If your house is anything like mine you’re suffering from toy overload! I’ve been trying to think of non-toy gifts for my children, so I thought I’d share my ideas with you.
There are really very few toys that are good candidates for recycling. One of the things that separates plastic toys from other plastic objects is that they’re essentially destined for the landfill. – Brent Bell, vice president of recycling at Waste Management.
Are you thinking? If it’s not a toy my child won’t be excited about it.
My children love a treasure hunt, so to make any present more exciting you could give them clues to follow to find it. For my youngest we use picture based clues to follow, e.g. a picture of the sofa, then a picture of a bed.
Research also shows that experiential gifts are more meaningful to people than things
as they create a stronger bond between the giver and the recipient. As all parents will know, despite their child being desperate for a particular toy the fascination often fades rapidly once they’ve received it. Psychologists call this ‘hedonic adaptation’ in other words your child gets used to having the toy. Whereas they’ll cherish the memory
of shaking a snow storm with a Squidgydoodle Winter Wonderland craft box, or going to the theatre with you for much longer.
14 non-toy gifts:
I’ve included a mixture of experiential gifts, practical gifts that will allow you to create your own experiences, or will last for longer than a toy and personalised gifts that will spark memories.
1. Tickets to an event
I took my daughters to the Unicorn theatre
during half term. It’s a lovely little children’s theatre, so you don’t spend the performance worrying about the kids being noisy, not sitting still, not being able to see etc. It’s a short walk from London Bridge, so we caught the train, which added to the sense of adventure for the children. If you don’t want to go into London check out Wycombe Swan
, or Cornerstone
It doesn’t have to be the theatre, it could be bowling, swimming, cinema, ice skating, roller skating, LittleBird
have discount deals for family days out. They will remember the experience for a long time afterwards.
2. Travel accessories
One of my youngest daughter’s favourite non-toy gifts is a rucksack that a friend bought her for nursery. My eldest has a rucksack/car seat that comes on holiday with us. Or how about a car pillow, or suitcase? Your child will use it again and again. I have a rucksack of my own which has travelled the world with me. It’s become linked to the memories of the places we’ve been.
3. Something creative
As you would expect from me, I often buy craft activities as gifts! I love watching my children make things. I love the delight on their faces when they’ve used their imagination
to create something or their sense of achievement
when they’ve worked out how to make something work. There are loads of creative gifts on the market. You could buy a Squidgydoodle Craft Box
. It includes 4 art activities, plus everything you need to complete the activities. Or how about a recipe book and an apron, or children’s cooking utensils? Or a science kit?
4. A calendar/diary
A calendar/diary is a great way to give kids a sense of time. My daughters have a fabric calendar where they can change the date, weather, season etc. We bought it when they were learning their days of the week. You could make a calendar, with photos from the year to spark their memories. Children often love knowing what’s happening each day, so they can add in After school classes, Birthdays etc
5. Vouchers for time with the family
One thing we never have enough of is time. This is a free present, but I know it would mean a lot to my kids to know that they’ve got a voucher they can use for some time with me, my partner, or their grandparents. E.g. ‘Making cakes with mum’
6. A class or a term of lessons
How about a pottery class, sports, musical instrument etc? You could wrap up something that relates to the class that they have to open. e.g. ballet clothes, a football etc.
7. Gardening tools
You can get some great children’s gardening tools, or you could get a bug viewer, bird, or insect house. There are lots of benefits to gardening with kids e.g. getting them active, fresh air, building their immune systems by getting dirty, developing muscles and co-ordination, learning to care for the environment around them and inspiring them to eat more vegetables!
8. Umbrella, hat, gloves, scarf
There are some adorable hats, gloves and scarfs that you can buy. My kids have a cute animal umbrellas! I hate being cold, but love going on family walks, particularly because it helps us to sleep better and all parents need more sleep!
You can never have too many books! I’m a big fan of encouraging children’s imaginations and reading is proven to do just that. It stimulates the right side of your brain, opening your mind to new ideas.
If your child likes reading you might like my blog post about how to use art and sensory activities within storytelling
Inspire some dancing and singing. Why not buy a music player, a karaoke machine, or some music?
11. Magazine subscription
There are some great kids magazines out now, for example Whizz, Pop, Bang
is good if your kids like science experiments
(for younger ones) are great creative magazines
. My children would love to regularly get something in the post addressed to them.
12. Bath stuff
Make bath time even more fun. Imagine having a bath full of slime which magically turns back to water, or being able to draw on the walls with bath crayons, or change the colour of the water with bath tints.
13. Piggy bank
How about a piggy bank, to help your child save money? You could buy one that they decorate themselves to make it even more special. There are lots out there to buy, or if you prefer, why not go to a pottery painting place and decorate one there.
14. Dressing up items e.g. hat, fan, feather boa
My two love dressing up. You don’t need to buy expensive dressing up clothes though. At my parents house they have hats and old jewellery to wear. You could also buy feather boas, fans etc. which you could always get at a charity shop.
I hope you like my non-toy gifts. Do you have any ideas to share? If so, let me know by commenting below.