10 Toddler Gift Ideas (That Aren’t Toys)

The holiday season is, as the song says, the most wonderful time of the year. The only thing that makes the season more magical is seeing it through the eyes of a child. They light up with joy when they take it all in, and pass that joy onto everyone around them. Every parent wants their child(ren) to experience pure happiness on Christmas morning when they open their gifts. But we also don’t want to have a house full of toys that get forgotten after a week (if not less). Little M gets spoiled with toys by his grandparents whether it’s his birthday, a holiday, or just because. We have a toy rotation because of how many toys he has, and it would be great not to add any toys to that rotation. So this year we’ve asked that M’s gifts not be toys. Here are some toddler gift ideas that are not toys!

Gift ideas for toddlers

Also read: Toys for Toddlers

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1. Books

Books are my favorite gift for little M because I feel that they can be used for years and years. We always read to M before naptime and bedtime, and he’ll often ask for storytime throughout the day. It’s our special way of bonding, and the fact that it helps his brain development is a bonus. M enjoys stories, but he’s also been getting into educational books that teach him the alphabet, counting, etc..

2. Puzzles

Puzzles are a great quiet time activity and can provide entertainment for a few minutes to a few hours, depending on the little one’s age and attention span. Little M is still learning how puzzles work, and so far is only mastering the peg puzzles, but also trying and learning how to work the Match It puzzles. Soon we’ll move on to more complicated ones.

3. Play-doh or clay

This one can get messy with younger kiddos, but it can be so much fun for them. They get to be creative and use their imagination while playing with this, which is always awesome. Just make sure they don’t try to eat any of their creations (Little M made a few taste test attempts the first time)!

4. Watercolor set or other art supplies

Another gift that allows and inspires creativity and imagination, which is always a win in my book! M can spend hours with some paints and a brush. You might want to keep an eye on them though, so they don’t go and repaint your walls or something. I sit M in his high chair if I have to do dishes or get dinner ready, that way he can paint to his heart’s content while being contained.

5. Teepee/tent

There are a ton of cute options, so this could also be a decor piece in your child’s room or playroom.  M has a teepee that his dad made him for his first birthday, as well as a little pop-up tent/house from IKEA. Sometimes he climbs in and out of them, playing, and sometimes he just chills in there, reading his books and whatnot.

6.Bike or scooter

Almost all children adore outdoor play, so outdoor “toys” or equipment are great gift options. These are also great regardless of age because there are so many bikes/trikes and scooters that grow with your child. M has a trike (thanks, Grandma!) that has a parent steering push handle which can be removed once he learns how to ride it by himself. Another cool option is a balance bike, which helps kids learn to balance before introducing pedals. There are also convertible scooters that have a sitting option for smaller kids.

7. Personal Chair

This is totally just my opinion, but I think kiddos appreciate it when something is their size. Have you seen a kid struggle to climb onto a couch or a chair? What a workout! A personal chair gives them a nice easy place to sit and have their quiet time. M loves to relax on his little glider,  it’s his favorite reading spot, aside from my lap.

8. Everyday clothes/shoes

Now I know that this might not be a child’s favorite thing to open, but it’s definitely practical. Kids go through so many clothes! Little M goes through at least a couple outfit changes a day. You may not be aware of this, but kids are MESSY! Shocker, right? And you know what grows just as fast as that pile of laundry? Kids! They grow out of clothes at a crazy rate. And for birthdays and holidays, people like to gift fancy dressy stuff. Now I’m not complaining, all of those button ups and little suits are adorable, but my kid hates wearing them! And even if he didn’t, the most he can wear them is once a week for church, and an occasional wedding/event. So regular clothes are MUCH appreciated!

9. Experiences

Memberships or tickets for the local zoo/aquarium, museum passes, amusement park tickets, lessons or classes, movie tickets. These gifts won’t be lost in the clutter, and instead will be cherished forever as memories. Anytime the little one goes to the zoo or to karate class, they will be reminded of the awesome person that gave them that experience!

10. Subscriptions to magazines, books, or activity boxes

It is so fun to receive mail! I’m sure little ones would agree. I’m signed up for a couple subscription boxes, and it feels like my birthday every month when those packages arrive. Imagine a child’s excitement when they receive a package or even a magazine. Plus there are so many fun and educational boxes and magazines for kids to enjoy. We’ve only tried one subscription so far for books called the Story Box, and M really enjoyed it! Search Instagram for #kidssubscriptionbox for some cool options.

That’s all for now, but the possibilities are endless! It’s definitely possible to give a child a great gift without any toys, and chances are that they will enjoy that gift more than the toys they receive. Remember to teach your little ones what Christmas is truly about; love, family, and the wonderful gift that is Jesus. Merry Christmas and happy gifting!

What was your favorite non-toy gift as a child?

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