Non-toy gifts for kids, you say? Is it possible for boys?
I don’t know about you, but I’ve about had it with toys.
Every year before Christmas we seem to start going through toys and I am always dumbfounded by all the toys they have.
Not only that, but all the GREAT toys they have, but yet never get played with.
Or are just forgotten about… because there’s never enough room to have them out all the time.
This year I’ve been thinking outside the box and finding non-toy gifts for my boys and even my nephews. Because even though my kids will always want another Hot Wheel or Front-End Loader. How many do they really need? I mean, really?
I have three boys, so I’m thinking of non-toy gifts for kids, but I do have only boys, so these may be a little biased. And just to put it out there, my boys are 7, 5 and 3 right now. So gift guide of ideas that are not toys are perfect for kids in the 3 to 7 year old age range.
These presents really do make the best, most meaningful gifts for kids.
20+ Non-Toy Gift Guide for Kids, Especially Boys
This list contains affiliate links to help you find non-toy gifts for kids that also help support Hands On As We Grow at the same time.
Practical (and fun!) Gifts for Kids
These gifts are definitely not toys and are more on the useful side. Kids may tend to not think they’re the most fun gift to receive, so when you go this route, so with something special.
Make it their favorite character, or favorite color, or something fun about it that’s not the usual.
These have been exceptional ideas of non-toy gifts for my boys.
- Wallet. My kids hoard their birthday and Christmas money. And they get super excited to take it shopping to pick out the very perfect toy (usually a Lego set). But I hate seeing them flailing their money in their hands as we walk through the store. My oldest got a wallet a couple years ago and he feels very grown up with it (and man, he looks so responsible too!) I personally like the plain wallets the best. But if you like characters, there’s tons of options out there!
- Piggy Bank. If your boys don’t have a piggy bank yet, they need one! Even in addition to the wallet. The sound of the change going in is priceless. My boys have my old piggy bank from when I was a kid (old, sturdy metal), a classic metal piggy bank with their name engraved on it, and a ceramic piggy bank that my sister-in-law painted herself and had fired in a kiln (many art centers can do this for you). You can even find the metal ones in shapes your boy might be interested in, such as a train, dinosaur, or just a pig!
- Book Light. Anything to make reading super fun, right? My kids all have lamps next to their beds, but for some reason, a book light is just so much more fun! And my kids are Lego fans, so why not a Lego Book Light? They come in Lego colors!
- Posters or Signs. I know my kids are super proud to hang something on display in their rooms. It’s their territory, their domain, and their posters and signs show who they are. Get a poster of a favorite movie, such as The Lego Movie, or find something they’re super interested in. Signs are an awesome, more permanent decoration. I love vintage metal (tin) signs for the boys (football player, tractor, train station).
- Sleeping Bag. Even if you’re not a camper, sleeping bags are special thing for kids. Our kids use them in forts all the time. They make it their own special outing. And they’re also great for having a sleepover, even if its in their brother’s room! (Again, you can find character sleeping bags like crazy, we like classic things that they won’t outgrow and opted for these Coleman sleeping bags and have been super happy with them.)
- Fun Socks and Underwear. Okay, okay, what kid wants underwear? But they’re needed! Just make it fun! You can get socks and underwear with characters that they’re interested in (I’m okay with it in this case since they wear out or outgrow them, its just when they’re more permanent items that I don’t like characters). Or find some fun ones they will love to wear, such as these dragon socks, car socks, or just cool-looking sport socks! Same thing with underwear, my boys are actually fans of the boxer brief! Bright colored boxer-briefs, superhero boxer briefs, camoflage boxer briefs.
- Very Cool Nightlight. My middle son has had the most awesome truck nightlight for a couple of years now. And the other boys just have the standard nightlights, with absolutely no character to them whatsoever! Its time to upgrade! More along the same lines, there’s lots the boys will love, a dinosaur night light, robot night light, or even a cute monster night light!
- Flashlight. Every single year. This is a non-toy gift that the boys could never, ever (ever) get enough of! Why are flashlights so much fun anyway? We like the simple, little flashlights best. But, better than those, if you want to really treat them special, get them headlamps!
Inspire Kids Creativity and Discovery without Toys
These are the gifts that keep on creating more and more fun! They’re meaningful and the best to create more memories in the upcoming months.
To add to these presents, tack on a coupon to them with a date to spend time with the kids creating these together!
- Paper Planes Kit. My kids have never gotten into making paper airplanes yet. I found this super awesome paper planes kit that comes with cute paper and directions to make so many different kinds of planes. Over Thanksgiving break, their cousins taught them how to fold a paper plane, and now this will be perfect!
- Puzzles or Games. On my boys’ Christmas lists are puzzles. My 7 year old can do 500 and 1000 piece puzzles (Tractor Puzzle). Where my 5 year old is doing 100 piece puzzles (Robot Puzzle). My 3 year old is doing 24 piece puzzles (Dinosaur Puzzle). I also am looking into classic games for my kids. I found an old-school Simon game for my oldest that I’m super excited about!
- Digital Camera. While phones and tablets are taking the place of simple point and shoot cameras, it won’t hurt them to learn how to use a camera!
- Magazine Subscription. My kids get super excited when they get mail! The Lego Club offers a free subscription to their magazine. Highlights and Ranger Rick are other paid subscriptions.
- Art & Craft Supplies. Yes, oh my gosh, boys love to get creative too! You can simply make your own homemade activity box with our must-have supply list. Or get a subscription activity box, either a one time box or monthly! We love Green Kid Crafts! I just ordered the Volcanoes, Detective Science and Kitchen Science Discover Boxes to have at Grandma’s house over the holidays.
- Real Toolbox and Tools. One of my oldest’s favorite gifts he’s ever gotten is a real toolbox with real tools just like dad. The trick is to get the real deal, just find smaller versions. This is the small toolbox he has. Add a small hammer, tape measure and screwdriver and they’re set to help fix!
Non-Toy Gifts for Kids That Encourage Learning
Of course, more hands-on learning ideas!
- Analog Watch. For kids that are learning to tell time, an analog watch a must! If they’re younger, try a digital one. If you can find a combo of both, that’s the winning ticket, this way they can read the time on the digital and compare it to the analog to learn. Again, I don’t usually choose character products, but there’s lots to choose from (Cars watch, Batman watch, Star Wars watch).
- Fun Calendar. Find a calendar that fits their interests (do they like Star Wars? Dinosaurs? Farming?). Or you can’t go wrong with a super fun calendar like this kids activity calendar that gives kids places to draw and is interactive!
- Telescope, Binoculars or a Magnifying Glass. These are perfect for any kid that has questions. Why not look a little further to find the answer? Instead of buying a ‘toy’ one of these, look for the real deal, but easy to use for kids, such as this telescope, this set of binoculars and this magnifying glass.
- Radio. Talk about old school, right? This is on my oldest’s list. And again, while you could use Spotify or Apple Music through your phone or tablet, my kids don’t have their own yet (they share an iPad). I think we will be opting for a classic old-school radio that only plays local radio stations. But this wi-fi music player looks awesome if money was no object.
Experiences are the Best, Most Meaningful Presents (Presence!) You Can Give!
Giving a gift card to something fun to do with the kids, is a definite winner for a gift that’s not a toy, plus super meaningful! Maybe instead of just sending a gift card, write a letter to your child planning a day together!
- Movie Tickets or DVDs. Movies are a special treat to my kids. It only happens once or twice a year. A couple of movie tickets to the local theater are an awesome idea! Even watching them at home is a big deal! This year I’m excited to check out Inside Out and Minions for the kids.
- Bowling passes. Or children’s museum passes, zoo passes, waterpark passes, mini golf passes, swimming passes. What do you have in your area? I know we have a cool laser tag place that the boys would love to spend a day at!
- Fishing Pole & Gear. I’m almost embarrassed to admit this, but we have yet to take any of our boys fishing! And we can walk to the river here. It’s a shame really, fishing is a classic memory for most little boys. Here’s a classic fishing pole perfect for little hands. Of course, again, you can get characters too if you like!
What would you add to the list of gifts to get kids, that aren’t even toys?
Did I miss any?
I’d love to collect the best ideas of non-toy gifts for boys and kids in general and keep adding to this gift guide, so if you have any ideas that are not toys to share, please share it in the comments for others to find too.