I'm Amanda and I’m passionate about creating a well loved and well lived in home for my family and I I'd love to help you do the same!
If your house is anything like mine, it’s filled with too many plastic toys! This Christmas I am refusing to fill the house with more plastic (and we will donate much of what we have now). This year, we are focusing on non-disposable, non-plastic, non-consumeristic gifts in our quest to become more minimal. Here are 10 fun gift ideas for kids that aren’t toys! These gifts focus on experience, health, learning & imagination!
Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
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There are so many great subscription boxes for kids! I love the STEAM ( Science Technology Engineering and Math) kits from KIWI CO.
A new kit will arrive once a month with a new set of activities! You can order monthly, cancel anytime and right now the first kit ships for free and is 60% off for Black Friday!
I ordered the Atlas Crate for my daughter who is 8 and the Kiwi Crate for my youngest who is 6! There are kits available for ages 0-14.
The other kit I will be ordering is from For Purpose Kids. Their kits come quarterly and are all about helping others, learning about diverse cultures and taking care of the environment!
I love how this kit encourages conversation about being a good citizen of the world and spreading kindness!
My girls love to draw, paint, sculpt, build…anything with lots of colours and usually a lot of mess involved. Art classes or art supplies always make a great gift! I like to put inexpensive frames up to make their own little gallery wall where they can display their newest creations! They love seeing it up on the wall, along with the “real” art!
My favourite art studio, if you are local or have one near you, is 4Cats. They have the cutest upcoming winter sessions for kids!
Buying a membership to the local zoo, science museum, or Rec Center is the gift that keeps on giving! Not only are you getting out and being active in your local community, but you are ensuring quality family time throughout the year!
My favourite local memberships are to the Edmonton Valley Zoo, Telus World of Science, and Fort Edmonton Park.
We’ve read to our girls since they were very small every night before bed. They both love to read. Our oldest is just starting chapter books and it’s like a whole new world is opening up for her!
This year I am going to take the girls in to get their own library cards! That way we can go on an outing every couple of weeks to exchange books, which they think is amazing lol! But the best part is that it’s practically free. You just pay a small fee for the card. You can also order e-books from the library and download them onto your iPad/other devices!
This year I am also planning to put coupons for books in their stockings! Their school is part of the Scholastic Reading Club and once a month a flyer is sent home with books for sale. I wrote 12 coupons each for $10 for them to spend on those books. I buy the books anyway each month, but this way they feel like they are choosing and purchasing them independently!
My oldest daughter has trouble sleeping, so over time we’ve developed strategies to help her get a better nights sleep. One thing that we are loving is a weighted blanket. Make sure you order one that’s the correct weight for kids (the adult blankets are too heavy). This is the one I ordered and it has a minky cover that is so soft!
There’s nothing more precious to my girls than my undivided attention (or my husband’s). Finding ways to schedule family time and make sure that we are spending phone-free and focused time with our children is a priority! Board games & puzzles are a favourite gift. The girls adore games night and our eldest will sit down and attempt a 1000 piece puzzle happily for hours.
One new thing I am going to try this year is writing out date invitations for one-on-one dates with Mom and/or Dad. Individual time with us makes them so happy and we’ve noticed it alleviates a lot of the day to day bickering!
My girls love looking at photos. It can be photos of anything …. us when we were younger, wedding photos, their family or pets….but their favourite is, of course, pictures of themselves!
I make photo books each year for the Grandparents and this year I’m going to make mini photo books for the girls as well. They can look back on all their fun memories from the year!
My go-to for photobooks is usually Costco…you just can’t beat the price. But this year I might try Chatbooks. I’m intrigued by the fact that you can create photo books easily from your phone! And how cute are the little mini-books. Apparently, you can order these little books and they come once a month with 30 new pictures in them!
Photo Books | Mini Monthly Photo Books
You could also make a personalized calendar with photos of them for each month. They love hanging calendars in their rooms and crossing off the days. It helps them keep track of their week. They like to know which days are school days, which are days off, and when their activities are. We find it takes away anxiety about scheduling!
Minted is my favourite store to order photo gifts from.
If they are old enough you could also get them a camera of their own. A polaroid camera is fun and prints out pictures right away. An inexpensive digital camera is also a fun option!
I love music, especially singing and both my girls seem to have inherited my enthusiasm! My youngest is begging for piano lessons and a karaoke DJ party machine is on the top of their wishlists lol!
Music can be incorporated into a gift in so many ways. You could wrap a musical instrument under the tree or write out a gift certificate for lessons. My eldest is asking for her own iPod and maybe a little Bluetooth speaker so that she can listen to music in her room or play soothing sounds at night! The options are endless!
Keeping kids active is so important and teaching them to take care of their physical health should start young! We encourage our girls to always be active in a sport or activity. You could sign your little (or not so little) one up for an activity they’ve been dying to try and stash the good news or the gear they will need for it under the tree!
Teaching kids to take care of their nutrition is also important. Their own kitchen utensils, apron, or recipe box to fill with their favourite recipes can make learning to cook fun! And it’s amazing how excited they get about having their own special tools!
We like to encourage our kids to give back. At Christmas, one of our favourite charities to give to is World Vision. They have a Christmas gift catalogue that the girls can choose gifts from. It’s a good way to talk about how not everyone has what they need and why it’s so important to give.
Taking the time to volunteer and donate to local charities, or finding a family in need in your own community is a great way to spread some Christmas kindness and to teach your kids to be thoughtful members of society.
I hope this guide has given you some fun gift ideas for kids that aren’t toys! By focusing on experiences and family fun you can avoid some of the overwhelming clutter that can come with Christmas time!
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I'm Amanda and I’m passionate about creating a well loved and well lived in home for my family and I'd love to help you do the same!