I love giving non-toy related gifts to the children in my life for holidays and birthdays, and not so surprisingly, they oftentimes tend to be books. If you're looking to stay away from giving gadgets and gizmos this year, there are all sorts of great non-toy gifts you can give – you just have to think outside the overpriced gift-wrapped box.
Here are some great unconventional gift ideas that I hope you consider purchasing this holiday season.
- Classes: Educational and creative extracurriculars are a great way to expose children to different areas of interest and allow them to pursue what they enjoy. From music lessons to dance classes, riding at the stables or learning to cook, classes are a great way to develop kids' skills and passions.
- Memberships: Looking for a great gift to give to a whole family? Memberships to zoos, science museums, children’s museums, or even your local YMCA allow parents and children to enjoy a variety of activities together for a discounted price.
- Subscriptions. Who doesn't love getting stuff in the mail? Encourage kids to spend more time reading and learning by getting them a magazine subscription for something they are interested in.
- Events: Tickets to a play, movie, concert of sports events are exciting for everyone involved, especially if it is your first time attending such an event. By giving young children access to creative performances like plays and concerts, you're also giving the gift of their first trip to a theater or professional sports arena – a memory they are sure to hold on to forever.
- Recipe and ingredients: Everyone needs to learn how to cook eventually. Why not get your kids started early? Baking something special or cooking dinner is an ideal time to spend together and learn a lifelong skill. Have a family recipe you're looking to pass down? Nows the perfect time to purchase all the ingredients and set a date for cooking together. If you want to make the meal and cooking experience more imaginative, pretend you work at a restaurant and create handmade menus and fancy place settings.
- Arts and craft supplies: If you know a young artist or want to encourage a youngster you know to get in touch with their creative side, stock up on materials for a craft box. A gift like this is sure to get those creative juices flowing and inspire kids to create masterpieces of their own.
- Dress up clothes: Using your imagination is crucial for children's brain development. You can help encourage imaginative play by buy a cool chest to store the dress up clothes the child already has or add a few new outfits of your own. These costumes can transport children to medieval castles, pirate ships, outer space and more.
- Outdoor Supplies: If you're shopping for an outdoorsy family, giving kids their own fishing or gardening equipment could be a big deal. These gifts will get kids playing (and working) outside.
- Games and Puzzles: If you live somewhere like Wisconsin, outdoor supplies might not be the most practical gift for kids if they're looking to use them right away. However, board games and puzzles are great activities for kids and adults to do together inside, regardless of what they weather is like. Games like Risk can help kids with geography, Monopoly and PayDay help develop math skills and memory games are great for young children.
- Books: Did you honestly think I wasn't going to mention books? If the child your shopping for has yet to get a library card of their own, the holidays are a perfect time to get him or her signed up. This way you're not just giving them one or two new books, but access to an endless amount of books to share with the community. There are, of course, those classic books that I believe every child should have on their personal bookshelves, so feel free to pick up a copy of your favorite childhood story, write a personal message inside and get ready for story time!