The gift-giving season is upon us. If you are blessed with a large extended family or circle of friends, it can mean being faced with the onslaught of gift giving and gift receiving. My personal abhorrence to clutter (not that you’d be able to guess this if you could see my house right now) created a panic-driven need for non-object type gift lists. Tempered with desire to inspire a constant learning environment, I loosened this list to non-toy gifts. I cultivated a non-toy gift list for different age groups and interests over the years. Some of the ideas remain completely physically object-free (like classes) while some incur a need to be stored or re-purposed/recycled. Below are some of our favorites non-toy gift ideas we have either given or received. Some of the links below are affiliate links. You can read my disclosure policy here.
- Cricket Media has several different magazines for ages 3-14 in history, science, and literary topics. At some point in the Underling’s life, he has had a subscription to all of them. I recommend them all. The Underling’s favorites were Ask and Dig.
- Teach Kids to Cook offers two different magazines: Butternut for ages 3-6 and Ingredient for ages 7-13.
- National Geographic publishes two magazines specifically for kids, depending on their ages: Kids and National Geographic Little Kids.
- Ranger Rick is for ages 7 to 12. The National Wildlife Federation also publishes Cub and Ranger Rick Jr for younger ages.
- Time for Kids is for elementary school ages. Their editions are divided into grades so you can easily select the edition that is age appropriate for your child.
- Don’t forget hobby magazines like American Girl Doll, Catster, Popular Mechanics, Creative Knitting, or Popular Woodworking Magazine. Nearly every hobby and interest has a magazine available, though most are written for skilled hobbyists or high school ages, so be sure to check out the magazine before gifting it.
- JAM offers phenomenal classes for ages 8 to 16. Classes vary from Invent Your Own Machines to Animate Your Drawings to Host a Minecraft Video Show. Their class list is truly unique and worth checking out. The customer service and instructor feedback/help is excellent. I love the format of these classes.
- Craftsy’s online classes include cooking, sewing, quilting, art, and photography.
- You ARE An Artist Chalk Pastel offers online art classes for all skill levels in a variety of topics.
- Youth Digital offers classes for ages 8 – 14. They offer classes from coding to design to animation. If you have a child interested in fashion design, check them out (look under the design courses option). The instructors are dedicated to your child’s success. Every email the Underling sent was answered.
- GamEd Academy is online Minecraft classes. You can built your own subscription, sign up for classes (graded or ungraded). Classes are for a variety of ages and topics. The Underling took several of the history and science classes and LOVED them. If you have a Minecraft lover, I strongly recommend you consider either a subscription or class.
- Spangler Science Club offers amazing STEM experiments delivered to your door each month. Subscribers choose from three levels of membership that range from $9.99 to $29.99 per month. These for ages 5-12. We had a subscription to STEM Deluxe, which was thorough enough to use as part of homeschool science class.
- KiwiCo has a few different options. We only have experience with the Tinker Crate for ages 9-16. It is fabulous. Not only does it come with a hands on build activity, it also comes with a Tinker Zine (this was the Underling’s favorite part). They have kits available for younger ages and different interests as well.
- MEL Science chemistry subscriptions is designed for ages 5-14. This is hands on chemistry that requires adult supervision. The starter kit comes with all the basic chemistry lab equipment you’ll need for the upcoming experience, including VR glasses to use with the free app. Your high school chemistry lover will enjoy this subscription as well.
Passes and Tickets
- Season passes to the zoo.
- Season passes or tickets to symphonies, ballets, and theater performances, especially ones designed for children.
- Membership to museums, science centers, historic farmstead or house.
- Season pass to an amusement park.
- Membership to a gym or sports center.
- Culinary or cooking skills. Check with local grocery stores as well as shops that offer cooking classes.
- Art classes or workshops. Check with local art museums and galleries to see if they offer any classes.
- Sports lessons/classes like tennis, swimming, golf, weight training, or yoga.
- Music lessons or instrument rentals. One year I had a friend that sent out a gift request that we each consider gifting one month of violin lessons for her daughter who really wanted to learn the violin in lieu of toys that year. She emailed us printable vouchers we filled out and mailed to her daughter. Each month she would switch out the voucher on their school room bulletin board so her daughter could see who sponsored her that month.
- Camps or workshops. Where we live, the community centers and community colleges offer workshops and day camps. They offer things like Day of Coding or Four Day Robotics Camp. Different companies and studios offer week long dance camps, drama camps, and instrument camps.