The BIG List of Non-Toy Gifts for Kids in 2021

Unique Gifts for Kids That Are Not 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 of them were played with ONLY on the day they were received.

The truth is, I stopped trying to organize our toys. It became overwhelming.

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So then and there, I decided that whatever our kids got from us, they would not be toys. And while I’ll give a few toy ideas to family, the majority will be items that serve the kids in a more meaningful way.

But, what do you get kids instead of toys?

I’m not the only mom that struggles with toy overwhelm. And I can do better. As a society, we can all do better. So, here is a GIANT list of non-toy gifts for kids. So we can gift things that mean a bit more instead.

This post includes:

  • Practical kid gifts
  • Unique Learning Items
  • Experience Gifts
  • Useful Family Presents
  • Creative Gifts for the Child Who Has Everything
  • Best Non-Toy Gifts for Baby

Useful Gifts for Kids

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

An Alarm Clock

best non toy gifts for kids 2021

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 to help them understand when they can come out of their room.

If they’re older, get a fun big kid one!

A Flashlight

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

Camping & Sleepover Stuff

useful gifts for kids: camping stuff

My kids LOVE sleeping anywhere that isn’t their own bed. So, gifts that help them enjoy themselves while camping out are a big plus. Give a sleeping bag, camping lantern, real 4-person tent, or play tent for them to build excitement for the outdoors.

A Watch

My kids have always been CRAZY over watches, as I suspect all kids are. Additionally, kids have a much harder time learning analog than they used to. So make sure they have 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 BIG hit.


Perhaps not as fun, but always needed! Fun shoes, socks, underwear, and nice clothes are always 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.

Money Sense Items

useful non-toy gifts for kids: money items

Kids don’t learn much financial education in school. They learn it at home. So, give a gift that supports their learning. A wallet, piggy bank, money into a savings account, stocks, or a 529 are good options to begin teaching.

A Fun Towel or Bathrobe

Do you have multiple kids? Get them their own unique bath towel! Not only does this cut down on throwing clean towels in the hamper, but they’ll feel special knowing they have something all their own. Other cozy gift ideas include fun slippers and a colorful bathrobe.

Travel Supplies

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

See a big kid suitcase here >>


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.

Sports Equipment

Is the child athletic? Plan ahead, and get sports equipment that is needed anyways! A new basketball, cleats, a baseball bat, etc. will make perfect gifts. There is a lot of stuff that comes with sports!


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.

An Apron and Cooking Supplies

useful non toy gifts for kids

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!

A 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.

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.

*If you’re looking for something SUPER creative and unique, read the 12 days of Christmas gift idea and adapt it for any time of year!

Unique Learning Gifts

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

books are perfect gifts for kids, toddlers, babies, and teens that aren't toys

Exciting Books & Audiobooks

Get your kids into a cool new series!

This year, we gifted the first two books and movies of the Harry Potter series to our son.

Whatever you do, go with their interests! And to make this gift a tradition every year, write a special note in the front cover of each book.

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

Monthly Subscription Boxes

unique learning gifts: 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 Kit

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

A Butterfly Kit

*Most popular item with readers!

non-toy gifts for kids: 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 Light-Up Terrarium Kit

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

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!

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
  • This comic book craft kit is a great option for older kids using imaginative storytelling!

A Telescope

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

An Aquarium

an aquarium: 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!

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

*Amazon’s Choice Feeder & Binoculars

gifts for kids that aren't toys

Not into fish (above)? Get a bird feeder, binoculars, and a book about birds! If you are ready to take care of an even bigger animal, use that in your gift for the year by gifting items to help the child take care of it. Examples include food bowls, a leash, animal toys, etc.


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.


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!

Real Dress Up Clothes

Spark their imaginations with real dress up clothes. This doesn’t include Disney princess dresses! We’re talking real 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.

A Digital Camera

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

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

Compare the best kids cameras HERE >>

Musical Instruments

*Best non-toy gifts for toddlers!

And finally, 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.

Non-Toy gifts for Making Memories

These gifts promote experience over stuff! So, read on!


On to the experiences! 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.


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

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!

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

Some ideas include:

  • 30 minutes of extra screen time

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


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


unique gifts for kids: roller skating

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. 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

And 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!

See more at: How to Gain Quality Time With Your Child

Practical Family Gifts

Next, these non-toy gifts for kids are also GREAT for the whole family!

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 if your child enjoys doing yoga with you!

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

Gardening Supplies

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

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

See 23 of the BEST Family Games for awesome ones!

Personalized Mugs for the 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 >>

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.

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!

A Weekend Family Vacation

Finally, 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 that seems to have everything?! Then, check out these unique gifts!

A 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 in: How to Make a Birthday Special

Bedroom Decor

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

Perhaps your child could use something for their room! Think creative wall decals, canvases, signs, and even lamps to spruce up their bedroom and make their space inviting.

This lava lamp in SUPER cool!

non toy gifts for kids

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 that help with anxiety here>>

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.

Here are some specific examples of non toy gifts in our home! 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 old, or young toddler 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!

A Potty Seat & Potty Book

non-toy gifts for babies

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 definitely come in handy in the future!

Convenient Baby Food

Most moms love the fruit and veggie pouches for when they’re out and about. Not only is it healthy, but it is ridiculously convenient when you just need to keep your kid happy for a few minutes!


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


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


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!

Something 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.

What are your favorite non-toy gifts for kids?

More gift ideas for you…

60+ of the BEST Non Toy Gifts for Kids