Non Toy Gift Ideas For Kids

Non Toy Gift Ideas For Kids

I’m sure we’ve all been there.  Your child is invited to yet another birthday party, and you don’t know the kid or the family AT ALL.

This happens to us all the time

Somehow my children have made it to grade 4 and grade 1 and I still barely know any parents of their school friends.  (I could go on about this, but that’s not what I want to talk about today.)


Non Toy Gift Ideas For Kids [Gift Guide]

It’s inevitable that you will need gift ideas for kids you barely know (or maybe have never met!)

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Do you let your child choose a gift for their friend?  How do you know what they’ll like?  And what’s the going rate for a birthday gift these days anyway?

Sometimes I get lucky and a parent has included an email address on the invitation (assuming your kids remember to take said invite out of their backpack before the party is the next day) so I can email and ask questions like “What would so-and-so like as a gift?”  Of course this often backfires and I get a lovely response like “Oh, they like everything.”  Thanks, other parent.


We often take the easy way out.

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If it’s a child we don’t know, we give gift cards.  I know, it’s so unimaginative, but it works every time.  The kid is excited they can choose their own gift at a store, or the parent can put it towards something special.  Also it can be regifted with no real remorse.  (I may have done that before…)


If it’s a family I know, or if I’m shopping for my own kid or other family member, I try a little harder.


My new favourite gift category is consumables.  I know, that sounds like I buy kids food (and I’ve done that too) but there are so many other things that are considered consumables:

  • Bath products – my kids LOVE bath bombs!
  • Beauty products (lip gloss, nail polish, hair chalk etc.)
  • Fun craft/school style supplies – pens and pencils, little notebooks, erasers, craft kits, you get the idea
  • Even baking mixes, science project ideas (like crystal growing), seed growing kits, anything that creates something and then you can get rid of it in some way falls into the “consumable” category!


For my own kids I will look into experience gifts. 

(I’ve done them for others too, but only after checking with the parents.)


These are also technically consumable because you hang onto the ticket (or whatever) until you go do it, then it’s gone.  For these gifts I look into local fun things to do:
Sightseeing Pass

  • Museums
  • Attractions
  • Fairs or festivals
  • Movies
  • Other fun stuff like mini putt, escape rooms, go karts, art classes – you get the idea

Related: Plan a Destination Birthday in Kingston


You can make up your own “experience” to give as well.  Personalized “coupon books” (you remember those, right?) that the kids can redeem for “Get out of doing dishes tonight” or “Bake brownies with mom/dad” would be a really fun gift.  


In this time of too much stuff, and not enough time, these kinds of gifts are exactly what I want to get from people myself.  And they are a great alternative to the new, popular toy that a kid may get 2 or 3 of at one birthday party.  (It’s happened…)

Gift Ideas For Kids


What is your favourite go to gift ideas for kids in your life?  (Or kids in your kids life that you don’t really know?)  I’m always on the lookout for new and different ideas, so let me know in the comments!



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    1. We have so much stationary and pens/pencils etc, but I’m still happy when we get them. It means the kids have more books to take along to entertain them wherever we may be going. And bath bombs mean the girls get excited to take a bath – I think that’s a win for everyone!

  1. I never would have thought of bath bombs, but I know my little one would adore them! Brilliant idea! I love giving experiences as gifts. We already have so much stuff (other than toys) in our house! Thanks for sharing

    1. Anything that helps my kids want to take a bath is a win for me! Those ones from Lush are huge – I’m reluctant to get them only because I think my kids would get tired of the bath before they’re done doing their thing!

  2. When my son and his friends were younger it was fairly easy to buy gifts as they liked similar things, now they’re older its a minefield because the things they all like are far too expensive. I love giving gifts that involve the kids actually making something and recently gave a book of Star Wars paper flyers(think paper planes in the shape of the millennium falcon etc) that was a big hit. Other than that I’ve found amazon vouchers always go down well.
    Thank you for joining the #FamilyFunLinky x

    1. Wow – that sounds like a great gift! My kids love making things. Especially if there’s instructions! Gift are always appreciated for sure. Thanks for sharing Alana!

  3. These are great alternatives to toys. I love giving experiences as gifts. So much more valuable than a toy they will play with for 5 min and then forget about it. Thank you for sharing with #stayclassymama

  4. Great ideas here – mine have been to a party almost every weekend and the last one (yesterday) I ended up putting some money in a card as I couldn’t think of anything! #FabFridayPost

    1. My kids LOVE money in a card. Somehow it’s better than gift cards for them. Amazingly they now ask to put it in their bank accounts which blows my mind.

  5. YES I was just talking about that this morning. We want experiences – trying a new place, a day out with the family, making something together. We don’t need more “things” and I love that more of our loved ones are actually listening to this request!

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