So much stuff, where did all these toys come from? If that sounds familiar, then continue reading, for we have a great list of the best non-toy gift ideas for kids. When kids have too many toys, they forget what they have; often, they play with their favorite toys, and the rest are ignored.
We’ve spent days compiling a list of the best non-toy gifts to help parents select the perfect gift for their children. These non-toy gift ideas create memories, inspire imaginative play, and are fun to learn STEM-related topics.
Why Non-Toy Gifts?
Many non-toy gifts for kids are as much fun as real toys but with the additional benefit that the non-toy has a purpose. Although toys provide hours of fun, children have a different and more meaningful experience when engaging with non-toys. Non-toy gift ideas for kids vary according to your child’s interests, abilities, and age.
Some kids prefer a book to a science experiment, while others have tons and tons of why questions they want to be answered. Whatever your child’s desire, skill level, and interest, the great gifts ideas for kids are so much fun your kids wouldn’t even miss another toy as a Christmas gift or birthday gift.
A non-toy is a wonderful gift and a way parents can support what their kids love. It could be sports, interior decorating, reading, learning, outdoor adventures, or learning a new musical instrument.
Best Non-Toy Gift Ideas That Kids Love Reviewed
A Subscription Box
Monthly subscription boxes are the best non-toy gifts for kids who are curious, creative, and love getting mail (who doesn’t). It’s the type of gift that keeps on giving, and kids look forward to the new surprise each month. A subscription box can be educational, a practical gift, creative activities, crafts kids make, or a book subscription box. Subscription boxes engage kids of all ages and are great ideas for the entire year, not just the holiday season. Most subscription boxes are age-appropriate or related to hobbies and interests.
KiwiCo Crates are for everyone from baby to teenager with projects for different interests. The nine crates are based on the child’s age and development stage allowing kids to build and play with their creations.
- Panda Crate (baby to 2 years) supports healthy development nurturing creativity and natural curiosity. The Crate contains developmentally appropriate projects, activity cards promoting learning and development, the Wonder Magazine with advice to parents, and easy-at-home activities to bond with your child.
- Koala Crate (2-4 years) for play and learn, offers creative materials, a parent guide, the Imagine! Magazine and online DIY ideas encourage hands-on play-learning and exposure to tools, techniques, and concepts.
- Kiwi Crate (5-8 years) offers hands-on science, engineering, and art projects. The Crate includes high-quality materials and kid-friendly instructions for the project, the Explore Magazine with comics, games, experiments, and online DIY ideas.
- Atlas Crate (6-11 years) offers hands-on fun exploring geography and cultures. Create a keepsake book with collectible cards and stickers.
- Yummy Crate (6-14 years) teaches children the science of cooking, helping kids gain confidence in the kitchen with STEAM activities and family-friendly recipes. The box contains the Yummy Zine Magazine with fun food facts, comics, history, science, three recipes, and STEAM experimenting with a cooking tool. The easy-to-use shopping list is adaptable to your family’s food preferences.
- Doodle Crate (9-14+ years) inspires creativity with practical craft projects kids can make and use. Included in the box are the quality materials, the Inspiration sheet with instructions and design inspirations, video tutorials, and easy to follow steps teaching kids new techniques,
- Tinker Crate (9-16+ years) is a fun gift with STEM projects inspiring a child’s creativity and curiosity. Inside the box are all the materials for the project, the step-by-step blueprint, more science experiments, activities, and online tutorials for tips and tricks.
- Maker Crate (14+ years) offers hands-on art and design projects, and kids learn lifelong skills with real tools and techniques. Included are easy-to-follow instructions, high-quality art supplies, and materials for the unique, practical project.
- Eureka Crate (14+ years) is for kids interested in everyday engineering and design. Detailed step-by-step instructions show kids how to build the project using included materials. The Maker’s Guide explains the technology and science behind the project, and the design challenge motivates and strengthens problem-solving skills.
These fun crates were tested and approved by kids. The boxes conveniently include all the craft supplies and instructions for the project, online tutorials, and an age-appropriate crate theme magazine or guide. KiwiCo allows parents to switch lines at any time.
A KiwiCo Crate is the perfect STEAM gift to receive for a birthday or Christmas, or parents could subscribe kids for an exciting monthly delivery. With multiple kids in the family, parents can buy holiday gifts for everyone for a merry Christmas and fun all year.
Subscription: month to month; 3-month, 6-month, 12-month
The monthly themed Green Kid Crafts include four to six projects per box to engage kids the entire month. Included with the science and art projects is a 12-page magazine for reading fun. Founded by a mom searching for creative and meaningful projects for her kids, the Green Kids Crafts will inspire a lifelong love of learning. Parents choose from two plans,
- the Junior boxes for 3-5-year-old preschoolers encourages science experimentation
- the Discovery boxes for kids five years and up offers more craft than science
If you are looking for various projects for the month, then Green Kid Crafts is an excellent choice.
Subscription: 1 month, 3-month, 6- month, 12-month
Little Passports believes in one part learning and two parts playing, making their crates great birthday gifts or holiday presents. The crates inspire learning about new cultures and stimulate a desire for travel. Each month features a U.S. State or country with souvenirs, stickers, pop-out models, activities, and other fun goodies.
Parents can decide how much they want to spend on a gift and shop by price, age from 3 years, or by collection. Little Passports boxes deliver age-appropriate monthly adventures or science explorations, and parents can choose the
- Early Explorer for ages 3-5 years
- World Edition ages 6-10 years
- USA Edition 7-12 years
- Science Junior 5-8 years
- Science Expeditions 8+ years
When shopping by collection, parents can focus on what their kids love,
- STEM hands-on activities related to science, technology, engineering, and math
- Geography and Travel activity kits and books for little travelers who want to see the world
- Toys and Board Games include plushies, activity kids, and more inspiring exploration and discovery
Tested by kids, 100% fun is guaranteed for each award-winning quality package. Spark your child’s interest in STEM activities, geography, travel, or engaging toys, games, and books. These fun activities will develop a child’s creativity, curiosity, and critical thinking.
Subscription: 6-months or 12-months
Creation Crates are perfect non-toy gifts for kids who love technology, electronics, and coding. Each box contains all the components needed for the project, a UNO R3 microcontroller (Arduino compatible), breadboard, and the online electronics course with instructions, video tutorials, and troubleshooting support.
Although recommended for 12 years and up, younger children could complete a project with the help of a parent. Teenagers don’t require any experience to have fun building these projects. The online classroom offers step-by-step instructions and tutorials on how to program the project.
Subscription: monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, one time (purchase all 18 projects once)
Magazine subscriptions are the perfect gifts for kids who like to read and discover new things. These non-toy gifts are not limited to older kids; there are magazines for babies and toddlers that cover topics kids love. A magazine subscription is a great gift when a parent wants to create an interest or introduce their child to a new topic.
The National Geographic Kids magazine contains bite-sized information, lots of images, and fun facts for kids ages six years and up. Children learn about animals, technology, science, pop culture, archaeology, geography, and pop culture. Each issue also includes activities, games, and jokes too. Parents have the option of subscribing to the printed or Kindle version. Younger kids 3-6 years old will appreciate the National Geographic Little Kids.
The Babybug magazine is an excellent first magazine for six-month-old babies to 3-year old toddlers; a perfect baby shower gift. The ad-free pages are full of rhymes, stories, lovable characters, and colorful illustrations by award-winning children’s authors and illustrations. The educational magazine introduces little ones to basic concepts teaching them to follow instructions and communicate. Children look forward to receiving their monthly mail, just like grownups get mail delivered.
If your tween asks lots of science questions, wondering what a male ladybug is called or whether video games are good for brain cells, then the Muse magazine subscription is an excellent gift. The thought-provoking content will delight boys and girls nine years and older.
Hello, High Five, and Highlights are three different magazines that cater to three age groups.
- The Hello Magazine features durable wipe-clean pages and stitched binding so that babies and toddlers can enjoy the magazine all month. If your child loves the magazine, they can look forward to the High Five magazine that satisfies preschoolers’ curiosity.
- High Five includes puzzles and read-along stories.
- For older kids, Highlights Magazine challenges inspire and expand the worldview of kids 6-12 years.
The Amazon Book Box hand-picks and delivers children’s books in age groups. Amazon book editors select books combining new releases, classics, and other books for your child’s age. The books are hardcover books for a longer-lasting experience and often cheaper than the book’s list price.
Parents receive an email with the list of future boxes content and have five days to swap books to create a more tailored list for their kids. The baby to age two box consists of four board books; the other boxes (Age 3-5; Age 6-8, Age 9-12) contain two hardcover books.
Subscription: monthly, 2-monthly, three months
Book Club’s access to thousands of books allows them to select books based on ratings, in-depth reviews, and feedback from kids, parents, and educators. A nice touch is addressing the box to the child receiving it and subscribing to the age-appropriate book club to receive a book box every month. Each box has an insert highlight details about the book, author, and illustrator.
- Board Book Club (0-3 years) contains three sturdy board books with 8-14 pages making it easy for little fingers to handle.
- Picture Book Club (3-6 years) includes two hardcover picture books for reading aloud and young readers learning to read. Each book has 32-40 pages.
- Junior Chapter Book Club (7-10 years) is for readers ready to advance to more words and vocabulary. The box includes two books; each has 120-180 pages.
- Middle-Grade Chapter Book Club (9-12 years) books feature 300-400 pages, and the two books are designed for readers reading complex stories. The insert includes book discussion ideas.
Subscription: monthly, 3-months, 6-months, 12-months
If you can’t keep up with your child’s reading habits, then ReadingIQ is one of the best non-toy gifts for toddlers and kids up to 12 years old. With up to three children per account, membership allows your child unlimited access to thousands of books.
Parents can track and monitor their child’s progress and preview content their child is reading. Books are conveniently available on any device, desktop, phone, or tablet. Award-winning titles include Newbery Medal and Caldecott winners. The digital library books include picture books, graphic movies, chapter books, informational books, biographies, rhymes, and how-to books.
Books are grouped according to reading levels with the options of:
- Pre-Readers for under two years
- Emerging Readers for 2-4 years
- Growing Readers for 5-8 years
- Independent Readers for 9-12 years
- Spanish Readers for ages 2-12
Subscription: Monthly (one-month free trial)
Museum Passes or Zoo Memberships Non-Gift Ideas For Kids
Memberships to the local children’s museum, aquarium, zoo, music venue, or theater are an excellent gift for kids the entire family can enjoy. Kids love to go to the zoo or aquarium, and it’s a family activity that’s fun, entertaining, and educational. A Family City Pass or membership allows them to go often, and just a few visits pay the ticket pays for itself; it is cheaper than purchasing a ticket every time they want to go.
If you don’t want to purchase a membership, buy a ticket to an event that interests your child.
- Concert tickets
- Theater tickets
- Movie tickets
- Game tickets
- Amusement Park passes
Sports Non-Toy Gift Ideas
Sports non-toy gifts for kids are popular gifts for boys and girls who enjoy sports and a way for parents to introduce a child to sports. Kids who enjoy watching the game or are players themselves will appreciate sports-related non-toy gifts.
Sports BoxCo boxes are fantastic gift ideas for boys and girls who love sports, whether new to the game or veterans. The boxes offer a mix of quality products from well-known brands; each box includes training aids, gear and accessories, collectibles and swag, and snacks. Every three months, the kit contains a T-shirt according to the sizes provided.
Choose a sports-related box or a mystery box.
- Batter UP! Box for baseball and softball players offer six age-appropriate choices from 4-6 years Tee Ball Box for beginners to the Sr. League Box for 13 years, and older experienced players.
- Hoops Box for basketball players provides three choices, the rookie box for 8-year-old and up, the Hoops Box for semi-pro 9-12-year-old players, and the Hoops Box for veteran players 13 years and older.
- Power Play- Box for hockey players ranges from a Mites box for eight years to a box for 13+ years. There is also a Goalie box for all ages.
- Gridiron Box for football players has two options, the J.V. for up to 12 years and the Varsity for 13 years and up.
- Corner Kick Box for soccer players provides separate boxes for boys and girls up to ten years and older than ten years.
- Mystery Box is an excellent birthday or Christmas gift for a boy or a girl in any age group. Choose a specific sport, the Lacrosse box or the All Sports box, for more fun surprises.
Subscription: 1-month, 3-month, 6-month, 12-month
Sports equipment is expensive but necessary, making them great non-toy gifts for kids. For example, a quality tennis racket could help improve your child’s game. Wilson is an iconic American brand dedicated to the game of tennis. The racket is a good all-rounder for beginners or someone playing for fun; the slightly larger racket surface makes it easier to hit the ball.
Sports Lessons and Clubs
Whether your child plays well or their enthusiasm carries them through the game, sports lessons could make kids better players. Invest in your child’s game by gifting them a series of classes in the sport they love or would like to play.
Another great non-toy gift idea for kids is to subscribe to a sports club where they can socialize with other kids; this is an excellent idea for kids new to the area or sport.
- Tennis lessons
- Batting practice
- Club sports
- Golf club
- Swim Lessons
Children aren’t too young to be introduced to sports. The basketball set is an excellent way to improve your toddler’s motor skills, hand-eye coordination and help them develop social skills. The oversized rim makes it easy to score, encouraging preschoolers to enjoy the fun.
Online Classes And Lessons
Outschool offers interesting life skills classes for kids from toddlers to teens. With over 100,000 classes to choose from, there is something for everyone. Kids learn on any device with live video chat classes that fit into your child’s needs and the family’s busy schedule; it is a small classroom experience conveniently from home. One-on-one learning offers personalized instruction and tutoring. Kids can take classes in all kinds of subjects like
- Life Skills, e.g., cooking, study skills, financial skills, or critical thinking.
- Music classes for guitar, piano, music theory, composers, and singing
- Science and Nature
- World Languages
- Coding and Tech
- Health and Wellness
- English writing, literature, spelling, and grammar
- Social studies
- Learner Favorites include Dungeons and Dragons, LEGO, Pokemon, Minecraft, Dogs, and Cats.
Extracurricular Lessons And Classes
Kids always have some new interest or hobby they want to try. It is an excellent Christmas or birthday gift to gifting them with lessons or classes in their latest desire or trend. It is the perfect opportunity for your child to try their latest interest and decide if they want to continue and whether it was just a fad. Parents can use this non-toy gift idea to inspire their kids to try new things.
- Horseback Riding lessons
- Photography classes
- Dancing lessons
- Art and Drawing classes.
- Guitar lessons. Give them a guitar and lessons to learn to play the instrument.
- Ballet classes
- Cooking Classes. Kids Cook Real Food teaches kids 30 essential cooking skills. Enjoy quality family time in the kitchen while your kids prepare the meal.
Parents could include a book about the topic, for example, a photography or cooking book or books about horses, ballet dancers, or famous artists.
Create Memories Non-Toy Gifts For Kids
One of the best non-toy gifts a parent can give a child is to spend quality time with them. The gift idea can extend to the whole family or a parent-child date with one child at a time. CertifiKID offers family-friendly deals on experiences, products, and services to help parents find great opportunities and events for their kids.
- One-on-one time with a parent emphasizes to your child how important they are to you. Take them to lunch, the park, ice skating, mini-golf, fancy tea party, or any other places they enjoy.
- Day trips that are 3 hours or less travel time are memorable trips the entire family can enjoy.
- Nature trips to the lake, mountains, or open fields where they can explore and experience the beauty of nature.
- Go to a game with your sports enthusiasts or the ballet or theater if your child prefers that.
- A weekend family vacation to the water park, amusement park, or booking into a local hotel is an excellent family gift that benefits each family member.
- A calendar for next year you’ve already filled with exciting events, parent-child dates, and fun stuff that your kids will enjoy.
- DIY Photo Album Book to draw is one of the best non-toy gifts for kids. Create a photo book with pictures of the family and pets and give the child dry-erase markers to draw in the book. They will love the idea of making funny pictures of themselves and family members.
More Practical Non-Toy Gift Ideas For Kids
- A box of dress-up clothes kids can use for dressing up and role-playing fun. Having their dress-up clothes would keep little ones out of your closet.
- Gift Certificate or gift card for books, clothes, accessories, or favorite mall.
- Cowboy boots or other grownup footwear for little kids or fun socks for big kids
- Jewelry box to stash their trinkets, treasures, and jewelry.
- Art box and Hobby supplies; you can never get enough supplies for arts, crafts, and hobbies.
- Hair accessories including hair clips, headbands, hair bands, barrettes, claw clips
- Bath bombs and other bath time fun items
- Musical instruments
- Piggy-bank, wallet, or savings account to teach them financial principles
- A watch is one of the best non-toy gifts for kids and adults alike
- New bedding, decor, or accessories to make a bedroom feel new again in a fun way
We hope you found more than one great idea to surprise your kids with Christmas morning, a birthday party, and special occasions. If you are looking for experience gifts your kid will never forget, we’ve got you covered as well.