Non-Toy Gift Ideas – Giving Practical Gifts and Experiences Instead

Non-Toy Gift Ideas - Giving practical gifts and experiences instead

With three young children, it already feels like we have SO many things in our house for them to play with. Books, toys, stuffed animals, Legos, play kitchen, ride on toys, you name it. While I know play is so important, I get overwhelmed seeing the amount of toys we have. Especially since they are usually ALL over the living room (kitchen, bedrooms, etc.). I think my kids get overwhelmed with all the stuff some days too. While I do try to do a toy rotation at times, it never happens as often as I would like.

We have a November birthday, then Christmas, and two more birthdays to celebrate in January for my kids. LOTS of celebrations all during the same time of the year. It’s also the time of year when they seem to really NEED the least. So, this year I decided to focus less on TOYS and more on practical gifts, time together, and experiences when it came to gift ideas. 

Non-Toy (Mostly) Gift Ideas:

  1. Hooded bath towelNon-Toy Gift Ideas - Giving practical gifts and experiences instead
  2. Basket of Toiletries – bubble bath, bath soap, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, bath crayons, etc.
  3. Clothes
  4. Hair Accessories or a Hat
  5. Art Supplies – great for any age
  6. Overnight travel bag/suitcase
  7. Overnight cot (example)
  8. Books – ANY book is great, but here is some inspiration from the New York Public Library.
  9. Photo Book – Create one on a site like Shutterfly, or DIY with a small photo album with plastic sleeves and add your own pictures. I met in the middle & found a kids’ album to put my own photos in.
  10. Cooking Kit – recipe, ingredients, special pan/dish (if needed) – If possible, offer to cook the recipe together! Maybe even add an apron.
  11. Non-Toy Gift Ideas - Giving practical gifts and experiences insteadWinter Gear – jacket, snow pants, boots, hat, gloves/mittens, scarf – it’s always nice to have a back up!
  12. Outdoor Play – sled, slide, shovel – ways kids can be active during the winter months
  13. Food – cereal, applesauce pouches, crackers, fruit – Favorite (healthy) snacks are always welcome.
  14. Fun pillowcase and/or sheets
  15. Furniture – book shelf, new bed, small chair, table & chairs 
  16. Movie Theater gift card – Marcus Theatres, De Pere Cinema
  17. N.E.W. Zoo pass
  18. Children’s Museum of Green Bay pass
  19. Highlights Magazine Subscription – They have different magazines for various age groups, and kids will love getting mail!
  20. Weidner Center for the Performing Arts gift certificates
  21. Fox Cities Performing Arts Center gift certificates
  22. Non-Toy Gift Ideas - Giving practical gifts and experiences insteadCash – It often feels impersonal to give, but it’s always well-received. Plus getting gift cards isn’t always possible for some gifts. To make it feel more personal, you could add a brochure for the business & when applicable, include the classes they offer along with the money. Here are just a few specific reasons you could give cash:
    1. Swimming Lessons  – YMCA, Community Centers, Aquatic Centers
    2. Little Gym Classes – LOTS of options to choose from! 
    3. Car Seat – These are EXPENSIVE and any money towards them will be appreciated! Trust me, we are about to buy our 3rd convertible car seat…

This is simply a short list of gift suggestions. Please share any other great ideas you have!

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One Response to Non-Toy Gift Ideas – Giving Practical Gifts and Experiences Instead

  1. Deanna December 1, 2016 at 7:23 am #

    Great list, Anne! I agree–too many toys! I like the idea of buying experiences. Last year, instead of individual gifts for the whole family, we asked for a night stay at Blue Harbor. It was perfect! Great place for little kids.