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Think Outside the Toy Box with Creative Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love

Toys are fantastic. They provide kids with lots of wonderful opportunities to discover and learn through play. But after a few years, they begin to pile up, especially if you have more than one child. Between birthdays, holidays, and small presents from family members and friends, eventually, your kid will have more toys than they could ever play with. Meanwhile, you’re quite likely running out of storage space. What to do?

This is when you need ideas for creative gifts that aren’t strictly toys but can still spark your child’s imagination and open up new avenues for self-expression and exploration. Non-toy gifts for kids require a bit of consideration. They need to be thoughtful gifts purchased based on a child’s unique interests—presents that will open doors to exciting experiences that a random toy can’t. They can also give you a unique opportunity to spend time with your child, participating in an activity based on their hobbies or appreciating something that makes them happy, creating priceless memories to last a lifetime.

There are a lot of avenues for creative gift giving, so take your time, listen when your child talks about their interests, and don’t be afraid to think outside the box. What might seem like a small gift for your kid could be the present they treasure for years to come. Let’s take a look at some potential ideas:

Non-toy Gift Guide

Basing your non-toy gift purchase on your child’s current interests is the best way to guarantee that it will make an impact. Look at the following categories to help find the perfect present to nurture your child’s passions.

The Adventurer

Some kids never stop exploring. They want to see and experience everything. Send them on a journey of discovery with these great gifts:

  • A subscription to a children’s exploration magazine or activity kit program
  • A camera and film
  • A photo album
  • A compass
  • A head or pocket light
  • Their own tent, sleeping bag, and camping supplies
  • A weekend hiking trip to put all these new goodies to use

The Artist

Your future Vincent van Gogh or Frida Kahlo will love art supplies and equipment that help them pursue their creative vision. Consider gifting them:

  • Paints, pens, markers, brushes, paper, canvases, an easel
  • An art supply caddy
  • Giant coloring posters
  • Stamps, stencils, ink pads, and rollers
  • Age-appropriate coloring books and colored pencils
  • A how-to origami book and origami paper
  • Giant wall decals
  • Sidewalk chalk
  • Global art activity kits
  • A set of drawing prompts

The Novelist

If your kid is interested in reading and writing, you can inspire and encourage them to pursue their passion for the written word. An ideal present for your next Shakespeare or Austen might be: 

The DIY-er

Some children love to express themselves with their hands. Great gifts for your young handicrafter might include:

Young girl knitting with needles at home

The Performer

Some kids are born to entertain. Encourage their exploration of the performing arts with a gift like:

  • Dress-up costumes and jewelry
  • Real musical instruments
  • Magic kit supplies
  • Puppets and a puppet theater
  • Music, improv, or acting lessons
  • Tickets to the theater or a concert with their best friend
  • Bluetooth headphones or microphone for performances in the living room
Young child covering face wearing animal puppets on fingers

The Chef

Does your child love to spend time with you in the kitchen? Encourage them to develop their cooking skills with:

The Scientist

Children love to experiment and discover. Keep the investigations going for your budding biologist, engineer, chemist, or researcher with these unique gift ideas:

When in Doubt, Personalize

Sometimes you’ll want to buy your kid a useful gift, like a watch or a calendar. But practical doesn’t have to mean boring, and useful gifts often make the best gifts. Why not hedge your bets and choose a personalized gift for your kid? Adding a simple monogram or birthstone will let your child know you were thinking of them, and they’ll appreciate their present more. Check out these suggestions for stocking stuffers or small gifts for kids: 

  • A towel
  • A keychain
  • A book with a handwritten inscription from you 
  • Stationery
  • A water bottle
  • Puzzles (personalized with your child’s name or a family picture)
  • A keepsake or jewelry box
  • A coupon book full of one-on-one activities with their parent

The Gift of Discovery

Children are natural explorers. Their innate curiosity drives them to learn as much as possible about the wonders of the world we share. Keep your child’s adventurous spirit flourishing with gifts of travel and discovery to encourage them to expand their horizons. Here are a few items to consider:

The Best Gift of All: You

Now that you have a shopping list full of spectacular gift ideas for your child, all you need to do is add one more essential item—your time. Sitting down and giving your child your undivided attention is invaluable. Turn off the phones, switch off the electronics, and enjoy sharing special moments. 

If you want to make some memories with your child, try touring the world and discovering new cultures by sampling their favorite fruit. Or conduct a sweet density experiment using sugar water. And reach for the sky to explore our solar system’s asteroids. These activities will engage young minds and allow you and your kids to bond while having heaps of fun. Enjoy!

Do other cultures enthrall your kids? Do they want to explore distant countries? Then they’ll love our World Edition subscription box. Each month, they’ll discover a new country through hands-on activities, stories, and souvenirs to help them connect with their world.