Beyond Toys: 10 Unique Gift Ideas for Kids

gift ideas

We are at a point in our lives where our Dudes really just don’t need any more toys.

They have way too many, and they barely play with them anyway, opting instead to spend most of their free time playing outside or engaging in technology of some sort.

So, when birthdays roll around and friends and family members start asking us what they should get them, here’s what we say: NOTHING!

Only, no one likes to hear that.  People know it’s the courtesy thing to bring a child a gift when you go to their birthday party, and it makes them feel good to give a gift.

We’ve come up with a solution that helps everyone (and it’s not the lame name-a-star-after-them thing either).

Beyond Toys: 10 Unique Gift Ideas for Kids

1.  A living thing.  But not the kind you have to actually keep at your house and walk and potty train and junk.  Instead, consider adopting an animal at the local zoo!  Many zoos offer this as a way to support their animals and in most cases, your child will get some official looking adoption certificate and some photos of their new friend.  Up the awesome on this gift by throwing in some tickets to the zoo so you can plan a visit to see their animal in action.

2.  Class registration fees.  Ask your family and friends to sign your child up for a class they’ve been wanting to take.  Anyone with actively engaged kids can tell you that the fees for sports, and music lessons, and karate classes, and the like are insane.  If your child has been wanting to try something new, but finances are making it tough, ask Grandma and Grandpa to gift the class to your child.  My middle son wanted to try piano and he finally got to when Papa paid for his registration!

3.  Gardening supplies.  May seem strange, but one of my son’s favorite gifts this year has been a little green house kit he received.  We are sitting here right now waiting for the herbs and spices we planted together to come up!

4.  Magazine subscriptions.  Sports Illustrated Kids, Highlights, and National Geographic Kids are big hits at our house.  They love getting mail and they wait excitedly each month for their periodicals to show up!

5.  Cool clothing.  Mom and Dad may not be able to get the cool tennis shoes, or purse, or sparkly cape that they want, but these unnecessary-but-ultra-cool clothing items can make really exciting gift items for little people.

6.  A cookbook.  For kids of course.  For those with a budding chef at home, a thematic cookbook with some cooking supplies (think a cupcake recipe book with a pan, a mixing bowl, and decorating supplies!) can lead to serious fun. 

7.  Tickets to an event.  As a family of five, heading to the circus can be a huge investment.  Sporting events as a family are almost unheard of for us.  Unless someone gifts us a couple of tickets that is! 

8.  A day out.  For family members and close friends, spending time together often makes the best gift of all.  A special dinner out, a trip to the park, just doing something focused on the birthday child that they wouldn’t normally get to do (or would have to do with their siblings) is a personal and meaningful gift to give.

9.  Movie tickets.  We love it when people gift our kids movie tickets.  Now that all three of them have to pay to watch, we spend upwards of $60 to go to the movie theater, and that’s if we sneak in our microwave popcorn and sodas in my big purse (shhhh!).  Going to the movies is something our family enjoys doing together and when our children receive tickets on their birthdays we are more than happy to pay a little to accompany them!

10.  Books.  One can never have too many (that’s the English teacher inside of me talking)!  Need some help choosing?  Here’s a list of best books for toddlers to get you started.

Image via Amanda Rodriguez

What do you think?

Beyond Toys: 10 Unique Gift Ideas for Kids

Amanda has been wowing the Internet since 2008 when she launched her pretty-much-useless guide for parents, parenting BY dummies. As it turns out, her parenting advice is not generally useful for more than a good laugh, but sometimes that’s exactly what you need! Amanda spends her offline time (which is embarrassingly limited) running a photography business, working as a social media director for a local magazine, writing freelance articles about stuff she loves, wrangling her 3 little Dudes ... More

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  1. Profile photo of Hayley Nadin Hayley Nadin says:

    What about sweets? Retro Sweet Hampers filled with there favourite goodies has to be up there for me 🙂

  2. Profile photo of Brittany Brittany says:

    Those are really interesting suggestions!


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