60+ Best Non-Toy Gifts for Kids in 2024 (No Junk Gift Guide)

Unique Gifts for Kids That Aren’t Toys

I cleaned out my kids’ rooms recently and was disgusted with myself. I let it get too far.

What I found were piles of toys in every way shape and form. Half of them were broken or lost. And none of them had been played with in ages. In fact, some were only played with on the day they were received.

The truth is, I stopped trying to organize our toys. It became overwhelming. But it also led to a decision. Non toy gifts are what we’ll give the kids from now on.

best non-toy gifts for kids featured image, great for toddlers and teens too

But, what do you get kids instead of toys?

I’m not the only mom who struggles with toy overwhelm. And I can do better. As a society, we can all do better. Use the best list of non-toy kids gifts to give things that mean a bit more instead.

This post contains affiliate links, and I may earn a commission (at no cost to you.) See my disclaimer for more.

the best non-toy gifts for kids pin, gift guide for toy substitutes
*In a hurry? The 3 most popular non-toy kids gifts: Kids Fitness Tracker, Butterfly Growing Kit, Bug Catcher Kit

Useful Gifts for Kids

First, these non toy gifts for kids are both fun and practical!

An Exciting Alarm Clock

best non toy gifts for kids 2023, practical presents on Amazon

Kids crave structure, and a huge part of that is knowing what time it is! If your kids are younger, try a clock that lightens and darkens. It helps them understand when they can come out of their room. If they’re older, get a fun big kid one!

Here’s a fun star night light too, for kids who are afraid of the dark.

A Fun Flashlight

Both useful and fun for playing flashlight tag in the summertime! What child does not love a flashlight?!

For toddlers, this triceratops LED headlamp is spectacular.

Camping Must-Haves

useful gifts for kids that aren't toys, camping stuff

My kids LOVE sleeping anywhere that isn’t their bed.

So, gifts for camping out are a big plus. Give a sleeping bag, camping lantern, real 4-person tent, or play tent for them to build outdoor excitement.

Related: Free Camping Checklist for Kids

A Colorful Watch

My kids have always been CRAZY over watches, as I suspect all kids are. Plus, kids have a much harder time learning analog than they used to. So give them a watch to learn.

Real Tools and a Tool Bench

My son is a builder. So, one year we got him his own set of tools, and the wood and plans to build a tool bench all his own in the garage. It was a HUGE hit.

Useful Travel Supplies

Next, kids need equipment to travel too! So, get your child a suitcase and a small travel kit to be able to put their toothbrush in.

See a durable big kid suitcase here >>

Money Sense Items

practical non-toy gifts for kids, toddlers, teens: money items

Kids don’t learn much financial education in school. They learn it at home. So, give a gift that supports their learning.

Good options to begin teaching are:

A Fun Towel or Bathrobe

Do you have multiple kids? Get them their own unique bath towel! This cuts down on throwing clean towels in the hamper. Plus, they’ll feel special knowing they have something of their own.

Other cozy gift ideas include fun slippers and a colorful bathrobe.

Hip Headphones

Technology is the way of the future. And sometimes it GREATLY protects a parent’s sanity if their child has headphones…

See our favorite headphones HERE >>

A Colorful Umbrella

a colorful umbrella for a child

Umbrellas with creative designs are another way for kids to feel like they have something that’s special to them.

Exciting Sports Equipment

Is the child athletic? Plan ahead, and get sports equipment that is needed anyway!

There is a lot of stuff that comes with sports!

An Apron and Cooking Supplies

useful non toy Christmas gifts for kids, 3 year olds, 4 year olds, 5 year olds, 6 year olds, 7 year olds

If your child enjoys helping in the kitchen, gift him or her their own set of supplies! My kids received aprons and whisks one year, and they get them out EVERY time it’s time to make muffins.

A fun kids cookbook is a great complement to this gift!

Fun & Useful Garments

Always needed! Fun shoes, socks, underwear, and nice clothes are appreciated down the road.

And a cozy pair of mittens, snow pants, or boots could make a difference in how much your child is able to be outdoors in the winter.

Fishing Supplies for a Big Catch

fishing supplies

Do you have a fishing or hunting fan? Gift hunting gear, their own fishing pole, bait, or even a lifetime license if your state offers it. This fishing starter kit is a good value>>

A Handy Calendar

Just like the watch above, kids feel grown up and independent when they know what day it is. So, get them a calendar that matches their interests and watch them mark off the days.

Unique Learning Gifts That Aren’t Toys

These non-toy gifts for kids are perfect for building big brains in our kiddos!

Exciting Books & Audiobooks

Get your kids into a cool new series! Last year, we gifted the first two books and movies of the Harry Potter series to our son.

Whatever you do, go with their interests!

Best kids books that are movies

Pro Tip: To make this book and movie gift a tradition every year, write a special note in the front cover of each book.

A fun book light is another useful gift option to go with this!

An Exciting Butterfly Kit

*Most popular item with readers!

best non-toy gifts for kids 8 years old, 9 years old, a butterfly garden

Want to SEE how a caterpillar becomes a butterfly?! It’s really cool! Gift a butterfly kit and release the butterflies when you’re done!

A Unique Light-Up Terrarium Kit

Help kids create their own mini garden in a jar with a kit that lights up at night!

Fun Monthly Subscription Boxes

unique learning gifts that aren't toys: subscription boxes

A grandparent gifted us KiwiCrate for the past year, and we’ve been blown away by how creative and fun the monthly projects are. Plus, the kids get super excited when they see the box arrive! Other great options are Little Passports and OwlCrate.

A Bug Exploration Kit

Got a nature lover? Get them a kit to collect their bugs and sticks.

*Throw in this free nature scavenger hunt printable.

A Microscope Kit

learn with microscope non-toy gift ideas for kids

Kids love looking at the tiny particles found through a microscope. So, spark their curiosity this year!

Creative Arts & Craft Supplies

Add paints, clay, and some tools they’ve never worked with before to make it a fantastic hands-on learning experience.

Do you have a crafter? Add in these fun items:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Googly eyes
  • Stickers
  • Hot glue
  • Ribbon
  • Fun scissors (or see an affordable craft set)
  • A sewing machine (great non toy gift idea for older kids)

What about a kid who enjoys drawing? Try…

A Telescope for Space Exploration

telescope for 10 year olds

Take a learning trip into space and the stars with a telescope and a cool book about constellations.

A Crystal Growing Kit

Did you know that you can grow crystals?! After they grow, it turns into a unique night light. Science is so cool!!! Find the Cyrstal Growing Kit HERE >>

A Fish Aquarium

an aquarium: unique non toy gifts for the child who has everything

Introduce your kids to different fish and teach them how to take care of them. They’ll be excited to see what their fish does! Here’s a good aquarium >>

A Fun Magazine Subscription

Highlights Magazine and National Geographic for Kids continue to be outstanding magazines. If your child loves to read with pictures, and get mail regularly, they’ll love this gift!

Bird Feeder & Book for Outdoor Exploring

*Amazon’s Choice Feeder & Binoculars

gifts for kids that aren't toys, binocular

Not into fish (above)? Get a bird feeder, binoculars, and a book about birds!

If you are ready to take care of a bigger pet, use that by gifting items to help the child take care of it. Examples: food bowls, a leash, animal toys, etc.

Colorful Puzzles

learning gifts for kids that are not toys: puzzles

Next, puzzles are great for all ages, and they are a fun way to engage the mind in a challenge. These Melissa and Doug puzzles are perfect for little dinosaur lovers!

Thrilling Musical Instruments

*Best non toy gifts for toddlers!

Generate interest in the arts with a musical instrument. Keep it simple with wooden instruments for small kids, or gift a guitar, piano, or drums to someone older.

A Digital Camera for Beginner Photographers

the best non-toy gifts for kids, girl, boy: a digital camera

Does your child enjoy taking pictures? Then, give them a real camera to take photos of all the things they love!

Compare the best kids cameras HERE >>

Imaginative Dress-Up Clothes

Spark their imaginations with real dress-up clothes. This doesn’t include Disney princess dresses! We’re talking clothes here that they can match to play different roles.

A Bookstore Gift Card

Not sure what books your child would enjoy? Instead, give them a gift card so they can have fun picking out their next reading adventure.

Find the best books for your kids’ age:

Practical Family Gifts

Next, these non-toy gifts for kids are also GREAT for the whole family and they work to keep you active!

Gifts That Get the Family Moving

*Popular item with readers!

practical gifts for kids & the family; fitness trackers

Anything that promotes health for the family is hugely beneficial! So, consider fitness trackers for everyone, bikes, and even a yoga mat!

We ordered the kids these tracker watches this year because they’ve been begging to count steps with us!

Gardening Supplies to Dig in the Dirt

Get kids their very own shovels, gardening gloves, and seeds so that they can participate and get invested in the family garden.

Or check out this complete tool set!

Fun Family Games

fun family games, Jenga

Games encourage cooperation, build vocabulary, and promote critical thinking. Plus, they’re fun! You can’t go wrong with a great game!

Classics like Monopoly Jr. and Clue never go out of style.

See 23 of the BEST Family Games for more!

A Tumble Mat

Sometimes the best non toy gifts for the kids are simple ones. This is especially true if you have a child who likes to move. See this colorful tumble mat to give your child space to groove.

Swing Set Equipment

A playground for your home is a wonderful gift for the kids. But if that’s too expensive, invest in pieces for your backyard paradise and add slowly until it’s what you want it to be.

This fun tree swing is reasonably priced.

A Relaxing Hammock

non-toy gifts for kids and the family: a hammock

This is practical because we all need to relax more! Our kids enjoy our hammock more than anyone, so this is the perfect gift if you don’t have one!

*Related Post: Best Outdoor Gifts For Kids in 2023

A Weekend Family Vacation

When we are able, we want to give the gift of a weekend at a local hotel/water park for our kids. They would LOVE it, and we wouldn’t be adding to our collection of stuff.


Creative Gifts for the Child Who Has Everything

Next, do you have a child who seems to have everything?! Then, check out these unique gifts!

A Special Blanket

A blanket with sewn-in pictures or even a weighted blanket to help them sleep is both practical and very appreciated.

Check current price on this Amazon’s choice blanket >>

*And see more gifts to help with anxiety here>>

A Sturdy Lego Table

Lego table

Perhaps your child who has everything needs something to do with all of his or her toys! A play table with storage is the easy solution.

A Customized Photo Book

Kids love seeing themselves through pictures, so make a photo book of special memories to give to them. Add your own comments to the book and they’ll cherish it forever.

Find other great personalized ideas: How to Make a Birthday Special

Bedroom Decor for Style & Comfort

*Best non toy gift ideas for teens!

non toy gifts for the child who has everything: room decor

Perhaps your child could use something for their room! Think:

to spruce up their bedroom and make their space inviting.

This lava lamp is SUPER cool!

non toy gifts for kids and teens: cool lava lamp

This electric jellyfish lamp is also crazy unique >> (I can’t decide if it’s amazing or creepy!)

Meaningful Donations

Teach kids about the benefits of giving by putting a donation in their name. Take it a step further and have them sponsor a child through World Vision.

Personalized Mugs for Kids

Not only is having your own personalized mug super cool, but the kids will never fight over which cup is theirs. Or use up three cups in a day!

Check current price HERE >>

Trading Card Binder

I’ve seen more than a few Pokemon collections the last few years. And if your child is into them too, you’ll need a cool binder to keep them organized.

Exciting Snacks

Are anyone else’s kids obsessed with snacks? This could be chocolates and crackers, or a little healthier with homemade granola or dried fruit. But food is ALWAYS a winner.

Mail Every Month

Finally, consider simply sending something to them in the mail for 12 months. Pretty postcards, care packages, or cool stickers are something that the child can look forward to often, and costs very little.

*For something ultra creative and unique, try the 12 days of Christmas gift idea. Adapt it to any time of year!

Non-Toy Kids Gifts for Making Memories

Next, these gifts promote experience over stuff! Read on, and grab a free kids experience gifts certificate too!

kids experience gifts and gift ideas for 2023

Yearly Memberships

Memberships to local attractions are a great way to get kids out to see things! Consider the zoo, children’s museums, YMCA, amusement park, or local gym for a yearly membership.

Exciting Tickets

Next, splurge on tickets to a game, concert, or play. If a professional performance is out of the question, local events are still a lot of fun!

Creative Classes

experience gifts for kids

Next, what are the child’s interests? Consider gifting a cooking class, painting class, sculpture class, or anything else they’re into. Local classes are usually offered, and many online classes are now available for just about anything!

Easy Mini Golf

Kids LOVE mini golf, so take them to a new place!

Movie Tickets

The movie theater is a special kind of place to a kid. Make this even more fun by adding theater snacks and drinks to your gift.

Coupons Make Great Non Toy Gifts for Kids

Coupons are diy gifts at their best! Write out special privileges that you know your kids will love! Find a free kids coupon printable HERE >>

coupons printable for kids reward system
Click here to subscribe

Some ideas include:

  • Stay up 30 minutes late
  • No chores for a day
  • 30 minutes of extra screen time
  • Fresh baked cookies
  • You pick dinner

You can also give sweet notes, and write your coupons on the back. See: 24 Love Notes for Kids

Bowling Night

Give the gift of bowling! If kids are really into this sport, personal shoes and a bowling ball are fantastic gifts too.

Skating Gear

roller skating with dad

Whether this is roller skating or at an ice skating rink, this is sure to be a memorable experience with a child you love.

A Restaurant Gift Card

This one makes a fantastic stocking stuffer for boys or stocking filler for girls. Add a $5 gift card to a place you know they’ll be excited about. If you include new pajamas, you’ve got a fun family night date in the car!

One-on-One Date

Finally for experience gifts, give them an invitation to a special date with mom or dad. They will love having a day trip, nature trip, or fancy tea party to look forward to at a pre-determined time!

Video: my examples of non-toy kids gifts

Then, read on for great baby gifts!

Best Non Toy Gift Ideas for Babies

Lastly, what do you get babes?! Here are the best non-toy gifts for the baby, 1 year olds, or young toddlers in your life!


Maybe this is obvious, but I truly wished for diapers more than anything else. It’s what actually gets used! So, if you don’t know what to get, diapers and wipes are ALWAYS a winner!

Shop the top 3 diaper brands below!

compare top three button

Pro Tip: If you aren’t sure of the size, buy a size up!

A Potty Seat & Potty Book

non-toy gifts for babies, 1 year olds, 2 year olds, 3

Our two-year-old is receiving a potty seat this year! She’s pretty excited to be a big kid like her siblings. And even if we don’t use the potty seat, cute undies, and fun potty book right away, it will come in handy in the future!

Convenient Baby Food

Most moms love the fruit and veggie pouches for when they’re out and about. It’s healthy and convenient when you need to keep your kid happy for a few minutes!

Cute Clothes (Non-Toy Kids Gifts)

Kids grow quickly. Gift shoes, socks, sleeper sacks, cozy pajamas, and anything else the baby is low on!

Books to a Home Library

Sweet books to read to baby and one year old

Add to their book collection with one of these classics: Goodnight Moon or Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.


Babysitting Voucher

And finally, if you are a friend or family member, give a coupon for babysitting in the near future. Parents will highly appreciate it!

*See these baby and toddler stocking stuffers for more little one ideas!

non toy gifts for kids: Birthday and Christmas gifts that are not toys guide pin

To Consider With Non-Toy Gifts for Kids

Phew, that’s a lot of gifts! But if you’re still not sure what to get the child, leave a comment below describing the child, and I’ll help brainstorm ideas. Or have kids fill out a Christmas wish list to guide you!

My Christmas gift wish list template

What are your favorite non-toy gifts for kids?

Next, enter your email below to grab free checklists too!

More gift ideas for you…

60+ of the BEST Non Toy Gifts for Toddlers, Kids, Teens


  1. SO MANY great ideas here!!!!!! Thank you!

    1. I’m glad they were helpful for you Vicky!

  2. Brookes Hudgins says:

    My daughter is a year old and I have no idea what to get her she has toys but does not play with most of them she’s a rambunctious little girl but I need help!!

    1. Hi there Brookes! Buying for a 1-year-old can be hard, as they aren’t quite big enough to play with a lot of stuff yet. I would go with something practical like clothes, books, a blankie, potty stuff for the future, eating utensils, or sippy cups. My kids always adored those fruit/veggie smoothie pouches at the store for special occasions too. I hope these ideas help!

  3. Isabella Sahkin says:

    Hello! I’m shopping for my 11-year-old daughter, who does theater and ballet classes. She also likes art. Yet, she has entered the tween phase of no longer wanting toys. I don’t know what to buy her, any suggestions?

    1. Hi Isabella! Hmm, that’s a tough age. I think tickets to a special play or ballet would be fun to do together. High-quality art supplies or creative drawing books would be good if she enjoys art. Also, anything that allows her to be creative with her belongings might fit her well too. (Locker art, computer/cup stickers, room decor that she can design). I hope these ideas are helpful. Good luck!

  4. Cheri Maressa says:

    Hi we have 4 grandkids we never see them play with the toys we get or wear the clothes we buy & don’t want to give money or gift cards or anything like that because we’re afraid the parents would use them for themselves. A girl 8, a boy 3 1/2 who is autistic, a girl 1 1/2 & a boy 7 months.

    1. Cheri, maybe they would all enjoy new books? I also think taking the older kids to an experience would make a great gift and a fun bonding experience. Examples would be taking them to a movie, going to a local play or sporting event, an ice cream shop, etc. The younger kids are hard – maybe pacifiers, sippy cups, and things those kids really need. I have a “stocking stuffers for babies and toddlers” post on the site that could be useful for them! I hope these ideas help!

  5. Fantastic ideas!! Bookmarking this to refer to often. Thanks!

    1. I’m so glad you enjoyed the gift ideas! Thanks so much for dropping a note, it made my day!

  6. Rhonda R. says:

    These are great ideas! A few things my son loved getting when he was @ 5-9: clamps and cheap flat sheets to make forts and Paracord/shoestrings/rope to tie knots. Also any type of flashlight or lantern, colorful tape, or colorful wire.
    Now that my kids are teenagers, we always do an “experience” vs. a traditional gift. We’ve done zip lining, mister truck show, concerts, mountain getaways with snow tubing, and this year we’re doing Lion King tickets off Broadway!

    1. Rhonda, thank you so much for sharing! These are AWESOME non-toy ideas. How creative! And the experience gifts are so much more memorable than traditional gifts. They will remember those moments with you for the rest of their lives!

  7. This was the *best* list I have ever found. Amazing! Thank you so much!

  8. Meika chu says:

    This is by far the best list on the internet. Your website was the third one on the Google search and the first two were such a waste of time. Thank you for formulating a great list.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing Meika chu! I’m so glad it was helpful, and your kind words made my day!

  9. Shelly Andersen says:

    Your ideas are by far the most creative yet practical of all the dozens of pins I’ve read suggesting non-toy ideas. I especially like the camping, money sense, and alarm clock ideas! Thank you!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words Shelly. They made my day! So glad you enjoyed the list!

  10. These are great ideas! I recently gifted my 9 yo nephew a reading lamp shaped like a dog. You can move the arms and legs and you can even customize it with spots. He loved it and will use it for years to come. Good way to promote more reading : )

    1. Yvette, that is so cool and creative. Thank you so much for sharing, and I agree, that’s an awesome way to promote reading!

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