10 Gift Ideas for Kids (That Aren't Toys!)

As Christmas fast approaches, grandparents and other family members are asking, "What do the kids want for Christmas?" Although toys are fun and generally at the top of the list, I know as a parent they can pile up quickly and get overwhelming. So when my kids and I sit down to make a list for Santa and/or their family, I try to let them write down some things they want (toys, books, games) and give suggestions of things they actually need (like socks or school materials) but also things that people might not initially think of. Many of the gifts listed below can be used by the whole family and/or used all year long! Here are some of my favorite suggestions:

1. Magazine Subscription - My mother-in-law has been getting each of the kids a magazine subscription as part of their Christmas present from her for the past several years. This is a gift that the kids can look forward to monthly in the mailbox. My mother-in-law chose Highlights for the kids. Highlights is for ages 6 - 12 but they also offer High Five for ages 2 - 6 and Hello for ages 0 - 2. Perfect for a family with different age kiddos! Some of our other favorites are Lego Club Magazine, Ranger Rick, and National Geographic Kids.

2. A Membership - This one will vary depending on the places available in your area but a family membership can be a wonderful year long present! The initial cost can be more but if you figure it up, you'd probably spend that just going to visit once or twice. And sometimes the membership comes with extra perks you wouldn't get otherwise. Some ideas could be the zoo, art or science museums, children's museum, state parks, or concert halls. A family friend got us a family membership to the Terre Haute Children's Museum and my kids are SO excited to use it!

3. Subscription Box - A subscription box is another present that lasts all year. Each month you receive a different box with a variety of crafts, activities, toys, experiments, or books. There are so many different ones available! I polled some blog readers and friends and these were suggested as the best:

Kiwi Crate: for crafts/science/hands-on fun, Little Passports: for history/travel/geography buffs, and Green Kids Crafts: educational eco-friendly science/art/math kits. For the older kids, try Julep or Ipsy for beauty mavens, Owl Crate or Uppercase Box for readers, or Loot Crate for gamers.

4. Special Day Out - This takes some planning but a special day out with your child gives them a wonderful lasting memory! First decide what you're going to do - a trip to the city for dinner and a concert? Maybe a special museum visit or a baseball game? Type up and print a fancy itinerary on your computer: include where you're going to eat, what you're going to see, where you're going to visit, and then attach or put in a folder any coupons you're going to use, tickets you'll need, photos, maps, etc.

5. Gift Certificate - Gift certificates may seem impersonal to some but I feel like if it's something specific that you know your kids like then it's no different than a specific toy or other gift they'd ask for. These are especially great for teens or kids you'd like to get something for but aren't sure where they are in a book series or video game lineup. So consider the book store for your bookworm, gaming stores for your geeks, movie theater for your film aficionado, concert hall for your music lover, theater for your actor in training, or a manicure or other beauty treatment for your fashion queen!

6. Lessons/Classes - If you've got a kiddo who wants to learn how to do something, why not get them a semester of lessons? This will obviously vary depending on what your kid is interested in but some suggestions/ideas are: karate, music lessons, dance classes, tumbling/gymnastics, yoga, sports, art, or craft classes.

7. Life Skills "Tools" - This too will depend on your child's interests and age but here are some fun ideas to help equip kids to learn more about life and the world around them:

- a nature journal or other hiking equipment & map to local park/nature preserve
- binoculars & field guide on birds, trees, wildlife, etc.
- telescope & book on stars
- cookbook & kitchen implements, apron, and/or chef's hat
- tools (hammer, screwdriver, nails, wrenches, screws, bolts/nuts, etc.) and project ideas/books
- gardening tools & seeds
- camera & photo album, photo editing software/equipment, or other camera tools

8. Arts & Crafts Supplies - Find a big box and decorate however you'd like. Make sure to put "craft box" on it somewhere. Add a blank journal or paper and colored pencils or crayons, stickers, foam crafts, googly eyes, beads, string, scrapbook paper, pipe cleaners, craft making kits, or whatever else your heart desires. If they're not super creative or if you just want to give them some ideas, add a book on making crafts.

9. Games and Puzzles - Ok, so technically some may consider these "toys" but I feel like they get overshadowed a lot by electronics, gadgets, and other play things...so I'm including them! Playing board games and doing puzzles are a great way to spend time as a family. Even a simple deck of cards can be used for a family game night. Some of our favorite board and card games are:

Monopoly and Monopoly Junior, Trivial Pursuit, Chutes & Ladders, BattleshipScrabble, Uno, and Skip-Bo. One that is REALLY popular right now is Pie Face which I've seen lots of videos of on Facebook - it looks pretty funny!

10. Books - Reading is oh so important for kids! Of course we want them to read so they can do well in their education, but reading means a lot more than that! It can transport a child to other worlds, help them to be more creative, inspire them, and open up them up to new ideas. I was very excited to see a book at the top of my son's Christmas list this year! Books are another thing that vary from kid to kid. Some of my kids favorite series are:

The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis, The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, James & The Giant Peach and Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom & Chicka Chicka 123 by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault, anything Dr. SeussThe Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinne, and the Pinkalicious series of books by Victoria and Elizabeth Kann.

I hope that helps if you were/are looking for gift ideas - let me know in the comments if your kids have enjoyed any of these or if I missed something!

No comments :

Post a Comment

Thanks for leaving a comment! I really appreciate them. If you've left a question, I'll get back to you as soon as I can! Note: Don't be a jerk. I reserve the right to delete hateful, inappropriate, or otherwise not nice comments.