Does your house already look like a toy store and you dread birthdays and holidays because the toys just. keep. coming? Welcome to the holiday season, a time of year when the living room often resembles an amusement park with piles of toys as far as the eye can see. I decided to get creative with our gift-giving in an attempt to reclaim our home from the toy clutter while still giving our kids a magical holiday. If your child’s room is overflowing with stuffed animals, action figures, and board games from last year, it’s time to explore some unique gift ideas for kids of all ages. Whether you’re shopping for little kids or older children, let’s talk about unique gifts for kids with too many toys.
Even at our most stressed about the amount of toys in our home, I couldn’t make myself give our kids less for the holidays.
We are so lucky to be able to spoil them a little and the thought that they would notice we were giving them less than usual made me sad.
Over the years, I’ve become super skilled (if I do say so myself) at giving my kids gifts that make them feel like they’re having a toy-filled Christmas without adding much to our toy clutter.
I hope my secrets can help you reclaim your home AND your holidays!
Experience Gifts for All Ages:
From ice cream dates for little ones to thrilling amusement park visits for older kids, experience gifts are a great way to create lasting memories.
Consider a family membership to the local children’s or science museum, offering fun and educational outings throughout the year.
Plan a road trip to explore the wonders of the United States or venture into outer space with a visit to a planetarium.
An argument I always hear with this idea is that your child will have nothing to open.
I actually think this is a fun way to step outside the gift box and create an awesome gift any kid would like to open.
Say you’re giving your child a zoo membership.
Wrap up a small stuffed animal, a small pack of crayons, and an animal-themed coloring book.
The best way to avoid adding clutter to an already toy-cluttered house is to give only consumable things when possible.
Subscription Boxes and Magazine Subscriptions:
Kiwi Crate, Little Passports, and magazine subscriptions are perfect gifts for kids.
They have the added bonus of being educational without feeling like a chore.
We just ordered Mark Rober’s Crunchlabs box for our two oldest boys.
While this does add clutter, it’s educational and the gift that keeps on giving all year long.
There are dozens of monthly subscription boxes available with more coming on the market all the time.
Discover the joy of monthly surprises that cater to your child’s interests, from art supplies to science kits.
Musical Instruments and Artsy Endeavors:
Depending on the age of your child, an age appropriate digital camera might be a great gift.
If your child is like my 5 year old, art supplies will always be a winner.
Art supplies, craft boxes, and a membership to an art class can be a wonderful way to nurture creativity and fine motor skills.
Also consider something useful but still consumable like canvases, paint brushes, etc.
Non-Toy Gift Cards and Coupons:
Consider gift cards to their favorite restaurant or an ice cream shop.
For my niece’s graduation, we hot glued several $5-$10 gift cards to sticks and made a flower pot of gift cards.
It’s a creative way to give useful gifts that is more personal than just sticking a gift card in a card or envelope and calling it a day.
Another fun idea is to create a coupon book with fun activities like “One Family Movie Night” or “A Day at the Water Park” for a year of memorable moments.
Books are a timeless gift that can still be exciting.
We recently purchased our oldest son an entire library of Bear Grylls survival books.
He loves the outdoors and I know he’ll love to thumb through them.
For older children, select books that spark their curiosity, aiding in brain development and expanding their knowledge.
For younger children, I Spy books are great as are books that have some unique feature.
Think pop up scenes or musical buttons.
We are a very outdoorsy family and we prefer any day outside to even the best day spent indoors.
For our kids, sports equipment, camping gear, or a comfy sleeping bag are always a good idea.
Bonus points if you couple this with one of the other gift ideas, like a coupon in your coupon book for “one family camping trip” or “one trip to the local pool.”
Educational Trips and Memberships:
We homeschool, so I’m always looking for educational value in anything we pour our hard-earned money into.
For us, this looks like zoos, museums, local spots like a reservation and artifact spot.
We really love historical sites and have natural springs close to our house.
We buy memberships to places that require it annually, and these all come up for renewal around the holidays.
Our kids have come to expect some kind of membership that they know we’ll be using a ton of.
Another huge hit in our house has been our membership to our local trampoline park.
The ones near us are called either Defy or Skyzone and we have gotten more than our monies worth with our family pass.
Dress-Up and Pretend Play:
Dress-up clothes are such a great gift for kids and can set their imaginations in a million different directions.
If you are able to plan ahead, after Halloween sales are an amazing time to shop for these.
We have also found brand new costumes at our local thrift stores and Once Upon a Child.
Encourage pretend play with toys that mimic real-life scenarios, such as a play kitchen or a miniature road trip set.
Melissa and Doug have great career costumes.
We own the Fireman one and it has now held up to 4 of our children.
This holiday season, consider stepping away from the endless piles of toys and explore different ways to celebrate your child. The best non-toy gifts foster their development, promote quality time with family, and create wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. So, whether you’re shopping for a little girl or a ten-year-old, there’s a perfect non-toy gift waiting to make their Christmas morning extra special. These great ideas are a wonderful way to strike a balance between screen time and quality time spent with their imagination.