AFFORDABLE Gift Ideas That Aren’t Toys

'Tis the season for gift giving. If you want to skip the toy aisle, here are some gift ideas that aren't toys, and won't break the bank.

I saw a list recently with 50 gift ideas that aren’t toys, and I immediately clicked the link. Because with three kids, and birthdays smushed up next to Christmas, I feel like we’re entering the season of “too much stuff.”

But then I read the list and started rolling my eyes. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there were some good ideas, but not everyone can gift a farm stay, a trip out of the country (or anywhere for that matter), or a hot air balloon ride for a six year old. (I mean, what in the actual world?!)

Affordable Gift Ideas That Aren’t Toys

So here’s my list, which may seem a bit boring in comparison (sorry, kids…no Magnolia Farms stay to sleep in Chip and JoJo’s bed this year), but I think my kids would love everything on here.

And as a parent or gift giver, I’d be happy to give or receive any one of these.

Movie Night In!

This is the type of screen time I can get behind. Have a movie night in with homemade popcorn, store-bought treats, and the latest movie to please everyone in the family.

(Pro tip: A Redbox gift card is also an awesome gift for teachers!)

Family Game Night

Put the cell phones away, and bust out some games. Family game nights are so much fun, and if you play your cards right around Black Friday, you can get a good deal on some board games. Even a Dominos set is fun for little kids.

Gift Cards for Treats

If you’re anything like us, we say “no” somewhat often to the ever-growing list of treats the kids want allllllllll the time. We’ve had some family members gift our little ones with gift cards specifically for ice cream or other treats which is fun for them, and awesome for us.

Ideas for places: The Baked Bear, Baskin-Robbins, Cold Stone Creamery, Frost Gelato, Nothing Bundt Cakes, etc.),

Fun way to gift this: stick the gift card in a “cup” for the place that it’s for, and wrap up the cup so they have something neat to open.

Babysitting Coupons (for grandparents)

Wanna make parents happy? Offer to watch the kids for a night! Take the little ones out to dinner (along with anything on this list). Obviously this is ideal if you live in the same place as kids, but this will leave such lasting memories for everyone.

Trampoline Park Session

Most bigger towns have trampoline parks. If you have bigger kids on your holiday list (or if the trampoline place has a toddler time for smaller kids), get a pass for each kid for a session and let them go jump their hearts out.

Get Their Read On

Talk about an adventure: books are one of the best non-toy gifts out there, because they’re great for any age. Grab a new title, wrap it up, and let the fun begin. Not sure what they’re into? A gift card to a bookstore is a great idea.

Fun way to gift this: pick up a title you think they may like, and wrap the gift card on it. Everyone loves opening a gift as opposed to just a gift card, right? (they can always return the book if it’s a duplicate.)

Kids in the Kitchen

Did you know that kids who start cooking before they’re eight years old are 50% more likely to make five meals from scratch each week when they grow up? Cooking can teach kids so many valuable skills, plus it’s fun, so that’s a win win!

Need some ideas on where to start? Check out these fun, kid-approved cooking tools.

Magazine Subscription

Everyone loves snail mail, right? Give those kiddos something fun to get in the mail every month.

Subscription Box

Speaking of snail mail…if your budget is a little on the larger side, and depending on how many kids you’re shopping for: a subscription box is something that they can have SO much fun with every month.

Here are some kid-specific subscription boxes out there: KiwiCo., Universal Yums, Ivy Kids Kits, ToucanBox, Little Passports, and BookRoo.

Painting/Pottery Night

Most of the trendy pottery or painting places offer fun girls’ nights out (with some booze included in the evening), but they also sometimes offer kids’ classes. If you have a budding artist on your hands, or maybe just want them to get a taste for some creativity, find a painting/pottery shop and gift them an outing.

Fun way to gift this: get them a canvas and some paints, and attach a note about the painting class you’re giving them!

Miniature Golf

Talk about a hole in one. This gift is fun for any age. Make it a family date night out, and maybe even award prizes for the highest, and lowest score!

Ice Skating/Roller Skating

Who needs toys when you can get your skate on? Making a fool of yourself pretty much always guarantees a great time. The gift here can be for a fun one-time session, or maybe even some actual roller blades so they can skate around anytime they want.

Day at the Museum

Time to get their learn on. If they don’t have a museum pass, purchase some tickets so they can wander around their local museum at their leisure. Let history come to life!

Fun way to gift this: wrap the tickets in a box with some dinosaur figurines (or whatever the museum specializes in)

Baseball Game

Almost every place—small town or big city—has a baseball team. Take ’em out for a ballgame. And yes, buy them some peanuts and cracker jacks while you’re at it.

Fun way to gift this: Buy them them a team baseball hat along with a note stating when the big game is.

Train or Trolly Ride

Does your town have a train or a trolly? (Some malls even have a train inside the mall.) Is there even a kid out there who didn’t grow up saying “Chugga-chugga-CHOO-CHOO”? If riding on a train isn’t a regular occurrence, pay some round trip passes, and hop aboard!

Fun way to gift this: put the passes, or an I-owe-you note on a toy train, and wrap it up!

Green Thumb

Kids love dirt, am I right? Gift them a garden set complete with the boots, a shovel, some gloves and seeds. If there isn’t a yard available, a pot wouldn’t hurt to give as well.

A “Learning” Kit

Toys are fun, but what if you can still play by learning and experiencing something you’re interested in? There are lots of different “kits’ that appeal to pretty much anyone’s interest. Dig around a little and find out what your little person is into, and the rest history!

Disney on Ice tickets

What Affordable Gift Ideas That Aren’t Toys Did I Miss?

Did I forget something? What are your favorite affordable gift ideas that aren’t toys to give or receive?

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  1. Some of these are great for the adult kids too! My mom asked what we wanted for Christmas and I said we don’t need anything really. How about a Christmas train ride on the Oregon Coast near where we live.

  2. My 7yo daughter got that window art kit last year, and it has been such a hit! She hasn’t even done all of them yet, but tales her time working on one on a Saturday morning here or there. I highly recommend craft kits for elementary age kids! Also Dairy Queen gift cards go well over here (froyo shops keep going out of business and a local favorite ice cream shop is only open in the summer, so Dairy Queen it is).

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