Looking for kids’ gift ideas that aren’t toys? While toys make wonderful gifts for kids and are usually high on their wishlist, there are so many great non-toy gifts for kids that they will love just as much! And there’s a good chance you will too!
This collection of more than 100 non-toy gift ideas for special occasions will help you find the perfect practical gifts for all ages.
Toy gifts VS Non-Toy Gifts For Kids
Play is important for a child’s development and this makes toys essential for most households. Yet there are only so many toys each child needs.
Pair that with the fact that toy presents are outgrown fairly quickly too, with the exception of a few age-diverse favourites. You end up with a lot of excess stuff!
In most cases, kids tend to have a few favourite toys or collections of toys and these are the ones they play with 90% of the time.
This is a big reason why we have been working more towards a minimalist approach to toys at home.
For birthdays and Christmas, while we do give small toys at times, we aim more for the non-toy gifts instead now, to avoid the dreaded too many toys situation.
Plus the extended family usually end up giving toys anyway.
No matter the fact that most of our kid’s toys sit neglected for months on end, it doesn’t stop them from wanting more every Christmas and birthday.
They want the latest cool toys they see on TV or in the catalogues. They want what their friends have.
One step we have taken to break their habit of excess is to always keep a box or tub in the playroom for unwanted toys.
They know before special occasions they need to add a couple of items to the box. They also know if something breaks, it also goes straight in the box.
We also encourage them to set goals and spend their own pocket money from their piggy bank on the things they really want, such as the latest LOL Surprise Doll or a new LEGO set.
This way they know the Christmas gifts they get from us will be less of the stuff they can save up for themselves.
Fun & Practical Gifts For Kids
There are non-toy gift ideas for kids to suit all ages and stages. Best of all, there are options to suit all budgets too – whether you are looking for the best non-toy gifts for stocking stuffers or a more extravagant birthday gift.
With over 100 non-toy gifts below, grouped by category, your gift-giving for the whole year is sorted with so much fun for kids!
Non-Toy Gifts For Toddlers
When it comes to younger children, toys seem like the easiest option, however, there are plenty of non-toy gifts for toddlers that they would be delighted to receive.
Toddlers are at such an exciting age of development so learning gifts are always a great option, or practical gifts they can wear and use.
Practical gifts are an easy choice, such as clothing to suit the upcoming season:
- Tops & bottoms
Character underwear is a perfect gift idea for toddlers who are preparing to toilet train too, as a way to get them more excited about big kid undies.
An age-appropriate toothbrush is another practical idea that you can make fun, with bright colours or character toothbrushes.
RELATED: Newborn baby gift ideas
Back To School Gift Ideas
These back to school gifts are definitely a practical choice. Especially if kids are starting school for the first time and it has that extra element of excitement.
- Lunch box – This Mermaid Lunchbox is seriously cute or these similar Bento boxes we use
- Drink bottle
- Personalised name labels – we use Bright Star Kids in Australia
School accessories such as hair accessories in school colours, a fun character library or swimming bag or a sun-smart hat are other great ideas for school kids. Christmas is a good time to give back to school essentials, ready for the new school year.
Help them keep their belongings organised with a new shelf unit or boxes and baskets to store smaller items.
Or you could surprise them with a complete bedroom makeover, such as this ocean themed girls bedroom makeover.
How fun to have a whole new room, especially if it is a more grown-up version as they get older.
Creative Gifts For Kids
While there are plenty of creative toys kids love, you can certainly encourage their creativity without toys as well. Art and craft supplies are a fun and usually inexpensive option.
You could put together a craft box full of different art supplies they can use to make things.
If they love art, encourage creative expression through gifts such as:
- Paints and brushes
- Calligraphy set
- Pencil set – these ones are my favourite
- Sketch pads
- Blank stretched canvas
- Dual tip markers
You can encourage the development of new skills and hobbies by sending them to a one-off art class or an ongoing class, such as learning an instrument or singing lessons.
This is a great gift that keeps on giving.
If your child has shown an interest in learning music, perhaps this is the time to consider getting them a musical instrument to encourage their exploration.
Why not encourage some of the creative hobbies that were popular in earlier generations, such as knitting, crotchet or sewing?
Get your child a beginner sewing machine and start teaching them basic skills that will be very practical when they are older. You could combine this with sewing lessons for kids or a basket of hobby supplies to go with it.
For kids who love dramatic play, put together a costume box with fun props and wigs they can dress up with and practice their drama skills. Dress up clothes are the perfect gift for pretend play.
Find more inspiration with creative activities for toddlers.
Educational Gifts For Kids
There are plenty of educational and science gift ideas that your kids will love. Not only do they get to learn something new, but have fun doing it. These gifts are great options if you want to give something that you can enjoy together with your child too.
A pair of binoculars will have them spying on the neighbours, and discovering unique wildlife from a distance. All in good fun!
Monthly STEM or creative kid’s subscription boxes are another perfect non-toy option, especially if you don’t live close by.
Science kits are another great option. Here are some awesome science kits for kids:
- Science Expeditions Monthly Subscription box
- Rainbow Lab kit
- Crystal Growing Experiment
- National Geographic Geodes Kit
- KiwiCo Eureka Crate for ages 14+
Outdoor Gift Ideas
While there are plenty of outdoor toys for active kids, there are some great non-toy options as well, that will encourage time outside.
While some sports equipment walks a fine line between being a toy or not, anything that gets kids moving and enjoying exercise is a win!
Just like with the creative gift ideas, lessons or enrollment into a sport they want to play make great gifts too. They also help build confidence and coordination in children.
Why not get their own fishing rod and plan a special day of fishing with dad or granddad.
Gardening Gifs For Kids
Gardening gifts can also be a wonderful idea and can help kids develop responsibility skills as they learn to care for their new plants.
This can be as simple as giving them tools to use while helping you outdoors, or their very own garden set up to grow and nurture from start to finish.
Here are some great garden-related gift ideas for kids:
Useful Gifts For Kids
Don’t underestimate the value of practical gifts for kids. Not only do they make fantastic stocking stuffers at Christmas time, but they are also fun to receive for other occasions too.
Here are some useful gift ideas for kids:
- Fun socks
- Purse or wallet
- Dressing gown
- Handmade hair accessories
Add a personalised touch with their own personalised bath towel or for younger kids, get them a hooded bath towel to keep them extra warm after bath time fun.
Pamper Gifts For Kids
While pamper gifts usually mean gifts for girls, there are pamper options for boys too. Whether it be a scented body wash and sponge set or a nice new comb for their hair.
For girls, you could put together a day spa at home experience with a basket full of pampering items to use together.
Face masks, hair treatment, nail polish and so on.
Spend a mother and daughter day pampering each other at home. What a lovely way to spend time together too!
For some non-toy stocking stuffer ideas to pamper:
- Lip gloss
- Hand cream
- Nail polish
- Hair gel
- Body wash
- Bubble bath
Even something as simple as giving her some pretty, but practical, new hair accessories to keep her hair out of her face and fuss-free while she is learning her way as a new mum.
These Kooshoo organic hairbands and headbands are beautiful and also a little extra special since they are biodegradable, plastic-free and ethically made.
Sentimental Gifts For Kids
While younger kids may not be overly sentimental, it doesn’t mean you should skip sentimental gift giving.
Create a photo book or photo album of favourite memories together. Leave extra space at the back and allow them to fill in the gaps with new memories.
A personalised book is a fun idea and many different companies do a version.
The book is customised to feature your child as one of the characters. I received one as a child and still have it.
My eldest daughter received a Peppa Pig version and loves reading about her adventures with Peppa.
Some other sentimental gifts for children could be engraved jewellery or a watch.
Both our girls have a Pandora charm bracelet and each year we add a new charm that relates to them in some way from the previous year. For example, our youngest was obsessed with the film Frozen for the longest time when she was 2, so that year we added an Elsa charm. When they are older, it will be wonderful to tell them stories from each charm and why we chose them.
A jewellery box for keeping special jewellery keepsakes is also a wonderful gift they will use for many years to come.
Money Related Gifts For Kids
Teaching kids about money is something to start early with and there are some incredible gift ideas that will encourage this further.
While you can absolutely give kids cash as a gift and let them spend it on something they really please, why not add a little extra value to a money gift.
Alternatively, invest in their future by starting an investment fund, savings account or taking out shares in their name as a way of setting them up financially when they are older.
This may not mean as much to them now but it will be appreciated in years to come.
Travel Gifts For Kids
We love to travel and our kids already have a passion for exploring new places. There are so many travel gift ideas for kids who love to go on holidays.
Plus they are practical items to have anyway, in case of school camps and sleepovers.
Here are some fun travel gift ideas for kids:
- Sleeping bag
- Overnight bag
- Kids suitcase – this roller case is awesome
- Travel journal – we love the Lonely Planet kids journal
- Luggage tag
- Camping chair
- Hiking boots
- Snorkelling gear
- Overnight bag
Lonely Planet has a great range of books for kids all about travel and there are books to suit all ages, including some fun activity books and journals.
Another brilliant option is a subscription to Little Passports. This is a kid’s travel activity subscription box service loaded with fun-themed activities each month.
They have boxes to suit different age groups, from age 3, right through to tweens.
You can choose to subscribe month to month or pay in advance for 6 or 12 months. So fun!
KiwiCo also has a travel and geography-themed subscription box – Atlas Crate.
Experience Gifts For Kids
Following the travel gifts theme, experience gifts are one of the coolest non-toy gifts there are. There is nothing that compares to creating wonderful memories with your child, so why not gift one!
Experience gifts can be almost anything.
There are a lot of different companies that offer experiences for all ages, with plenty kids love. It may be something simple like booking tickets to the zoo or a family theme park pass.
Or gift an experience that teaches them something new, such as a cooking class or learning how to paddleboard.
Here are lots of different experience ideas kids will love:
- Water park
- Theme park
- Movie tickets
- Pottery class
- Visit a local attraction
- Hire bikes or boating equipment for a day
- Surfing lesson
- Concert tickets
- Theatre performance
And if you want to give the ultimate experience gift, why not make your next family vacation an epic gift for the whole family?
Cooking Gifts For Kids
Most kids love to help in the kitchen so why not get them some of their own cooking supplies? Encourage their love of cooking and baking and you never know, maybe they will be making you dinner soon!
These non toy gift ideas also help give them practical skills for when they are older, helping kids to become more independent and confident.
Here are some cooking-related gifts:
- Cake decorating kit
- Cookie cutters
- Ingredients to make a special recipe
- Kids cookbook
- Apron – we love this one
Growth Gifts For Kids
It is never too early to encourage your child to develop a growth mindset and there are some fantastic ways to foster this into their daily lives.
Here are some great gifts for kids to encourage personal growth and reflection:
We gave all the best kid’s gratitude and growth journals a test run. You can check out the benefits and special features for each of them.
Tech Gifts For Kids
Technology gifts are especially great for older kids who may be wanting some of their own gadgets for schoolwork or play.
However, as our world becomes more tech-focused, many of these are also great for younger kids too.
It amazes me how skilled young kids are on computers these days compared to a generation earlier.
Here are some popular tech gifts kids love:
- Tablet or iPad
- CDs and DVDs
- A music player or iPod
- Mobile phone – depending on age and whether it is necessary yet
- Fitness tracker such as the FitBit Ace 3 or Garmin VivoFit aimed at kids
- Mini karaoke machine
Some other cool ideas are to get them their first digital camera – this one is super cool.
There are kid-friendly cameras aimed at younger kids, or simple point-and-shoot digital cameras perfect for older kids with an interest in photography.
You could take their interest in capturing the world a step further with a drone.
We started with a DJI Tello which is an inexpensive selfie drone. Nothing fancy but it can be fun to watch back the footage. Just be careful to check your local drone laws and supervise.
Drones take a bit of practice!
If you wanted to keep costs down, consider repurposing one of your old devices into a device for your kids. Preload only the apps you approve them to use. We have given our eldest daughter my old phone, minus the sim card, so she can listen to Spotify kids. It was cheaper than getting her an mp3 player and she only has it during our approved tech time, once or twice a week.
RELATED: Screen-free activities for families
Subscription gifts for kids are a fun way to give something that keeps bringing the fun!
There are loads of cool subscription boxes that will suit different ages and usually with the option to pay ahead for 3, 6 or 12 months if you want to avoid recurring costs.
A monthly activity pack loaded with fun will not only help your child learn, but have a great time doing it. The KiwiCo STEM, STEAM & Science kits for kids have options for all ages. Even babies and adults!
Magazine subscriptions are a popular choice with plenty of fun kid magazine titles to choose from. Older kids may love something more educational instead or even a cooking or craft magazine subscription.
For music-loving kids, a music streaming service such as Spotify or Amazon Music is a great way for them to have their favourite songs on the go.
Especially if you just got them a music player for a Christmas gift!
My girls are obsessed with The Greatest Showman soundtrack so we listen to that in the car often! We also made a kid’s party playlist together on Spotify for fun.
Audiobooks are becoming huge these days too with Audible now offering bonus free kids books each month with subscriptions, plus the choice to purchase any books from their library.
Little Passports was mentioned earlier, but again, a fun option for a gift that comes each month with new surprises.
Do you have an older child who has taken an interest in construction, building and DIY projects? Why not start building their own tool collection with some construction-related gift ideas?
A small tool set and toolbox or basic woodworking materials might be great for your budding handyman teen or tinkering daughter.
Make sure they are age-appropriate for your child’s interest though, as we want to keep the injuries to a minimum!
Inexpensive Gift Ideas
When you are looking for inexpensive gifts for kids, toys are almost never the answer! Thankfully there are loads of useful budget-friendly non-toy ideas instead.
These presents are ideal for stocking stuffers at Christmas or to go alongside a bigger gift for birthdays perhaps.
Here are some budget gift options for kids:
Or put together a DIY gift for your child instead.
A really special idea is creating a coupon book for them, filled with fun activities they will enjoy.
Things like ‘Go to the park’, ‘A day at the beach’, ‘Watch a movie together’, ‘Do a craft activity’.
These can all be activities that don’t cost a thing and focus more on spending quality time together as a family or just for you and your child.
My girls always ask me to play board games with them or do puzzles, and I don’t always say yes. A coupon book is a great way for us as parents to remember to say yes more.
Final Thoughts: Gifts For Kids That Aren’t Toys
These children’s gift ideas should have you well and truly inspired for gifts to give your kids that won’t end up soon forgotten at the bottom of a toy box. Non toy gifts for kids are perfect for keeping your home clutter-free too! You are sure to find a practical gift as a great alternative to toys and presents that are quickly outgrown!
Check out these gift guides for every occasion:
- Gifts for active kids
- 101+ non-toy gifts for kids
- Teacher gifts they actually want
- Gifts for people who love to cook
- Last-minute Mother’s Day gift ideas
- DIY Father’s Day gift ideas
- Last-minute Father’s Day gift ideas
- DIY Valentine’s Day gift ideas
- Older sibling gifts from new baby
- New mother gifts
- Non-chocolate Easter gifts
- Unique stocking stuffer gifts under $15
- Gifts to give a whole family
- Gifts for men who have everything
- Clutter-free gift ideas
- Gifts that keep on giving
- Subscription boxes for families
- Experience gifts for kids
- Class gifts for kids
- Gifts for newborn babies
- Handmade gifts kids can make