5 Gifts for Kids That Aren’t Toys

While I love celebrating birthdays and holidays with my family, there’s one thing I don’t look forward to: the addition of more toys to our collection.

My kids are blessed with more than enough things to play with, and we declutter and donate toys regularly. But somehow “stuff” still seems to accumulate. Also, I really want to fight the “more, more, more” mindset in my kids. Experiential gifts take the focus off of “getting” and instead they emphasize “doing.”

I’m a big fan of giving and receiving experiences over toys. I love things that I can do with my kids, and things that will help them learn while they’re having fun. The items on the list below are some of my absolute favorites. Some of them we’ve happily received; others we’ve given to friends and had great feedback. Try one of these for a perfect holiday or birthday gift!

5 Gifts for Kids That Aren’t Toys


5 Gifts for Kids That Aren't Toys

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Links to items are referral links.


Little Passports — My kids begged for a Little Passports subscription after seeing the commercials on television. I finally gave in and ordered, and I am so glad I did! The kids love the hands-on learning activities, and I like that I can work alongside them, or let them work on the activities independently. Little Passports has activities for kids ages 3-12, and has subscriptions for both geography and science educational adventures.

Little Passports
We love Little Passports!

Reading Eggs — A friend recommended Reading Eggs to us last year, and my middle son absolutely loves it. I can see how it’s improved his reading skills, and as a homeschool mom, I love that he has something he can do independently when I’m working with his brother. Reading Eggs is great for kids ages 3-13. Grab a free trial here!

Kids Cook Real Food — Confession: I hate to cook. I’m not very good at it, and my style is “bare minimum to keep everyone alive.” So when my boys told me they wanted to learn how to cook, I was lost. The Kids Cook Real Food online courses have been a HUGE lifesaver for us. My kids are learning real kitchen skills, and the video series is affordable and easy to follow. My school-aged kids are learning how to make salad, soak beans, and are even learning knife skills!

KiwiCo Crates — By far, my favorite non-toy gift to give to kids is a KiwiCo Crate subscription. They have crates for kids of all ages (0 to 16+), and the activities inside encourage children to “tinker, create, and innovate!” Each create has a hands-on activity that is centered around a certain theme. My kids love getting a Kiwi Crate or a Doodle Crate (perfect for crafty kids), and it keeps them busy for hours. You can save $10 on your first crate here!

NatGeo Kids Magazine — My kids think they are the coolest when they get something in the mail, so a magazine is always a great gift choice. We’ve tried lots of different titles, but my favorite by far is Nat Geo Kids. It’s really affordable, and the boys really love reading it and telling me all they’ve learned about their favorite animals.

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Crystal is an activist, feminist, and mom of three. She loves reading, crochet, and enjoying her family and friends. She lives with her family in Indianapolis.

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