We love buying gifts for our kids!  I remember showering Cole with gifts before he was even born.  But then something happens…their toy boxes, closets, drawers, and our living rooms are COVERED in toys that they actually don’t even play with.

These toys seem like a great idea at the time, but they quickly forget about them.  Since our family has become more of a minimalist household, I am trying to become more mindful about what I buy for my kids and what will actually entertain them for more than five minutes.  Here is my list and please comment if you have more non-toy gift ideas for kids and I will add them to the list!



Why gift an experience?  When I look back on my childhood or teen years, I barely remember the toys that I had but I remember going to Six Flags with my family, hearing Martina McBride in concert, and seeing Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in New York.  Experiences are so memorable to a  child and they don’t clutter your house with toys.  Win Win!  🙂

Here are some ideas for gifting an experience:

Swim Lessons

Tickets to an Amusement Park for the Day or a Season Pass

Tickets to a Broadway Play or a Kid Show like Disney on Ice

Guitar Lessons or Other Music Lesson

Tickets to a Professional Sporting Event

Horseback Riding Experience

Membership to the Zoo

Tickets to a Children’s Museum

a Day at the Spa for a Teenager

Dance Classes

Drawing Lessons

Tickets to a Concert

Manicure or Pedicure

**Don’t forget to check Groupon for special experiences that are unique to your town.


-Gift Cards-

I know that some people think gift cards are the easy way out but, especially when it comes to teenagers, it’s your best option.  Everyone loves money to their favorite places so find out what they love, and just get the gift card.  My son LOVES to go out and spend his Sonic or Cracker Barrel gift card and we usually text a picture of him to whoever gave him the gift card so they can see him enjoying it too.

Here are some gift card ideas:

Restaurants or Ice Cream

Movie Theaters


Amusement Park



Mini Golf


Trampoline Park


50 Gift Ideas for Kids that Aren't Toys: Experiences, Subscriptions, and Other Easy Ideas Kids and Teens Will LOVE from the Child at Heart Blog


We all love getting mail but kids REALLY love it.  Cole asks me every single day if anyone sent him anything!  🙂  Some of these ideas are for subscriptions where they will actually receive something in the mail and others are online memberships to some great sites.

Ideas for Subscriptions:

Little Passports:  We just subscribed to their World Edition subscription and your child gets to “travel” to a different country every month and explore with a book, craft, recipe, etc.  Cole was VERY excited about this because he loves getting mail.  You can Sign up HERE>>

Ranger Rick Magazine:   My son got this magazine for several years and was always very excited when it came in the mail.  It shares fun facts about animals, has great pictures, and would also be great for school projects or reports.

BrainPop Videos:  When I was a Kindergarten teacher, I used this website every day and every time a video started, my kids would cheer and then get really quiet to listen.  They are educational but they are also silly too.  I HIGHLY recommend this for summer break.

ABC Mouse:  I am sure you have seen their commercials on TV and they offer a free trial so you can’t go wrong.

National Geographic Magazine (Deal on Groupon)One of my friends told me about this gift idea and deal and if you purchase this magazine on Groupon it is over 70% off the original price.  I am going to do this for my kids when they get a little bit older.


I feel like games are a little bit different than a toy.  We have games that we have played over and over again for years and still love.  There are so many benefits to playing board games like learning how to win, lose, and skills like counting.  They are also a great way to build some great family memories!

Here are some of our family favorites:

Chicken Foot Dominoes:  We play this at least once a week and Cole LOVES it.  It really made him a better counter and it’s pretty easy to learn.

Pete the Cat:  This is a great game for Pre-K kids and it doesn’t require knowing how to read so it’s very easy to learn.

Rummikub:  This is easily me and my husband’s favorite game and would be great for about 4th grade and up.  We play it all the time on trips with family and it never gets old.

Uno:  My son wants to play this card game all of the time and it’s great for kids just learning their numbers!

Hedbanz:  Every kid in our family wants to play this over and over.  We have the Disney version but there is the original, Superhero Edition, and more.

-Art Supplies-

Why art supplies?  My son loves to draw and there are so many fun craft supplies that you can buy a kid for at home, in church, or in the car.  You can get them special markers, a big pad of paper, or fun new watercolors.

Here are 2 of my favorites:

Rainbow Name CrayonsI saw this Etsy shop the other day and I think any kid would love their name as a crayon!

Artline Stix Markers:  I use these for lettering sometimes but my son wanted them because of how they link together like Legos.

Other Non-Toy Gift Ideas:

Amazon Echo Dot for a Teen

A Photo Album made with Shutterfly of their Family or an Special Occasion

Coke Tractor

Backpacks for School or Travel

Sleeping Bag

A Digital Camera for a Younger Kid or Instax Camera for a Teenager

A Portable DVD Player for the Car

Basketball Goal

Digital Watch


an MP3 Music Player with Itunes Gift Card

New Basketball or Other Sports Equipment they Need


a Plant for their Room


a new Kid’s Cup

a Clock (that helps mom and dad sleep in)

DIY Coupon Book for “Get out of chores” or “Go get ice cream” cards

If all else fails, cash 🙂

Please pin this for later for Christmas Gift Ideas and Birthday Ideas for years to come!


If you have an idea that you didn’t see here, please comment below and I’ll add your great ideas to the list!