14 Non Toy​ Gift Ideas for Kids that Encourage Growth and Independence

People just don’t seem to get the minimalist concept of not always buying toys for kids. The truth is, there are so many more valuable, fun, life-changing things that a child can benefit from. Below is a list of non-toy gift ideas that you can get for that special kid in your life.

*This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures.

Memberships

In your area, you may have a local Science Museum, Children’s Museum or Zoo that you can buy family memberships for. Often times these memberships are just as affordable as two trips and easily pay for themselves. Not only do you have somewhere to go on a rainy day, but you have something the entire family can enjoy. Check your local Groupon for specials.  

Montessori Floor Bed

Montessori style learning is becoming more and more popular, so much so that people are starting to style their children’s rooms specifically to encourage early learners. One of the best features of these rooms are the types of beds that are often used. These beds are low to the floor to encourage independence but they are also absolutely adorable.

Camera

Letting the kids really take in the world around them is the best way for you to see through their eyes. This also allows them to great creative with the people and objects around them. It’s always fun to see what they choose to photograph or how they might be viewing the world a little bit differently.

Here are some of the best-rated cameras for kids.

Magazine Subscriptions

Now I know magazines can be a clutter-free home’s worst nightmare. But hear me out. Kids love getting stuff in the mail just for them. Plus, there are a ton of them that encourage learning. Magazines like National Geographic Kids are up to 90% off for students and educators! After you’re done with the magazine, you can work on cutting and pasting by making collages!

Instruments

Every parent’s dream, right? A house booming with instruments. Before you dismiss the idea, keep in mind all of the insane benefits a child stands to gain from playing a musical instrument. Plus, you won’t break the bank. Amazon has a ton of reasonably priced kid-sized instruments to start with.

Online music lessons…from a pro!

Yes, we live in the digital age and you may as well benefit from it! There is a great website called Masterclass that offers a huge range of online classes from the pros. Here are there best music lessons online:

Baking Kits

While I am all about buying a cheap box mix and letting my daughter create her own cupcakes, it’s also nice to have a little more pizzazz. Food Stirs is an awesome company that sends baking kits right to your door. Plus, they are entirely organic!

More baking kit ideas:

Local sporting events

What kid doesn’t love going out to the ballgame with a hat on their head and a hot dog in their hand? Groupon has deals all the time for local sporting events whether it’s professional or not.

Free/Cheap movie passes

So many theaters these days are starting to do free/cheap movie days (especially during summer months) for kids. The Krazy Coupon Lady has a brand new updated list of 18 theaters that participate for 2019!

Building Sets

Yes, this could technically fall into the “toy” category. But it’s so much more than that. Teaching children how to build models or work with their hands helps to improve their motor skills and gives them a great sense of accomplishment. Here are some great starter kits to try.

National Park Pass

If you have kids that love to run around outdoors, take advantage of the National Park Annual Pass. These passes are good at over 2,000 Federal recreation sites and are only $80. If you feel like there are enough National Parks in your area, this could be a great investment and an awesome way to spend more time outside.

Make a chalkboard wall

If you have a kiddo who loves to color, why not make their room a build in a coloring book? Chalk paint is super affordable and really easy to do (although it might take 3-4 coats).

Restaurant night

If you are a parent, this gift is especially special. Taking the time to spend a little “date day” with a special kid absolutely lights up their whole world. Maybe it’s pizza or ice cream or perhaps you can get all dressed up and go in style! Know your audience and deliver something that is sure to be memorable for them. Get $25 for $10 at Restaurant.com.

Staycation!

More than anything, the best gift you can give to a kid is the gift of your time. You can always browse Groupon for local hotels that are offering great discounts. Often times you can even score ones with an indoor water park. Even just taking one night away in a hotel room is enough to make a kid feel like royalty.

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These non-toy gift ideas for kids are genius and they work with such a wide variety of age groups! Get some ideas and see ways to save!

12 COMMENTS

  1. Melanie | 2nd Nov 17

    We do the Facebook photo-books a few times a year. So much fun to look back over my daughter’s year! Great ideas.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 2nd Nov 17

      I love that idea!

  2. | 2nd Nov 17

    These are such wonderful ideas! What a great post!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 3rd Nov 17

      Thank you so much! Have a great day!

  3. Shayne | 3rd Nov 17

    I’m not a mom yet, but I’m totally with you! These are awesome ideas for encouraging children to learn! Definitely going to use some of these ideas for one of my cousin’s birthdays! Thanks for putting together such a thoughtful list!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 3rd Nov 17

      So glad you liked them! I’m so glad my thinking has changed over the years. We used to spend so much money on toys that went un-played with!

  4. Antonia | The Midwest Wife | 4th Nov 17

    I love the idea of a chalk wall and the idea of a membership to the local zoo! These are such fun and unique ideas!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 4th Nov 17

      Both are so great! The chalk wall has been a huge hit with my kids and all their friends.

  5. Liz | 4th Nov 17

    Great ideas! I’m impressed.

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 4th Nov 17

      Thank you!

  6. Amy | 6th Nov 17

    Great gift ideas!

    • heartsoulwhole@gmail.com | 6th Nov 17

      Thanks so much! Have a great day!

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