Nothing beats gifts that come with an experience. Most toys are grown out of and destroyed, but memories last forever. That’s why many parents prefer non-toy presents for their little ones.
Whether you’re a mom looking for a gift for your own child, or a friend or relative searching for the perfect present, we’ve rounded up the best non-toy gift ideas for kids. From newborn to grade school, we’ve got it all right here. Let’s get into it!
Non-Toy Gifts for Baby (0-12 months)
1. Swimming Lessons
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
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
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
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.
Non-Toy Gifts for Toddler (1-3 years)
6. 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!
7. Bowling Alley 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.
8. Star Projector 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.
9. Zoo Membership
Photo credit: San Diego Zoo
Who isn’t crazy about animals as a toddler? A 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!
10. Toddler Knife Kitchen Set
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.
Non-Toy Gifts for Preschoolers (3-5 years)
11. Temporary Tattoos
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!
12. Gardening Tool 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*
13. Library Card
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.
14. Virtual Art Classes
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!
15. Fishing Gear
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)
16. 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 magazines.com.
17. State Quarter Map
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.
18. Butterfly Growing 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!
19. 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.”
20. 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.
21. 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.
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.
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.