Best Non-Toy Gifts for Kids that they will still get excited about


If your house is anything like mine you have baskets, bins, and toys in every room.  Many of the toys kids are done with or have forgotten about.  Every year before birthday’s and holidays I try to declutter the toys.  I get rid of what they no longer play with or they need something more educational.  Buying non-toy items can be a wonderful gift, both to the parents and to the child.  These best non-toy gifts for kids will definitely put a smile on their faces.




Banner of kids playing piano, reading books and tickets are examples of non toy gifts for kids.
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Our houses become overfilled with toys.  Most of them don’t even get played with.  Kids ask for them and we want to get them.  How long do they last before we save them for a sibling or donate them?  (I do recommend to have your kids help pick which items they want to donate.  This allows them to give to others and then it’s not a shock when they don’t see that toy anymore.)  Non-toy gifts can be a terrific addition to any birthday or holiday. It’s great to see your gifts last longer than a brief moment.  Watching children learn something new and light up when they talk about it means more than a small gift. Think of buying an experience instead.


Of course, toys can be wonderful and fun but every gift doesn’t have to be a toy.  When I do buy toys I make sure they are fun but also educational.  I need toys every day when working with young children.  Playing is an important play of development as well.  Children learn through play.  Sometimes it’s nice to give a gift that’s not a toy.


I don’t want my kids to think that Birthday’s and Holiday’s are only about toys.  I want to give a gift of an experience and create a memory.  Memories will last much longer than any toy.



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Continue to come and check back anytime you are looking for a gift.  I continue to add to the list every time I find something of value.



Best Non-Toy Gifts for Children 


  1. Think Lessons


Boy playing the piano. Music lessons are something to think of for a non toy gift for kids

You can give lessons for sports, swimming, and music.  Lessons are a wonderful gift for kids of any age.  You can give a 5-year-old and a 14-year-old a gift of a lesson.  This is also a great gift for the parents as well.  This allows children to try something new or continue something they love where mom and dad get a break from paying for it. Here are some to consider.

  • Swimming Lessons
  • Music Lessons
  • Sports Lessons
  • Dance Lessons
  • Gymnastic Lessons



2.  Classes


Child making a pizza. Cooking class is a non toy gift that all kids would love

Classes are along the same lines as lessons.  With classes though you may be able to buy gift certificates to give to the recipient. The best part about classes is that you might be able to take them together.  This would be a terrific memory.

  • Art Classes
  • Science Classes
  • Cooking Classes



3.  Movie Tickets


Best Non-toy gifts for kids. Gifts don't have to always be toys. Think about buying an experience instead.

This is great for the teenager in your life.  They always go to movies with friends, this way they already have ticket money.  They can go to the movie of their choice without having to get money.


4.  Membership


Chalkboard with enter on it.

If there’s a children’s museum close by that they have been to before this could be a great gift.

  • Children’s Museum
  • Zoo
  • Aquarium



5. Magazine Subscriptions


Row of magazines. Magazines are a great non toy gift for kids

With a magazine subscription, you can choose from animals, music, sports and more.  If the child in your life has an interest in something specific, getting a monthly magazine will encourage them to learn more about the subject.  Here you can get Disney, Super Heroes, and National Geographic Magazines for kids.  They also have a whole section for teens.


My son got National Geographic for years.  It was a gift from his Uncle.  He still has most of them and will reread them.  I bought a magazine subscription for my niece and nephew many times.  When you get it once, to renew is always cheaper for the next time.


If you would like ways to find the best books and magazines for your child, sign up to receive the reading readiness packet.  The packet will help you determine which level your child reads.  If you get reading materials that are too hard children will struggle and give up.





6. Monthly Subscriptions

Kids love to get mail and to make that even better it can be something they are truly interested in.  There are tons of subscription boxes out there.  These are some that I found to be a little different and pretty cool.


  • Little Passports – This is perfect for the explorer in your life. You get boxes that talk about places all over the world.  They even have one for cooking food from different places.


Sports gift box as a non toy gift for kids

  • Sports Box Co.–  I recently just found this for a family friend.  He loves all things sports.  My son isn’t really a sports kid.  Our family though has recently started playing Hockey.  He would play every day if he was allowed.  I saw this and new it was the perfect gift for the holidays.  I can’t wait to give it to him.

You can pick the child’s favorite sport or a sport they just started and they get a box filled with all related items. The sports fan in your life will love this.


  • Kid Reveal Book Box– This is a new subscription box.  I’m excited about this one.  It sends you books based on the kid’s age and reading level.  This is perfect for my son.  He loves reading.  My son will read a full chapter book in 3 days.  He will wake up early before school just to read more.  I can’t keep up with buying books for him.  Even when we go to the library we take out 5 at a time.  This is a perfect gift to foster that love of reading.


  • Sensory Thera Play Box This is perfect for those that have sensory sensitivity or anxiety.  They send foam, balls, putty, calming jars, stretchy toys and more. Boxes are created by a licensed occupational therapist and ship out the first week of each month.


  • Kiwi Co. –Science and art projects inspire kids to become creative problem solvers.  Projects for every age and interest!  My son received this last year as a gift and again this year.  He gets excited to see what’s inside and put it together.



7. CD Player, IPOD, Ipod Touch 


Depending on the age of the child you see what would be better for them.  When my son was three we bought him a CD player.  He loved music.  This way we made him CDs and bought children CDs that he was able to play on his own.  


If you are looking for a gift for a preteen or teen then a CD player probably wouldn’t be the best idea.  For the older kids, you can get them an iPod Shuffle or an MP3 player. 



Related reading for best toddler toys you will also enjoy

Best Toddler Toys for under $20

Your go to list of ideas for family night 



8. Kitchen Set


Buying kids cooking set is a great way to encourage them to help in the kitchen.  My son got this set along with a kids cookbook one year for Christmas.  He loved it.  Even years later he askes to make things from his cookbook.


Kids can learn the basics of cooking.  How to measure, mix and bake correctly.  Giving them a cookbook will make them want to cook in the kitchen.  Having kids help in the kitchen is a great way to combat picky eaters.  If children help in the cooking process they are more likely to eat it.



9. A Watch (Analog)


An analog watch is a great non toy gift for kids

Sadly, many children now don’t know how to tell time on a regular, non-digital clock.  Everything is digital now.  Children now just expect clocks to be digital.  So when they see an analog clock in a classroom they don’t know what time it is.  My son got a superhero watch last year as a gift for being his uncle’s ring bearer.  Before I let him wear it he had to learn to tell time.  A great way to teach your child how to learn to tell time.



10. Character Blanket

Paw Patrol blanket is a great non-toy gift for kids.

Get your kids their favorite character blanket and have it personalized.   Kids love blankets that have their favorite character on them.  If your child is transiting to a bed, getting a new blanket is a great way to get them excited about that change.



11. Wall Decals

Space and planet wall decals. Ways to decorate their rooms is a non toy gift kids will love.

You can get anything now to put on your kid’s walls.  My son has one wall with Cars and the other wall with Superheros.  Make your kids room fun with easy wall decals. They are easy to put on and easy to take off.



12. Tickets to an Event or Show


A handful of tickets. Going to a show or concert is a perfect non toy gift for kids.


Getting to see a show together is a gift for both people.  I don’t live far from New York City and even when I was young I got a gift to go to a play.  It doesn’t have to be that big, it can be a small town theatre or a concert nearby.  It becomes a full day of memories each of you will cherish.



13. Books


Young boy sitting with books and teddy bear. Books are a perfect non toy gift for kids.

Books are a wonderful gift at any age.  If you give books as gifts to children they will learn to cherish and value books.  It won’t be a chore.  Now many children are reading on IPADS, which has its place, but don’t forget about a real book they can hold in their hands.  Let them turn the pages and see the words on each page.


These gifts are perfect to get for the kids in your life.  Let me know which gift the kids liked best.  If you have any other gift ideas to add, please write below in the comments.  I’d love to hear.


The best non-toy gifts for kids that they will love


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  1. Andrea says:

    I love this list. These are great out of the box gifts that kids will enjoy! Thank you for sharing!

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      Yes, Andrea is good to sometimes get untraditional gifts. Though I promise kids will still love these non-toys gifts. Let me know which gifts you got that the kids in your life loved the most.

  2. Ellen Fowler says:

    Love this! We have a wonderful children’s museum near our house and give a membership to that as birthday gifts! I will have to keep cooking lessons in mind too as that sounds like something kids would really enjoy as well 🙂

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      Hello Ellen. I’m so glad you enjoyed this list. That’s wonderful that you have given a museum membership as a gift. I’m sure the kids loved it. These non-toy gifts are a great way to give the gift of an experience and have kids learn something new. They may even find something that they love. Enjoy!

  3. This list is awesome! My child has so many toys, so non-toy gifts would be awesome to get this year.

    1. ExploreKidTalk says:

      If your house is anything like mine it is overloaded with toys. Sit with your kids and see which ones they are willing to donate. Share this list with close family members so your little one can get some fantastic non-toy gifts this year.

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