Non-Toy Gift Guide: Meaningful Gifts For Making Memories
Create memories (not clutter!) with these unique, meaningful non-toy gift ideas for kids
Welcome! We’re thrilled you’ve found our Unrivaled Guide to Non-Toy Gifts For Kids Of All Ages. Not to toot our own horn or anything, but when it comes to presents that aren’t toys, this is the biggest, most extensive and foolproof gift guide on the Internet (toot toot).
All the gifts in this section of our Non-Toy Gift Guide focus on those that will create lasting memories for your child. We love giving an experience as a gift, because it’s essentially giving a child a beautiful memory for them to treasure for their whole life. How awesome is that?!
They probably won’t remember most of the toys they receive, but going to their first ball game with Grandpa, watching the Circus under the Big Top, looking down at the world from a hot air balloon, or dancing their way through a Taylor Swift concert is something that will stay with them forever. And that’s really what the spirit of gift-giving is all about.
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Bookmark, Print, and PIN this list so it’s always handy when a gift-giving occasion arises!
Our kids go wild over creative coupons that they can redeem for fun outings or special treats. These place the control and choices in their hands, which they love as they rarely get to call the shots.
(stick with us ’cause we’ve got a surprise for you at the end of this section that will make giving this gift a cinch!)
Coupon For A One-On-One Outing
Offer your child an outing to any place of their choosing. It could be going ice skating, bowling, or pottery painting, or a trip to the movie theatre, water park, inflatable park or trampolines.
Coupon Booklet Of Special Choices
Give them a whole stack of fun coupons that can be redeemed for choices they usually don’t get to make themselves like “movie night selection”, “what’s for dinner” and ” pick any 1 item at the grocery store for consumption after supper”. Or have them include special “treats” like staying up 1 hour past bedtime, having dessert after breakfast, or our favorite – having mom or dad complete one of their chores for them!
Coupon For Alone Time
Specify the specific activity like “baking cookies with mom”, “knitting lesson with grandma” or “a game of Horse with Dad”. Just make sure when it’s time to “cash” these in that you are able to give 100% of your attention to your child to make it as special as they imagine it will be.
Exclusive Printable Coupon Book!
At What Moms Love, we aim to make the lives of our busy moms easier. That’s why we’ve already created these coupons for you. Yep, the hard work is done, all you need to do is click, download and print.
This coupon book includes 12 fun coupons your kids will adore, plus blank templates that you can use to write in your own personalized ideas. And to make it even better, we’ve included birthday and holiday designs, so you can use these year-round!
To get the full scoop on the coupons click here, or simply let us know where to send the instant download and you’ll be on your way.
Where should we send your coupons?
We’ll send your awesome printable coupon book through cyber space and you’ll get the link to download instantly.
Gift cards are a lovely way to invite a child out on a “date”, and are particularly fun to visit:
Child’s Favorite Restaurant
Whether it’s McDonald’s or someplace a little fancier, a meal out with your child can be a great time to catch up and reconnect. You can combine this with #1 for a great one-on-one outing.
Did you know that you can purchase gift cards from Amazon?! Be sure to check out their incredible selection of restaurants — talk about easy!
Frozen Yogurt/Ice Cream Eatery
This ups the fun-factor even more, as what child doesn’t get excited for a build-your-own Frozen Yogurt cup with unlimited toppings!
Art Center/Paint Your Own Pottery
Kids love anything semi-messy, and grown-ups love the mess happening outside of their home. Total win-win!
These adventurous experiences are sure to be a big hit, and many are perfect for older tweens and teens who are “over” the kid-stuff.
- Train Ride (look for a special “Polar Express” themed journey around the Holidays!)
- Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Race Car Driving
- Zip Line/Obstacle Course Adventure
- Helicopter Ride
- Rock Climbing
- White Water Rafting
Book tickets or buy a one-time pass for these fun experiences and you’ll be thanked with plenty of “that was so cool”s.
- Concert Tickets (make sure it’s one of their favorite musicians or groups!)
- Tickets to see Disney on Ice, Sesame Street Live, Monster Truck Rally, or any live version of their favorite TV show
- Tickets to see their favorite Sports Team play
- Trip to the Movies /IMAX
- Dinner at Medieval Times
- Broadway Show/Musical/ Symphony Tickets
- Circus Tickets
- Laser Tag Pass
- Mini Golf/Driving Range Pass
- Trip to Arcade (try and purchase tokens ahead of time to wrap up!)
- Local Fair/Carnival Tickets
- Yoga Studio Pass
- Spa Day
- Teddy Bear Tea or Lunch with a Princess
This is one of our favorite grandparent gifts – a yearly membership to a fun museum or park in your area. Visit over and over again for the gift that (literally!) keeps on giving.
- Children’s Museum
- Science Museum
- Children’s Theatre
- Amusement Park
- Water Park
We’ve heard of a growing number of families who organize a large family trip in lieu of gifts at Christmas, especially with older kids who can immediately see the value in a warm getaway in the middle of winter! But you don’t have to go to that extreme – even smaller overnight adventures will offer lasting memories:
- Overnight at Nearby Hotel with Pool
- RV Trip (with fun kid-friendly stops en route)
- Camping Trip
- Beach Vacation
- Disney World, Lego Land, Sesame Place or any other Theme Park they’d get giddy over
This is one of our favorite categories, because giving a gift with meaning that can be passed down to your children’s children is just beyond words.
Give your child a special keepsake box where they can keep their most special memories and treasures, including their hospital bracelet, first lock of hair and first tooth. We recommend the beautifully handcrafted wooden baby keepsake boxes from Sophia Victoria Joy, (we’re especially fond of the rocket and word designs) which can be fully customized with your child’s information, and are available in a variety of different sizes. Or add a little color and whimsy to their room with this beautiful laser-cut design from Kerri Lee.
RELATED: For more personalized gift ideas, see our: Non-Toy Gift Guide — The Best Personalized Gifts for Babies & Kids
Christmas Tree Ornament
It’s a lovely tradition to present your child with a new ornament to put on the tree every year, particularly if you can find one that has special meaning for events that marked the past 12 months. Perhaps a Mickey Mouse ornament for a trip to Disney World, a car ornament for your child learning to drive, or a train or truck to signify their favorite toy. Hallmark has an enormous selection or search the handcrafted ones on Etsy for just the right one.
Look for a well-made box that can last them into their teenage years. We love the Abigail selection at Pottery Barn Kids which offers classic details like a turn-key closure and miniature ballerina which can be wound-up to “dance” to music from Swan Lake. So charming.
Special pieces like a locket with hidden photos, or a bracelet with personalized charms can really make this gift extremely unique and meaningful. “Wrap” the jewelry by placing it in an exquiste jewelry box, like the one above, for a gift they will never forget.
Hand-Knitted Sweater, Blanket or Scarf
We still have items our grandma knitted for us as a kid. We’re not sure we quite appreciated them at the time, but they are now cherished pieces that make up our family history. So if you have the knitting skills, be sure to put them to good use and make something special. Whether they wear it or not, they will love the love that you put into it, and that’s really all that matters.
Something Special To Pass Down
This could be anything you hold near and dear to your heart: a special piece of jewelry, a memory book of old photographs, or war medals from Grandpa. We suggest including a handwritten note with the item that details its background, that way its importance and history can be preserved.
Have you found the perfect gift idea yet? Don’t forget to check out the full collection of our incredible Non-Toy Gift Guides:
- Non-Toy Gifts For Learning & Expanding Horizons
- Non-Toy Gifts To Spark Creativity, Imagination & Special Interests
- Non-Toy Gifts That Are Practical (But Far From Boring)
- Non-Toy Gifts To Receive In The Mailbox
- The Best Board Games For Kids & Families (That Aren’t Candy Land or Monopoly)
- The Best Arts & Crafts Supplies & Gift Ideas for Kids — From Toddlers to Teens
- NEW! The Best Personalized Gifts For Babies & Kids
But wait, there’s more! If you love the idea of non-toy gifts, but still would like to give something that IS a toy, you’ll want to head over to The Ultimate TOY Gift Guide For Kids. We’ve given our top recommendations based on extensive testing for functionality, longevity and fun (all based on your child’s current obsession!)
- The Best Vehicle Toys For Car, Truck and Construction Junkies
- The Best Building Toys For Kids (From Blocks To Robots)
- The Best Gross Motor Indoor Toys For Active Kids (To Get That Energy Out!)
- The Very Best Babies, Dolls & Doll Accessories For All Ages & Stages
- The Best Doll Houses & Accessories For Your Doll-Obsessed Girl (or Boy!)
- The Best Princess-Themed Gifts For Your Little Princess
- The Best Gift Ideas For Super Hero & Star Wars Lovers
- 200+ Unique Stocking Stuffers For Babies To Teens (That Aren’t Junk!)
- NEW! Dedicated Gift Guide: The Best Fun Toys You’ll Actually Want Your Kids To Play With
And we’re always working on even more guides (coming soon: The Best STEM Gifts for Kids)
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What gift idea was your favorite? Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments below, and we may even add your idea to the list!