them!

You can also make a book full of memories for your spouse. I’ve done this for my husband’s birthday before. Simply gather memories from his family and friends and put them all together with pictures in a photo book.

14. Jewelry

Monogrammed jewelry is another special, personalized gift that gets a ton of use. Your child will treasure these items as a keepsake year after year.

15. Sentimental items

You can also try family portrait illustrations, home illustrations, maps with sentimental locations, calendars, and mugs. You can even turn your child’s artwork into a pillow! And if you need a personalized gift for your spouse, a love letter couldn’t be any more personal!

Gifts that Promote Life Skills

Child reaches for English muffin pizzas from a metal baking sheet.

Your children will love these non-toy Christmas gift ideas for kids that promote life skills. Each of these items will help your children learn to follow instructions, practice concentration and gain a sense of accomplishment. Give them practical knowledge so they can help more around the house and gain more independence.

16. Tool set

You can get them a set of tools to help with small projects. Amazon has lots of options for real tool sets made for kids. They’ll feel so grown up being able to handle real tools, but you won’t have to worry about them losing or breaking yours!

17. Gardening tools

If you have a garden, try gifting your child with some gardening tools. Gardening is a great way to teach science, spend time outdoors and gain lessons in patience as you wait to watch things grow. And, how cool would it be to grow vegetables and fruit with your child and then cook them together when they’re ready to pick?

18. Cooking supplies

Speaking of cooking, kitchen supplies are a great gift for kids. You can get them their own apron and chef’s hat, kid-sized kitchen tools and cookbooks made for children.

19. Sewing kit

Have a knack for sewing? Pass that onto your children with their own sewing kit geared towards kids! They can work on basic sewing projects for themselves, your household or to give as gifts.

Ideas for Money Gifts

Young girl puts money into a small pink piggy bank for kids.

Older kids would love to receive money as a gift and there are several forms in which to deliver. Unfortunately, most kids don’t get much financial education in schools, so you’ll need to pick up the slack at home. You can use these monetary non-toy gifts for kids as an opportunity to help them understand the value of a dollar and responsible ways to save and spend.

20. Piggy bank

Gift your child a piggy bank to house their birthday money or money from chores. Younger kids will especially enjoy this gift. And you don’t have to stick to a traditional piggy bank. There are unicorn piggy banks, ATM piggy banks, soccer ball piggy banks and so many more!

21. Savings account

Start a savings account for your child. They may not appreciate it as much now, but it will become way more meaningful to them as they age. Can you imagine the kind of interest they could yield across their entire childhood, adding a little at a time for birthdays and holidays? They will definitely be grateful when it comes time for college.

22. Stocks

The same goes for stocks. It’s more easy than ever to start investing for your child. There are even apps you can download to do the heavy lifting for you.

23. Apps

On the topic of apps, there are some awesome money-saving and money-managing apps for kids nowadays. These apps can help manage chores and allowance and may even come with a cash card.

Greenlight and Go Henry are great places to start.

24. Actual money

Yes, actual money can also make a great gift. Try to choose an age appropriate amount and let them decide how to spend it with some guidance and direction. Encourage them to use their money for things that well help them learn, make memories or on something that can be useful for a long period of time.

25. Gift cards

Several different gift cards on display for restaurants and stores.

Some people feel gift cards are too impersonal, but for me, I couldn’t disagree more. I LOVE getting a gift card and being able to pick out exactly what I want!

Giving a gift card to an adult is a pretty common gift (I’m giving them to 5 people this year!), but how fun would it be to give one to your kiddo?

This will allow them to choose their gift, but not necessarily where it’s from!

Learning/Educational Gifts for Kids

Mother shows several educational, non-toy subscription boxes to her kids.

Education gifts are a win-win. Kids are way more responsive to learning when delivered in fun and entertaining ways. Gift them learning tools for things they are really interested in or maybe in areas they need a little extra help.

26. Educational kits

If your child has an interest in a particular subject or animal, try to find an education kit to help them explore their curiosity. There are so many different educational kits available for purchase for every category and age. There are kits for growing crystals, learning code, fossils, soap making, chemistry sets, the sky is the limit!

27. Telescope

Telescopes are great non-toy gifts for kids who are interested in astronomy. You can go with a telescope for kids or a more expensive option if you’re a little more daring. You can also find books and YouTube videos to help them on their quest for knowledge.

28. Binoculars

Children who are interested in nature might enjoy the gift of binoculars. They’re great for bird watching and spotting other critters outside. Or, they can use them for pretend play as a spy, too!

29. Bird feeder

Bird feeders are another great gift for kids who love animals and nature. They can also learn some responsibility keeping it filled with food. You can also help them learn to identify the different kinds of birds that come for a meal.

30. Butterfly catcher

Your children will spend more time outdoors with the gift of a butterfly catcher. Teach them how to be patient and gentle when capturing these fluttery and delicate insects. And you can encourage them to draw sketches of the different butterflies they find.

31. Workbooks

If you want to be more literal with your educational gifts, you can give your children some fun and creative workbooks for Christmas. There are lots of great workbooks available that make learning fun, but also teach core principles.

32. Flashcards

Flashcards are another great educational gift that bring in an element of fun. You can use your flashcards to create fun games that promote learning and memorization. And they make great stocking stuffers, too!

Non-Toy Kid’s Subscriptions

A young boy and girl read books from their Amazon Prime subscription program.

Monthly subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving. There are SO MANY kids subscription boxes out there with everything from clothes, to books, to STEM activities that can help them develop a love of those important subjects.

Here are a few of my favorites:

33. Stem subscription boxes

KiwiCo is a monthly subscription that gives your child everything they need to create their very own STEM projects!

Each box comes with all of the materials and instructions to build a fun and engaging project that will teach them to be creative problem solvers.

34. Subscriptions for books

Prime Book Box is a great subscription to get your bookworms and future bookworms!

You can pick how often it ships (every 1, 2, or 3 months) and you can either customize the books you get or let the people over at Amazon pick for you!

35. Magazine subscription

Magazine subscriptions are one of the tried and true non-toy gifts for kids. There’s the classic National Geographic for kids, the Highlights magazine and many more. They’ll love getting these in the mail each month with something new to learn and enjoy.

36. Streaming services

You could also gift your child with a streaming service for kids. Think Disney+, Hulu, Netflix and services like Prime Video. Most platforms provide an option to create a kid’s profile and/or implement parental controls so they’re safe to use.

Arts and Crafts Gifts for Kids

A young boy and girl hold up their artwork while sitting in their parents room.

Kids have endlessly creative minds. Gift them with craft supplies and tools to let their creative juices flow! Art projects can help them reach developmental milestones and expand their imaginations.

37. Paint set

Paint sets are one of the most classic non-toy gifts for kids. I don’t know a kid who doesn’t enjoy a good watercolor project. Some sets even come with coloring pages children can work through and they’re usually pretty affordable, too.

38. Play-doh/Kinetic sand

You can make your own DIY Play-doh and kinetic sand or purchase premade kits online or instore. These items are another kid favorite they’ll love to receive. And if you already have Play-doh or kinetic sand, you can get some new accessories to enhance your children’s play.

39. Art easel

Art easels make a great addition to a kid’s playroom. Many of them come with multi-use function for chalkboards or whiteboards and canvas/paper. Or, you could stick to a more traditional easel, strictly used for sketching and painting.

40. Chalkboard

Alternatively, you can go with a simple chalkboard for your non-toy gift. You can buy a premade board or make a DIY chalkboard at home. If you really want to go for it, you can create an entire chalkboard wall!

41. Art trolley

An art trolley is a trendy way to house all of your child’s arts and craft supplies. They’re super convenient with tiered storage and wheels for rolling around and out of the way. If your child loves to do art projects, this is the perfect gift for them

42. Design software

Older kids might enjoy the gift of design software. They’ll be able to hone their graphic design or interior design skills and may even spark their entrepreneurial spirit to start a small business. Canva and Photoshop are great options to try for graphic design and check out programs like Houzz Pro for interior design.

Gifts for Pretend Play

Girl in white tutu stands in front of a dress up stand displayed in her room.

Pretend play helps children learn social skills and the world around them, expands their imaginations, and can provide hours of entertainment. Gifts for pretend play also have great longevity because they can adapt with your child as they grow and change.

43. Dress up clothes

Try dress up clothes geared towards their interests. Whether that be a doctor, chef, police officer, princess or dragon, if you can name it, you can find affordable options online. Or, if you’re a good seamstress, you can make your own. You can also gift them a dress up stand like the one we used for our daughter’s golden birthday party.

44. Pretend makeup kit

You could also get a pretend makeup kit to go along with your dress up clothes. Some might consider this a toy, but I love this idea because it’s more than just a noise-maker or something for mindless fun. These items promote using your imagination and have way more life in them than most true toys.

45. Jewelry box

What little girl wouldn’t love a jewelry box? You can start your little miss off with some cute and personalized jewelry pieces, too. Or, you can get some faux jewelry for dress up play.

46. Play kitchen

I love a good play kitchen, and kids do, too! These cute little kitchens promote life skill learning and can get them interested in cooking real meals with you. Again, these are a great tools to encourage imaginative play and have a long life of use.

Experience Gifts

Family dressed in Disney clothes stands in front of the Disneyland castle.

Experiences are some of the best non-toy gifts to give. You’ll make memories and enjoy smiles and laughter to look back on for years to come! Plus, people tend to remember experiences more than they do gifts.

If you’re feeling really creative, you can gift your kid with a coupon book filled with experience opportunities. They can choose a coupon every week or month or every three months; whatever you decide!

Here are some popular experience gifts to put inside:

47. Tickets to an event

You could give your children tickets to a special event they wouldn’t normally get to see like the symphony, a play, or a professional sports team.

48. Family vacation

You could gift your children with a big family vacation! Our family loves taking trips to Disneyland, for example. If you’d like to plan a trip to the happiest place on earth, too, here are all my best tips on how to save money at Disneyland!

49. Memberships

Get annual passes to a local children’s museum, the zoo, or amusement parks. These make an awesome gift because you can use them year-round!

If something like a museum pass isn’t in the budget, you could gift a punch pass to a bounce house, laser tag, mini golf, indoor playground, etc.

Gifts for Hobbies/Sports

Girl wearing a pink and orange costume holds bouquet of roses after performing at a dance recital.

Give your child a gift that encourages their hobbies or love of sports! These items may be things they’ll need anyway once the next season starts, depending on their interests. Whatever their passions or hobbies may be, try to find a way to promote the learning and development of their talents.

50. Online classes

One great way to encourage your child’s hobby, is to gift them with online classes. They can experience and encounter things they might not have access to in your local community or learn from experts they wouldn’t otherwise know. It’s also easier for you because you can do it from home!

51. Digital camera

If your child has an interest in photography or nature and animals, digital cameras make a great non-toy gift for kids. Lots of people use their cellphones to take pictures these days, but digital cameras are perfect for younger kids who aren’t ready for a phone yet. Plus, they have features and options most cellphones don’t.

52. Sports equipment or musical instruments

Sports equipment or musical instruments are practical gifts your child will definitely use. If your kid is passionate about their sport or music, they’ll be passionate about these gifts. And again, they’re probably items you’d end up needing to purchase anyway.

53. Lessons

Mom embraces her son in soccer gear after he received lessons for a non-toy gift.

If your child isn’t already in a sport or extracurricular activity, maybe this year is the year! Gifting my children with lessons is one of my favorite non-toy gifts for kids!

If your child has a natural talent for something, this is the perfect way to develop and strengthen that talent. Or it could be a great way to introduce a new activity that maybe they haven’t tried before.

Some lesson ideas are:

  • Gymnastics lessons
  • Dance lessons
  • Sports (soccer, football, basketball, baseball)
  • Art lessons (painting or pottery)
  • Karate lessons
  • Music lessons (piano, violin, voice)

Backyard/Outdoor Play Gift Ideas

Yellow and green kids bikes parked inside garage in front of blue van.

It’s more important than ever to encourage outdoor play for kids. Screens can take over all of our lives if we’re not careful. If you’re backyard is lacking in entertainment, here are some great ideas!

54. Bikes/scooters/skate boards/roller blades

These items are classics every kid would enjoy. And you don’t always have to buy new. You can find lots of great quality, gently used items on Facebook marketplace, too.

55. Battery powered car

What kid wouldn’t love a battery powered car? There are so many different options out their with varying price levels. I’m impressed at how realistic some of these cars, jeeps, trucks and motorcycles are.

56. Trampoline

Trampolines can keep your children outside and entertained for hours. They’re also great to enjoy with friends. Make your backyard the place to be with a good quality trampoline.

57. Swing set

Every kid loves a good swing set. They also promote coordination, healthy exercise and are so much fun. Prices vary widely depending on how elaborate you want your swing set to be. Keep in mind the size of our yard and your budget.

58. Sandbox

Sandboxes are great for sensory play. You can make your own sandbox or purchase one instore or online. These are usually very affordable and sand isn’t too expensive either. If you already have a sandbox, consider getting some new sandbox accessories, too.

59. Kiddie pool/water toys

When you’re in the middle of winter, you might not think of a kiddie pool or water play items for a Christmas gift. But, you and your kids will certainly be glad you did when it comes time for summer.

60. Outdoor Games

Lawn and outdoor games are fun for the whole family. Giant sized connect four, dominos or Jenga; volleyball; cornhole; ladder toss — these are all great options to try. They’re also great non-toy gifts that create quality time and family togetherness.

Travel

Three kids sit in trunk filled with swimming supplies and smile while mom stands nearby.

Travel a lot? Consider gifting your kids with travel items for your many adventures. These gifts are practical, but special, too.

61. Umbrella

Get your child a unique and fun umbrella just for them. It can be hard to get everyone under one umbrella anyway, so why not get them their own? Keep them in the car for trips or just when you’re out and about.

62. Suitcase

You can get them their own luggage made just for kids. Find a design or pattern they’d really like or consider getting them personalized luggage with their name on it.

63. Weekend bag

If they’re not ready for their own luggage, you can get them a weekend bag. These are great for trips to grandmas house and vacations, too. Again, you can find patterns and design they like or get them something monogrammed.

64. Camping gear/hiking gear

Families that camp a lot need good camping gear. Upgrade your child’s sleeping bag, gift them with items for hiking, survival or anything else that will make camping more fun and enjoyable. They’ll look forward even more to your next trip!

Food Gifts for Kids (and Grownups)

Brunette woman wearing floral shirt holds a bowl of popcorn while young girl wearing pink shirt eats some.

Food items are one of the easiest and most affordable non-toy gifts for kids. While they don’t have much longevity, they’re definitely satisfying. And smaller treats and foods are great for stockings.

65. Mega-sized versions of their favorite candy bars

Get them a giant version of their favorite candies or chocolate bars. Stores often sell these around the holidays or you can find them online. Imagine the look of excitement on their face with they unwrap this gift!

66. Their favorite snacks

Along with candy and chocolate, you can also gift them with their favorite snacks. Think chips, cookies, crackers, jerky or their favorite homemade treats. The best thing about snacks as gifts is there’s no expectation to share!

67. Dinner at their favorite restaurant

You could also gift them with a night out at their favorite restaurant or a more expensive restaurant that’s reserved for special occasions. You can use this as an individual gift for each kid or one gift for the entire family.

Family/Other Entertainment Ideas

Mother and kids play with a board game gift on their living room coffee table.

Here are some entertainment ideas that can be great for the whole family. Or, you can gift them to your individual kids.

78. Board games

I married into a family that loves to play board games. They’re almost a way of life. If your kids love games, these are a great non-toy gift. Board games can help children learn cooperation, problem solving, concentration, memorization, basic math skills and so much more!

79. Puzzles

Puzzles are another great gift for including others. They also promote important developmental skills. They are fun, affordable and great for the whole family.

80. Movies

It’s not as common to own physical copies of movies these days, but you can purchase movies with your streaming services or television provider. Some movies are only available to watch if you buy them or you may not be able to watch them as often without purchasing. If there are movies your family loves to watch over and over, consider adding them to your movie library as a non-toy Christmas gift.

Homemade Non-Toy Gifts

Floral yarn photo display with monthly baby photos of a baby girl on wall.

I don’t know if I’ve ever given a really great homemade gift (those crafts I made in school definitely don’t count!), but maybe I should start!

I think everyone has some sort of creative talent that can translate into a homemade gift, but if you’re having trouble coming up with ideas here are a few:

81. Sewn crafts

If you like to sew, you could make blankets, pillows, or doll clothes. My brother made my son this really cute BYU jersey one Christmas and I thought it was so sweet! Another mom said that right before her mother died she made all her future babies blankets and mommy and me matching aprons. (So thoughtful and sentimental!)

82. Wood crafts

If you’re good with wood, you could make frames, decor, or furniture. My father-in-law took 2×4’s and cut them into different sized blocks, sanded them, and gave them to my son one year. He still loves to play with those! Another mom said she refinished a vanity for her sister and she absolutely loved it and still does.

83. Baked goods

If you like to bake, you could put together pre-measured baking mixes of some of your best recipes. I know my mom got those as neighbor gifts growing up.

84. Art/graphic design items

If you paint or do graphic design you could create wall decor to give to someone. Vinyl poster prints are really trendy right now so that could be a fun gift option!

And if you like to DIY with any sort of material, here are a few projects I’ve done that I love: 

  1. Floral Letter
  2. Juju Hat
  3. Hoop wreath
  4. Hoop picture frame
  5. Yarn princess braid
  6. Yarn Wall Hanging

Final Thoughts

Gold and pink wrapped non-toy Christmas gifts under a glam Christmas tree.

Here’s a quick reminder of some of the different options for a toy-free holiday:

  • Clothes
  • Gift Cards
  • Personalized Items
  • Homemade gifts
  • Lessons
  • Subscriptions
  • Experiences

Getting toys for kids at Christmas is definitely a popular tradition for parents, but it’s one I want to change in my home going forward.

I honestly don’t remember a lot of the Christmas gifts I got as a child, but I do remember the really personal ones and I always remembered spending time together with my family.

Want More?

If you liked this post on non-toy gifts for kids, be sure to check out:

Your Turn

What did you think of these non-toy gift ideas? Anything you think I should add? Let me know in the comments!

Pinterest graphic with text and collage of non-toy gifts for kids.