Check Out These Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Your Toddler’s Next Birthday

Most parents put a lot of thought into the birthday gifts they select for their little ones. Often, parents are looking for toys that are educational, developmentally appropriate, and, well, fun. They imagine their child opening their presents, gasping with joy and then playing with their new toy in the months to come. What often happens though is that a child unwraps their toy, shrieks with joy, and then, after playing with the sparkly, light-up, beeping thing for just a few minutes or hours, it gets pushed behind the toy bin or under the couch.

If you want to avoid overdoing it on toys this birthday and give your child gifts that they’ll use through the year and as they grow, consider selecting something you won’t find on any “hottest toy of the season” lists.

Toddlers and preschoolers love engaging with the world in new and authentic ways and there all kinds of regular, grown-up things that might bring your child more joy than a toy. While it might feel odd to avoid the toy aisle as you shop, doing so might mean that the gifts you buy now will grow with your child. Check out the list below for 30 non-toy gifts to consider wrapping up for your little one’s next birthday!  

non-toy
Image via Pexels

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Gifts for exploring

If your preschooler loves to learn and explore, consider offering them a gift that will encourage them to keep discovering.

  1. A flashlight
  2. A magnifying glass
  3. A bucket and shovel set
  4. A backpack
  5. Binoculars

Gifts for building

Preschoolers are designed to build. Whether your child prefers stacking blocks or constructing forts, they’ll enjoy gifts and gadgets that let them build like a grown-up.

  1. A tape measure
  2. A “fort set” that includes a flat sheet and several clothes pins
  3. A wrench
  4. A tool belt
  5. A roll of tape

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Gifts for creating

If your little one loves the feel of paint on their fingers or the thrill of sharing their art with others, consider giving them the tools to help them grow.

  1. Silly scissors
  2. A stationery set
  3. Paint and paintbrushes
  4. Envelopes and stamps
  5. Construction paper

Gifts for cooking

Young kids are naturals in the kitchen. Whether your little one prefers mixing, pouring, or sifting, the gift of real kitchen accessories will encourage them to keep cooking!

  1. A set of “real” kitchen tools
  2. An apron
  3. A step-stool
  4. A lemon squeezer
  5. Cooke cutters

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Gifts for daily living

One of the best parts of being a preschooler is the slow taking-over of personal care duties. Help your child feel confident and competent by giving them everyday supplies that increase their independence.

  1. A toothbrush
  2. A warm blanket
  3. Character pajamas
  4. A dust pan
  5. A water bottle

Do you have any favorite non-toy gifts for your little one? Share in the comments!

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Check Out These Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Your Toddler’s Next Birthday

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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