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 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 gifts 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. The rest seem to just clutter up their rooms and have you frantically looking for toy storage solutions to control the mess!
This is a big reason why we have been working more towards a minimalist approach to toys at home. For birthday’s and Christmas, while we do give small toys at times, we aim more for the non-toy gifts instead now.
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 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 on the things they really want, such as the latest LOL Doll collection or a new LEGO set. This way they know the gifts they get from us will be less of the stuff they can save up for themselves.
Fun & Practical Non Toy 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 non toy stocking stuffer ideas or a more extravagant birthday gift.
With over 100 ideas below, grouped by category, your gift-giving for the whole year is sorted!
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.
Practical gifts are an easy choice, such as clothing to suit the upcoming season:
- Tops & bottoms
Character underwear are a fun gift idea for toddlers who are preparing to toilet train too, as a way to get them more excited about big kid undies.
Board books to encourage a love of reading early are always wonderful for toddlers too.
Back To School Gift Ideas
For school or kindergarten-aged children, school-related items make useful gifts. Here are a few options to get them ready for a new school year, or upgrade existing school items:
- Lunch box – This Mermaid Lunchbox is seriously cute
- Drink bottle
- Personalised name labels – we use Bright Star Kids in Australia
Non-Toy Gifts For Kids Rooms
Encouraging children to take pride in their bedrooms from a young age can get them into good habits of keeping a clean and tidy space as they grow older. By adding some fun new room decor, this will help them create a bedroom space they love.
Gift bedroom decor items such as:
- New quilt cover set – These ones are fun
- Beanbag – These ones double as toy storage
- A cute Laundry Hamper
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 items they can use to make things.
If they love art, encourage creative expression through gifts such as:
- Paints and brushes
- Caligraphy set
- Pencil set – these ones are my favourite
- Sketch pads
- Blank stretched canvas
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.
Why not encourage some of the creative hobbies that were popular in earlier generations, such as knitting or sewing. Get your child a beginner sewing machine and start teaching them basic skills that will be very useful when they are older.
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.
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!
Science kits are another great option. Here are some awesome science kits for kids:
- Science Expeditions Monthly Subscription box
- Scientific Explorer My First Mind Blowing Science Kit
- Crystal Growing Experiment
- National Geographic Geodes Kit
- KiwiCo Eureka Crete 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.
And of course, all kids need a great beach towel and a pair of goggles for family fun at the beach or pool!
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.
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, they are also fun to receive for other occasions too.
Here are some useful gift ideas for kids:
- 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.
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!
A practical self-care gift is an electric toothbrush of their own. You can get some really cool character toothbrushes that kids will love using!
For some non-toy stocking stuffer ideas to pamper:
- Lip gloss
- Hand cream
- Nail polish
- Hair gel
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.
For younger kids, a money box that encourages them to begin saving is a great gift idea. We made these ones with a Kmart hack, but you can get a similar spend, save, give money box online – this Moonjar one is super cute. Encourage kids to split any money they receive between all 3 sections.
Alternatively, invest in their future by starting an investment fund 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 useful 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
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 have 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 gift ideas 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 who offer experiences for all ages, with plenty the kids will 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 vouchers
- 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!
Here are some cooking-related gift ideas:
- Cake decorating kit
- Cookie cutters
- Ingredients to make a special recipe
- Kids cookbook
- Apron – we love this one
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 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 have 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!
Subscription gifts for kids are a fun way to give something that keeps bringing the fun! There are loads of cool subscription ideas 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 an iPod for Christmas!
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.
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 gifts are ideal for stocking stuffers at Christmas or to go alongside a bigger gift for birthdays perhaps.
Here are some budget gift ideas for kids:
- Erasable pens – I love these pens
- Gratitude diary – encourage your kids to reflect on their day from an early age and practice gratitude
- Novelty erasers
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.
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.
In case you need more gift-giving inspiration for the rest of the family: