Gift Guide

best non-toy gift ideas and gifts for kids that they'll actually love
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30 Great Non-Toy Gift Ideas For Kids

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Choosing the perfect gift for your child, or a kid you love, can be a challenge — not only are there infinite toy options out there, but you may not know what a family already owns, or if what you pick will ever make it out of the bottom of the toy box. That’s where non-toy gift ideas for kids come in: opting to give an experience, activity, or useful item ensures your present makes an impact.

Non-toy gift ideas for kids

Toys are sort of the default present idea for kids, so if you’re wondering where to start with shopping for non-toy gifts, consider purchasing:

  • Tickets to the zoo, aquarium, a movie, or a museum
  • Art supplies like washable paints, outdoor chalk, markers, pipe cleaners, and more
  • A subscription box focused on a hobby or theme they enjoy
  • Clothes or shoes
  • Access to a streaming service for the movies and shows they like
  • Books
  • Decorative items they would love to display in their room
  • Personalized pieces, from jewelry to blankets

Parents will also appreciate that non-toy gifts mean less clutter around the house or storage solutions they have to dream up. And the quality time spent with children crafting or exploring somewhere new can mean so much more than another ball, truck, or stuffed animal ever could.

1

A custom hoodie that’s too cool for school

The personalized Kids Pullover Hoodie by Supermix is kind of the coolest piece of clothing ever — it comes in six different colors and can be customized to a kid’s heart’s content. They can pick and place patches in the shape of letters, numbers, foods, animals, and empowering phrases to design the look that perfectly captures who they are. If they prefer a zip-up jacket, those are available too, as are sweatpants, backpacks — in fact, they have customizable options in baby and adult sizes too. Use code ROMPER20 (expires 1/1/23) for 20% off all products, including gift cards.

2

An adorable night light

Upgrade your kid’s boring plug-in-style night light with a wireless little mushroom friend who brightens up their nightstand. The Smoko Food Light from Urban Outfitters requires three AAA batteries. It’s also available in dumpling, boba tea, and potato shapes, if your child happens to prefer one of those foods.

3

A wooden craft to paint as they please

It’s like one of those paint your own pottery studios, but right at home. The Mondo Llama Freestanding Wood Rainbow is the perfect gift for kids who love to paint, but are bored with plain old paper as their canvas. Put it in a gift bag with a new set of paints and brushes to delight any aspiring artist.

4

Coloring books for activities on the go

While you’re upgrading your child’s art supply selection, consider throwing some cool new coloring books into the mix. This Playful Patterns Coloring Book is suited for kids between 7 and 12 years old, and it’s a convenient size for carrying into restaurants if they need an activity while waiting for dinner.

5

An on-trend beanie for chilly days

Families in cold climates know the importance of a warm hat in the winter, but your kid has to actually want to wear it for it to work. This checkered Cat & Jack Cuffed Knitted Beanie rocks one of the year’s most popular patterns, and colors are muted enough to match anything.

6

A nostalgic bead pet set you can make together

Millennial parents, do you remember making these? Share the fun of this classic craft with your kids and make some Made By Me Create Your Own Bead Pets together.

As one Amazon reviewer wrote, “This was easy for my 9 year old to follow the instructions and make the various keychains. We lost the instructions after the first play and very easily found other instructions online since these designs have been around forever. It’s nice to be able to free play and have other animals to choose from online too.”

7

Hair chalk for dress-up and fun events

If your little one loves clips, bows, or headbands, hair chalk will definitely make their day. To use the Desire Deluxe Hair Chalk, dampen the hair and swipe on the colors of your child’s choice. Once dry, it should become even more vibrant. Some reviewers say it lingered a day or two on children with light hair, but others say with plenty of shampoo, it came out on the first wash.

8

A neon crossbody bag

All the cool Tik Tok creators have them, so of course your kid wants one too. These belt-style bags are all the rage, but the hot pink sherpa material and embroidered smiling heart on the Cat & Jack™ Girls' Sherpa Smiley Crossbody Bag keep it from feeling too grown up. It’s the perfect place to stash their things while running weekend errands with the parents.

9

A tie-dye kit to make shirts together

T-shirts, hoodies, bed sheets — oh, all the wonderful things you can tie-dye. If the child you’re buying for loves arts and crafts, a gift like the Tulip One-Step Tie-Dye Kit will blow their mind. Together, you can make matching shirts, or even dye old clothes to show your child the art of upcycling.

10

Faux fur mittens they’ll actually want to wear

Mittens don’t sound like a fun non-toy gift idea for kids, but perhaps you’ve been looking at the wrong mittens. These Kids' Faux Fur Mittens from Verloop look like Muppet hands in the absolute best way, and the neon fuzz is fun enough to inspire kids to keep them on through the colder months. They also come in pink and blue.

11

A new release book for kids who love reading

Know a kid who is constantly reading? Gift them a highly acclaimed, newly released book you think they’ll love. Thirst by Varsha Bajaj debuted in July 2022 and has since become a bestseller. It focuses on Minni, who lives in poverty in Mumbai, where access to water only comes from a few taps. But soon, she finds out where the wealthy are using water in luxurious ways, and she has to decide whether to expose them and risk her life. This book is best for kids between the ages of 10 and 12.

12

A literary matching game

Speaking of literary presents, if you love all things Jane Austen and your kid loves board games, then Matchmaking: The Jane Austen Memory Game is sort of like a gift for you both. Learn the dreamy couples from Austen’s novels and remember where they are around the table to match them and win.

13

The coolest personalized blanket

This design?! Baublebar really outdid themselves with the look of their Child’s Play Kids’ Blankets, which come in 25 different patterns, each with multiple color choices. Customize them with a first initial or entire first name. Each throw is made with super soft yard, is machine washable, and resistant to runs, shrinking, and fading.

14

A blank sketchbook for all their ideas

Does your little one love Studio Ghibli? Even if they just like cute critters (Totoro kind of looks like a Squishmallow), this My Neighbor Totoro Sketchbook from Chronicle Books will give them plenty of room to draw their own imaginary friends. The lay-flat design makes it easy to write or sketch inside, and the 7x9 size makes it easy to carry on the go.

15

Bedding they get to choose

One of the best things about getting older as a kid is having some say in how you want your room to look. Let your kid pick out a new comforter or bedding set so they can decorate their space however they choose. The BUSENKEL Duvet Cover and Pillowcase from IKEA have a vibrant, illustrated balloon print perfect for adding a bit of whimsy to your child’s room.

16

A fully loaded craft set

The Mondo Llama Rad Rainbow Craft Case is what creative kids’ dreams are made of. It includes a rainbow colored array of pom poms, pipe cleaners, foam sheets, beads, stickers and more. It also comes with essential supplies like glue, scissors, and markers. Parents will love that the box neatly separates each item and closes securely to store.

17

An easel for your junior Picasso

For kids who have their craft kits fully stocked and need a bigger space to express themselves, consider an easel, like the MÅLA Easel from IKEA. It has both a whiteboard and chalkboard side with removable trays to catch supplies, and an attached dowel to hang a roll of drawing paper. It stands 44 inches high but is easy to reach for small children, too.

18

A sparkly headphone and smartwatch set

Is your young child always wanting to snag your smart watch and play, it may be tine to get them their own. The PlayZoom 2 Kids Smartwatch & Headphones teaches kids how to tell time, lets them set alarms, and is loaded with educational games. The headphones come in lots of designs, from camo and to sparkly cat ears and beyond. Bonus: the headphones plug into anything with an AUX jack.

19

A baking and decorating set for budding chefs

Do you have a baby baker on your hands? The Unicorn Cookie Baking Set from Uncommon Goods, or a similar kit you make yourself, would be the perfect non-toy gift idea for kids who love the kitchen. This set includes a lightweight rolling pin, cookie cutters, piping bag with two tips, and the adorable unicorn apron and oven mitts.

20

Plates and utensils that make food fun

If your kid just can’t sit still during meal time or has trouble trying new foods, maybe a playful plate and utensil set could make meal times more appealing? The Construction Plate & Utensils from Uncommon Goods lets little builders scoop and spread their food around. Maybe a little messiness is worth it if it gets them to stay at the table, right?

21

A kid-sized suitcase

Want to help your little one travel the world while caring for the world? The Logan Suitcase from STATE Bags is made from 45% recycled materials. It’s sized for children around ages 6 to 10, and includes helpful features like organizational slip pockets, a side strap for a water bottle or stuffed animal friend, and a mesh pocket to keep dirty clothes separate from the rest. It’s available in 11 cool colorways to boot, and available in a mini size for 3- to 5-year-olds.

22

A box set of their favorite book series

Is your kid as obsessed with all things Harry Potter as you were back in the day? They’ll never know the adrenaline rush of waiting in line for the latest wizarding world release, but you can come close to the same rush by gifting them the Harry Potter: The Complete Series Boxed Set by J. K. Rowling. Even if the child you love hasn’t gotten into these stories just yet, maybe by reading them together, you can create a new shared interest.

23

A dress-up set that encourages creativity

Children have the biggest imaginations, and playing dress-up is the perfect way to practice using them. This Star King/Queen dress-up set from Sarah’s Silks is gender-neutral and come in a number of beautiful designs. It’s made with 100% pure mulberry silk, which breaks down easily in soil to minimize future waste. Oh, and they’re delightfully soft.

24

A monthly magazine subscription

Remember the fun of getting a Highlights magazine in the mail as a kid, or a Seventeen issue in middle school? Well, a 1-year subscription to Anorak Magazine doesn’t have any quizzes about your skin type; it’s designed to help kids age 6 and older tap into their creative side and learn about a new theme each month. Past issues topics like insects, daredevils, writing, and fear. You can also shop by issue, if a previous ‘zine looks like it would interest your child.

25

Extra cute (and comfy) pajamas

There’s always room in the dresser for a luxe pajama set, even if you’re 10. This Children's Forest Green Flannel Pajama Set by Petite Plume is perfect for matching holiday pajamas for the family, or as a non-toy gift any of time year. The flannel material is made with yarn-dyed cotton and brushed to make it ultra-soft. And they just so happen to get softer with every wash.

26

A cute and cozy beanbag chair

Does your kid like gaming or chilling on the couch for movie nights? If you think they’d like having their own special spot, Target’s Pillowfort Shark Bean Bag Chair is an adorable option for kid-friendly furniture. There are also solid colors, prints and patterns, and other animal designs (the pink koala is especially cute) to match any interior.

27

A canopy for their bed or play area

The HearthSong Rainbow Hideaway Canopy with LED Lights should be required in every kid’s bedroom, playroom, or reading nook. The vibrant colors and fluffy cloud topper will make your child’s room feel like a real life fantasy land, especially at night, when the cozy LED lights illuminate their bedtime story.

28

A jacket you’ll wish came in your size

At the rate kids grow, if you’re buying for a child not your own, the gift of a winter coat is kind of like a present for the parents too. It’s an essential you can upgrade, and something Mom or Dad needs to buy that’s now checked off the list. This Blush Shearling Jacket from Sunday Collective is sustainably produced, machine washable, and the perfect mix of cozy and fashionable.

29

A watch so cool you’ll want one too

If your big kid has been asking for a watch, this Blok 33 option has some kid-friendly features they’ll love (and you will too). The strap is fully adjustable and made with recycled plastic bottles. The watch is scratch-proof, waterproof up to 100 meters, and includes visual time blocks on the face to help kids learn time management early.

30

A tablet of their very own

Want to go big with your non-toy gift? There’s always the Fire HD 10-inch Kids tablet from Amazon. It comes with one free year of Amazon Kids+ and a kid-proof case, and with a 4.7-star rating and more than 17,000 reviews, it’s a clear winner amongst kids’ tablets. If you’re not the parent of the child you’re buying for, just make sure you clear it with them first, since everyone feels differently about screen time.

What are you planning to give the kids you love? Just like adults, some kids will appreciate the gift of experiences or useful items more than another toy.