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75 Best Non-Toy Gift Ideas Your Kids Will Love for 2023

Is your toy room overflowing BEFORE Christmas even starts? A great way to focus on the real meaning of the holiday season while maintaining or creating a less cluttered home is to have a non-toy Christmas! 75 perfect gift ideas for Christmas, birthday or other special occasion. This is THE Gift Guide to send your family members! 

The gift ideas range from super-practical to fun experiences to cute clothes to educational books and activities. Something for every child on your list!

children in front of christmas tree with text overlay 75 of the best no toy gifts for kids

 

Updated October 2023

Best Non-Toy Gifts for Kids in 2023

Non-Toy Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids

 
 

Once, needing a break from my noisy and active kiddos, I told them, “Hey it’s time to go play in the playroom! Take your toys out of the living room, please.” 

My daughter replied, “We don’t want to play in there!! It’s too messy!”

After hearing these words a lightbulb went off: We had TOO MANY TOYs. So that evening after the children were tucked in bed and the sugar plums were dancing in their heads, I went to the play room and quickly filled a large tote with toys to donate to Goodwill. 

By reducing their choices and giving them a calmer environment my children actually seemed happier and played better together the next day! And having kids that play pleasantly together really lights me up!

RELATED: HOLIDAY STRESS: A SURVIVAL GUIDE

After this incident my husband suggested we do a Non-Toy Christmas for our kids this year! I was hesitant…no toys? Not even one!? 

But to keep the playroom and their bedrooms from overflowing with toys again we have to declutter and stop getting so many toys.  AND they aren’t even playing with all the toys they have already!

So you heard it here first: A No-Toy Christmas is in our future! 

dad lifts girl to put star on christmas tree

But we are NOT grinches and still want to surprise and delight our children on Christmas morning!  Just not with traditional toys. Many of these are items we ALREADY use and love and others are straight off my children’s wish lists!

I created this list with parents in mind, but also so they would have a resource of ideas to share with grandparents and family members who are also shopping for their kids and are unsure about what to buy for them if they aren’t getting toys. 

This gift guide is compiled with younger children from ages preschool/toddler to elementary school age in mind. But I’m sure you can use these ideas as a springboard for older kids, teenagers and even adult children!

This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission which helps keep my blog up and running but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

kids in plaid pajamas and santa hats sit on counter with small gift in their hands text overlay says non toy gifts for kids this Christmas

75+ Great Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids

Board Games –

2023 may be the year of the board game! These games are not only fun but teach social skills, fine motor skills, and higher reasoning skills!

We love giving a game to our kids to open on Christmas Eve and enjoy playing together before bedtime. 

  • Sequence for Kids – A great logic game that is easy for kids to play. At 4 our oldest played independently and our 3 year old with help. 
  • Sneaky Snacky Squirrel – Our kids favorite game while in the 3-5 range. It’s great for learning colors and fine motor skills. (And dealing with disappointment!)
  • Spot It – Our kids adore this game! They especially love besting the adults at it! This is the perfect size for fitting in a Christmas stocking too!
  • Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza – My aunt introduced us to this simple game that kids of all ages can play. Super easy to learn, but still challenging for adults! 
  • Battleship – Kids really love Battleship. It’s not my fav, but I’ve yet to find a kid that doesn’t love this classic game! 
  • Exploding Kittens – This is a great option card game for older kids (7 and up or any age that can read independently) and adults to play together! Just enough strategy and chance mixture! 
  • Ticket To Ride First Journey — Our 8 and 6 year old love this game and have been able to play it without too much help for about a year. Our 5 year old still needs some support, but it’s a board game our whole family loves to play together and it’s so much fun for everyone!

RELATED: THE BEST PRESCHOOL GIFT IDEAS FROM EXPERIENCED MOMS

Art Supplies and Creative Activities Gift Ideas

Giving the gift of art is such a fun option! I’m not a “crafty mom” but I TRY because my kids love it so!

  • Waterproof kids smock – So I can be a little more chill as my kids create.
  • Giant box of craft supplies – I love that this has enough of everything and it has 16 different specific craft projects.
  • Scrapbook and supplies — Create a ready-to make photo album with or for your kids! My younger kids love looking through their own photo book and older children may love creating their own scrapbook with you or independently.
  • This soft Baby’s First Photo Book is perfect for toddlers and babies and keeps far away relatives close. 
  • Watercolor for Kids class — Emily is so kind and her watercolors are perfectly designed and tested with kids in mind. Add this watercolor paint set so your little artists are all ready to go!  
  • Happy Handles Stamps – These are great for little hands!
  • Craft subscription box! My kids love the Kiwi Crate ones! Get $10 Off Your First Month Subscription Using code SHARE10. 
  • In general I feel like coloring books, markers, paint sets, play dough, and any other “art consumables” are in need of refreshing by the time Christmas rolls around! I love to do these as stocking stuffers! 
  • Dress-up clothes — Fuel your kids imagination with a few well-chosen dress up items for imaginative play 
 

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Practical Gifts  

Don’t discount practical Christmas gifts that you will use everyday! 

toddler boy in red shirts holds green water bottle while walking in the woods

  • Water Bottles – Reusable, sanitary, and less dishes to wash. What’s not to love? These keep cold drinks nice and chill as well. Fill up with some fun coupons (see experiences below) and/or candy!
  • Homer App – This learning app is going to be your new best friend! Engaging games for toddlers through elementary school that help them learn letters, numbers, sounds, math skills, and more! I love using this app when I need to keep my kids brains and hands occupied (like when we’re waiting on food or I need to work for a bit) and I don’t want to turn to unwrapping toys on Youtube or watching Netflix. Get a free 30 day trial to test it out for yourself! two elementary age kids with blonde hair sit in a rocker playing with homer learning app
  • Snack Catchers – We’ve had these forever and are still using them to keep snacks contained!
  • Subscription to Netflix or Disney Plus. 
  • Stem subscription box from Kiwi Co! This is such a fun gift that keeps giving throughout the year! You can order just one box or a subscription! 
  • Cozy blankets – My mom got all of my kids a cozy fleece blanket for snuggling up and watching movies or reading books! This ultra soft one from Target is the one everyone wants! 
  • Sleeping bag — A fun gift to give and to include an extra coupon for a campout under the stars or in the living room! 
  • Alarm clock — My older daughter (9 years) has been asking for her own alarm clock to help her wake up and get started with her day. This is a cute one! 

RELATED: 40 CHRIST CENTERED EASTER ACTIVITIES FOR FAMILIES

Clothes Gift Ideas 

blonde girl in pink fluffy robe draws a picture

I love shopping for clothes for my kiddos and it seems like they are always growing so I am always shopping! Christmas is a great time to add some special and well thought out pieces to their wardrobes!

 

Books Gift Ideas

Oh the books I could list! I love shopping for new books for my kids and I want to carefully go through our bookshelves and make sure that I’m picking ones they will read over and over again!

little blonde boy in stripe shirt reads books at overflowing book shelf

  • Press Here — Amazing, interactive, beautiful colors!
  • The Jesus Storybook Bible — I read a story from this almost everyday and my kids never get enough! I love how it weaves Jesus into every single Bible story! I also read it as my daily devotional before Layla was born so not just for kids! The gift edition is gorgeous!
  • Sandra Boynton Board books — So many of our favorites are hers! This is a great collection perfect for babies or toddlers!
  • Dragons Love Tacos — We’ve checked this out so many times from the library it needs to come home permanently with us!
  • The Classics — Little House on the Prairie book set, Mark Twain combination book, and also this gorgeous set of favorite novels would look beautiful in my daughter’s room now and she’ll love to read them in the future!
 

RELATED: 25 JOYFUL CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS TO START THIS YEAR

The Best Christmas Experience Gifts for Kids 

Remember the quality time spent with your child is more important than the experience size itself! 

  • Movie Tickets — so simple but our kids LOVE going to our little local movie theater!
  • Concert Tickets — Last year a lot of friends did Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood concert or something similar! Such a fun gift!
  • Play tickets — think local civic children’s theater or high school productions!
  • Zoo membership — We love getting to go to the zoo as a family thanks to the gift of a zoo membership!
  • Tickets to museum (Indianapolis Children’s Museum) or science center (Science Central in Fort Wayne)!
  • Dance, karate, swim, yoga, horseback riding, cooking, art classes– these could also be something you teach them! 
  • A Gift card for their favorite ice cream place or restaurant! 
  • Little Passports Box — This subscription box has hands-on learning activities geared around your child’s age and interests! The space themed box was a big hit with our Star Wars and astronomy loving kids! These are also a great gift to save back and open on a cold winter day when everyone is going a little stir crazy! 1Preschool boy is excited and ready to begin building his little passports space box
  • Coupon book for 1-on-1 dates with mommy and daddy (or grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.), back rub, picking the movie, choosing an activity, etc. 
  • Circus tickets
  • Skiing, ice skating or tobogganing day
  • Roller skating trip
  • Bowling night
  • Amusement Park day pass 

RELATED: INEXPENSIVE CHRISTMAS ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS

Educational Gifts for Christmas

two little boys in pajamas help make christmas treat

Outdoors Gift Ideas 

Preschool age boy builds sand castle at the beach with brightly colored sand toys

  • Outdoor adventure kit — This kit includes a magnifying glass, backpack, flashlight, journal and more to help kids feel confident and have fun exploring the outdoors! 
  • Take Along Guide — Use for family walks to keep your kids engaged. 
  • Toddler sled or this top rated one for bigger kids!!
  • Sports Equipment — What sport does your child or grandchild play? Do they need a new baseball bat or soccer cleats? A new practice mat or leotard for gymnastics? 

Whether you, like us, choose a no-toy Christmas for your family or not, I hope these ideas get you thinking creatively about holiday gift giving for the children in your life!

What is one non-toy gift you are giving this Christmas?

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7 Comments

  1. Our youngest is a 12 year old boy we adopted from Africa. He has placed his own no toys restriction on himself. But he loves basketball. Since he was starved in Africa, he has always had a heart for people needing food. When I asked him what he wanted for Christmas,!he said he wanted $10 so he could buy a homeless person a meal. So I proposed that we make up lunch bags and distribute them downtown. He is thrilled !
    I wanted to buy him Pacers tickets so he and my husband could go to a game but my husband’s job was recently eliminated. We can’t possibly afford to do it! BUT someone at my work called me and said he had something for my son. When I got there, I was handed two tickets to a game and awesome seats!!
    God knew and provided through this nice person!

    1. Oh my word, BETH!!! What an amazing story!! God is so good and I just adore your sons generous heart! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  2. Great ideas, but all my grandkids have all these things too. Need other ideas they don’t have. Help!

    1. Check out the experience gifts (that are definitely repeatable!)! A “Yes Day” with Grandma would also be REALLY fun!

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