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28 Gift Ideas for Kids That Aren’t Toys
gift ideas for kids (not toys)

Nothing beats gifts that come with an experience. That’s why we put together this list of gift ideas for kids for birthdays (not toys). Most toys are grown out of and destroyed, but memories last forever, so many parents prefer non-toy presents for their little ones.

Whether you’re a mom looking for a gift for your child, or friends or family members searching for the perfect present, we’ve rounded up the best non-toy gift ideas for kids for a special occasion like a birthday or even a fun gift for a holiday season celebration. From newborn to grade school, babies to 5 year olds and up, we’ve got it all right here. Let’s get into the best non-toy gifts for little kids!

Non-Toy Gifts for Baby (0-12 months)

When it comes to babies, non-toy gifts can be a game-changer in their development and overall well-being. While traditional toys certainly have their place, non-toy gifts offer a unique opportunity to engage babies in different ways, fostering their curiosity and expanding their experiences.

Not only do non-toy gifts provide entertainment, but they also promote bonding, stimulate cognitive development, and encourage exploration. Explore our list of non-toy gift ideas for babies and give the little ones in your life the best start.

1. Swimming Lessons

gift ideas for kids (not toys) swimming lessons

Photo credit: SafeSplash Swim School

This is a gift that doubles for both baby and parents. Swim lessons are a fun activity for little ones while also giving parents peace of mind on important water safety. Check out your local pool or aquatic center for any gift certificates available for purchase in advance.

2. Aquarium Passes

gift ideas for kids (not toys): Aquarium passes

Photo credit: Shedd Aquarium

If you didn’t know already, babies love watching fish swim. So a day at the aquarium just makes sense for a non-toy baby gift. Baby’s eyes will be wide open the entire time and their small little minds will bloom with curiosity. A season pass or gift certificate to the aquarium is always a good idea!

3. Baby Splash Mat

Baby splash mat gift

Finding a gift for a small baby that they will actually use can be tough. But this Splash Mat on Amazon is a great gift idea most babies will love. With this non-toy gift, baby gets fresh air and learns about splashing in the water, plus it gives parents a chance to relax outside too!

4. Solid Food Feeder Pacifier

Solid food baby feeders are a great present idea that doesn’t just give babies a safe opportunity to try food, but can also be doubled as a teething soother. The baby will almost immediately feel relieved after sucking on this pacifier feeder filled with frozen fruit. 

5. Goodnight Lotion

gift ideas for kids (not toys)

A staple for any nighttime routine: magnesium and lavender good night lotion. Magnesium is known to promote healthy sleep and gut health while acting as a natural detoxifier. Not only will your baby feel relaxed, but parents too, once they get better sleep with this relaxing nighttime lotion from Earthley.

6. New Books

mom reading a book to a baby

Cultivating a love for reading in kids is one of the best gifts you can give them. Reading not only enhances their language skills but also fosters imagination, empathy, and critical thinking. It opens up doors to new worlds, ideas, and perspectives.

Kids who love to read from an early age often perform better academically across various subjects. New books are a great gift for kids from birth and every age group from there. 

Non-Toy Gifts for Toddler (1-3 years)

7. Doodle Board

Doodle board

Toddlers love to express their creativity with drawing. But sometimes, that means their artwork ends up on the floors, walls, and other places where parents have to clean up stubborn scribbles. Getting the toddler in your life a doodle board is the ultimate gift. They can have all the creativity with absolutely no mess. Go check out this one on Amazon!

8. Bowling Alley Passes

Bowling passes

Photo credit: Splitsville

Bowling is a great non-toy present idea for a toddler. The excitement of the bowling alley, cheering happy noises and expressions, and yummy snacks–the entire experience is amazing through their little eyes. There is no doubt that you will get a strike by gifting a bowling alley certificate to a little one.

9. Star Projector Night Light

Star night light

Light up the night with this star projector on Amazon. This gift idea is perfect for toddlers who might need a little support falling asleep. The shining stars and white noise will help calm a restless kiddo down and get them ready for bedtime. And it’s something fun and exciting they can look forward to each night.

10. Zoo Membership

gift ideas for kids (not toys): Zoo membership

Photo credit: San Diego Zoo

Who isn’t crazy about animals as a toddler? A local zoo membership is a great gift idea that will create memories to last a lifetime. Not only is it an overall fun experience, but toddlers love learning about all the different animals.

Plus, if they’ve already made it to the stage where they start imitating animal sounds, it’s even more fun! Many zoos will have regular activities for kids to participate in as well, so much sure you check out what your local zoo has to offer.

11. Toddler Knife Kitchen Set

gift ideas for kids (not toys)

We know what you’re thinking. “Is a toddler knife set safe??” Yes, this one found on Amazon is completely safe for kids to use. Everything is dull to the touch, but can still be used to cut certain foods. A gift that gets kids involved in daily routines like cooking is great for everyone. Toddlers love to play pretend and act like adults–so it makes perfect sense why this kitchen set made our list.

12. Piggy Bank

mom and daughter putting change into a piggy bank

It’s never too early to teach kids the importance of saving money! A cute piggy bank like this one works for girls or boys. This will get them ready to have a healthy savings account of their own of day. 

Non-Toy Gifts for Preschoolers (3-5 years)

When it comes to preschoolers, non-toy gifts can be a fantastic way to ignite their imagination and promote learning in fun and engaging ways. While toys certainly have their appeal, non-toy gifts offer unique opportunities for exploration and development.

From hands-on gifts that encourage creativity to gifts that foster a love of reading, younger children will love these gift ideas. Not only will they provide endless entertainment, but also promote cognitive development, social skills, and self-expression. 

13. Temporary Tattoos

Temporary tattoo booklet

Easy to apply, easy to remove, and no long-term commitment–sounds great, right? Temporary tattoos are a fun and safe way for kids to express their creativity and unique style. Gifting them with an assortment of designs to mix and match can be so fun for their growing playful minds. Here’s a fun variety pack to check out!

14. Gardening Tool Set

gift ideas for kids (not toys): gardening set

Kids love to copy their parents, so getting a gift that will help them feel included by “helping” is always a great idea. Our team stumbled upon this fantastic gardening tool set that’s perfect for any kid who loves to help outside. It comes with everything they need to support their parents in the garden: a wheelbarrow, watering can, gardening gloves, hand rake, shovel, trowel, double hoe, and even an apron with pockets. *Adds to cart*

15. Library Card

Library card gift

Photo credit: Detroit Public Library

This non-toy gift idea promotes reading and learning while fostering responsibility and building a solid foundation for the community. Not to mention, it also saves money on book costs. Getting kids a library card instead of a toy as a gift is one of the best things you can do for their development. A library card also opens up a lot of other opportunities for kids to participate in. Most libraries will have regular events for parents and their children like story time or other fun activities. 

14. Virtual Art Classes

Virtual art class

You can almost do anything online these days, including attending a virtual art class. There are actually preschool and kindergarten drawing classes online that meet once a week to teach little one’s basic art skills. This drawing class from Outschool is a great non-toy gift option. And only $8 a class? Sign them up ASAP!

17. Fishing Gear

Kid fishing equipment

Need a present for an outdoorsy kid? Get them their own fishing gear! Whether it’s in the backyard pond or out on the boat with parents, kids will love having their own fishing set. This one on Amazon comes with a pull-out rod, tacklebox, and all the gear they need to get started.

Non-Toy Gifts for School-Age Kids (5+ years)

Non-toy gifts offer opportunities for educational enrichment and skill development outside of traditional toys for school-age kids. They foster a love of learning and encourage exploration in various subjects and life skills.

Promote creativity and imagination with creative gifts, allowing children to engage in activities that stimulate their minds and hone their talents. Encourage physical activity and outdoor play with non-toy gifts, promoting a healthy and active lifestyle. 

18. Magazine Subscription

gift ideas for kids (not toys): magazine subscription

Magazine subscriptions are a great gift that just keeps coming right to the mailbox. Subscriptions like Ranger Rick are both fun and educational for kids. Just wait until they find out they get a new issue each month! You can also find tons of magazine subscription options at

19. State Quarter Map

State quarter map gift

Remember how fun state quarter maps were? Bring back the excitement by getting the kid in your life this fun collectible quarter booklet. Not only does it give kids something to do but it promotes learning about geography, encourages travel, and creates a fun hobby. We found this one you need to check out.

20. Butterfly Growing Kit

gift ideas for kids (not toys) butterfly kit

The gift of witnessing nature’s miracles is unbeatable. This live butterfly growing kit comes with 5 real caterpillars ready to make their cocoons and burst into beautiful butterflies. It has all the supplies kids need to help the caterpillars transform. This is an impressive gift for any kiddo who loves animals and bugs!

21. Dance Classes

gift ideas for kids (not toys) dance classes

Photo credit: Tippi Toes Dance

Giving the gift of dance can be a great way to help a child learn new skills and improve their coordination. Whether it’s ballet, jazz, hip hop, or tap, dance classes can provide a child with a lifelong love of movement and the arts. Getting a gift certificate is as simple as Googling “kids dance classes near me.”

22. Mini Golf Gift Card

Mini golf gift card

Photo credit: Embassy Miniature Golf

Mini golf is the perfect non-toy gift for school-age kids. It’s a great experience type present that also teaches kids hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills. Little do they know they are actually learning while having a blast putting a ball into an alligator’s mouth.  

23. Movie Tickets

gift ideas for kids (not toys) movie tickets

Photo credit: Marcus Theatres

Another overlooked non-toy present idea for kids is movie theater tickets. Going to the movies gives kids a break from the routine of daily life and gives them a chance to escape into a new world. Movie tickets are also affordable, making it an easy quick option for a kid’s gift. 

24. Sleeping Bag

Sleeping Bag non toy gift idea

A sleeping bag isn’t just a good option for kids who go camping, it’s also a great option for sleepovers or even just those awesome living room forts that kids love! You can find a wide variety of sleeping bags for kids with their favorite characters and more, or you can opt for a more neutral sleeping bag like this one.

25. Children’s Museum Membership

two kids at a children's museum

If you have local museums for kids, this is a creative non-toy gift idea! Kids can have a great time over and over with the regularly updated museum displays and experiences. This is a great way to spend some quality time for the entire family as well. 

26. Amusement Park Tickets

kids riding a ride at an amusement park

Are you looking for the perfect gift for the adventurous kid in your life? A trip to a local amusement park might be just the thing! Of course, this is a pretty big gift if you don’t have one locally and have a long way to travel. But if you want to make a special trip with the whole family, this can be a really fun treat! 

27. Subscription Boxes

a young girl with a subscription box

Subscription boxes like Kiwi Crate are perfect for older children and come in a variety of different options. They are a wonderful way to make education fun, which makes them a perfect non-toy gift. They may occasionally contain small toys, depending on the type of subscription, but they are typically geared toward learning.

28. Tickets to a Sporting Event

a kid at a sporting event with hands in the air

This is a great gift for kids who love sports. Tickets to a local college, semi-professional, or even professional game of some sort will make an experience to remember for older kids. 

Opting for Non-Toy Gifts

When it comes to gift-giving for children, choosing non-toy presents that come with an experience can be meaningful. Not only do they create lasting memories, but some gifts also provide opportunities for learning and personal growth.

Here are some reasons why giving non-toy gifts to children can be important:

1. Development of Creativity

Non-toy gifts like art supplies, books, or musical instruments encourage children to use their imagination and creativity. This is an easy way to help foster their cognitive and emotional development.

2. Long-Term Value

Unlike toys that always lose their appeal over time, non-toy gifts like educational materials or experiences (museum membership or a cooking class) can provide lasting value and skills that children can carry into adulthood.

3. Reduced Clutter

Non-toy gifts can help minimize clutter in the home. This isn’t just good news for parents, it also promotes organization and a sense of tidiness for kids. This can teach children the importance of valuing experiences and meaningful possessions over excessive material goods.

4. Encourages Learning

Gifts like puzzles, science kits, or building sets stimulate children’s curiosity and desire to learn. The best experience gifts and other non-toy gifts will promote critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and a love for exploration and discovery.

5. Promotes Social Interaction

Gifts that involve activities like board games, sports equipment, or musical instruments encourage social interaction and cooperation among children. This helps teach important social skills like communication, teamwork, and conflict resolution.

7. Teaches Gratitude

Giving non-toy gifts allows children to appreciate the thought and effort put into selecting meaningful and personalized gifts. The younger children might not catch on right away, but older kids will learn gratitude and the value of relationships over material possessions.

8. Supports Diverse Interests

Non-toy gifts cater to a wide range of interests and talents, allowing parents to support and nurture their children’s individual passions and hobbies. This helps children develop a sense of identity and self-confidence while having so much fun and making great memories.

9. Encourages Physical Activity

Gifts like sports equipment, bicycles, or outdoor adventure experiences are great ideas that promote physical activity and a healthy lifestyle, helping children develop strong bodies and positive habits from a young age.

All in all, gift giving doesn’t have to mean toys. From aquarium passes and doodle boards to virtual art classes and movie tickets, there are so many non-toy gift ideas available for kids of all ages. Next time you’re on the hunt for a kid’s gift, know that you have the option to step outside of the toy aisle and explore other fun avenues.