Seek out something special for your little explorers this year – practical and purposeful gifts to treasure
Anyone who has spent any length of time at home this past year has probably done a major sort-out at some point and questioned why do we have so many toys?! If the thought of tripping over another toy on the floor is almost too much for you to bear, you’re not alone!
Luckily for parents everywhere, practical gifts have become trendier of late. After all, children will remember a trip to the zoo far longer than the stuffed giraffe they receive in their stockings.
With a bit of help from the Globetrotters, we have come up with this fabulous list of non-toy gifts for kids – preschoolers through to teens, and we’re not talking simply giving a gift card!
We hope it can inspire you towards a few more unique kids’ gifts this year that will put a smile on their faces.
Best Non-Toy Kids Gifts Christmas 2022
You can find all our favourites in our Amazon Shop, or read on below for more details on each!
- Bug keeper
- Walkie Talkies
- Snorkel Set
- Thermal Drink Bottle
- Kids Hammocks
- Ride-on Suitcase
- Science Kits
- Musical Instruments
- Boogie Board
- Sleeping Bags
- Hydration Pack
- Magazine subscrption
- Box Subscriptions
- Piggy Bank
- Jewellery Box
- Wall calendar
- Lil da Vinci art frames
- A Wallet or Purse
- Cooking Apron for the Kitchen
- Baking Set
- Crafting Lesson
- Crafting supplies box
- Pretend Make Up Kids
- Kindle paperwhite or a kobo
- Beginner Fishing Set
- Garden Tool Set
- LED Light Set
- Sign Board
- Moon lamp
- Sports Gear
- Travel Backpack
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Whether they use it for camping or to make shadow puppets in the hallway, your child will love having their own flashlight to play with. There’s something about owning a flashlight that makes a kid feel all grown up, and it makes a great stocking stuffer idea for kids!
If you’re regular campers, look for headlamp flashlights, great for hands-free outdoor play.
You can find our complete guide to buying a great kids’ flashlight here
Nurture your child’s love of the outdoors with an explorer bug catcher kit. It provides everything kids need to collect their own “specimens” for a closer look! Also includes an instructional booklet on insects, a great educational gift for kids.
Kids’ binoculars are the perfect non-toy gift to encourage nature play and exploration. These Let’s Go! Binoculars provide crystal-clear resolution and are durable enough to stand up to accidental drops. Perfect at home or on vacation.
Every child needs a walkie-talkie set in their lives, especially if they have a sibling! This non-toy kids’ gift is ideal for spy games and secret missions and an excellent way to encourage independent play.
Fun and colorful sunglasses are a must for every kid, especially for long drives and sunny days at the beach. You can even find unbreakable pairs for that particularly active child in the family!
If your child loves playing in the water – be it in a swimming pool or out in the ocean – a snorkel set is the perfect kids’ non-toy gift for them. You can even find a full-face snorkel mask for added coverage under the waves, though do use these with caution.
We talk more about our favourite snorkeling sets for kids here
Thermal Drink Bottle
There’s nothing more useful than a thermal drink bottle, and kids will love how many bright colours the Yeti Rambler Jr. has available. They can take it to school, the park, and anywhere they’ll need a cool drink.
Nurture your child’s natural curiosity with this Educational Insights GeoSafari Jr. Talking Microscope. Bindi Irwin narrates each slide, and kids of all ages will love looking at the detailed images of plants and animals.
A camera is one of the best non-toy gifts for kids on the market, and it also means you won’t be deleting 1,000 photos of random objects off your phone! Your child will enjoy showing you what they’ve captured on film, and you can simply clear the memory once it has reached full capacity.
We talk more about our favourite kids’ action cameras here. If you are looking more specifically for a waterproof camera for underwater shots, check out this guide to kids’ underwater cameras.
Nothing says summer quite like a kids’ hammock, although they may have to compete with you for space! Find a nice shaded spot between two trees, or choose a free-standing model for everyone to enjoy.
We talk more about our favourite kid’s hammocks here, or if you are looking for something bigger the whole family can enjoy together, check out these extra-large family-sized hammocks!
If you and your family enjoy travelling throughout the year, a kids ride-on suitcase is the perfect non-toy gift for younger children. Not only can they be responsible for pulling along their own travel toys, holiday kit, and clothes, they can easily fit their suitcase in the overhead compartment on the plane too!
We talk more about our favourite kids rolling luggage here as well as a detailed look at the top rideable scooter suitcases for kids
Kids love imaginative play, so why not give them a dress-up set to keep them busy for hours on end? Whether they want to be a superhero, a fairy, or a fireman, there are some for everyone to enjoy! Getting them out of their dress-up for washing day can be the issue!
STEM activities are a great way to get kids interested in the wonders of science, and there are many fascinating kits to choose from. We especially like this Crystal Growing kit, and who doesn’t like creating an erupting volcano?
Get your child moving and grooving with their first set of musical instruments or even a thumb piano! They’ll love creating their own tunes, although you’ll have to think carefully before investing in a drum set.
For kids who can’t seem to get enough of the beach or pool, a boogie board is the ideal non-toy gift. These wave boards come in a range of sizes to fit children of all ages and will have them surfing the waves in no time.
A warm and comfy sleeping bag is an excellent choice for kids who enjoy camping or having sleepovers. They’re also helpful for summer camps and any trip away from home. If they’ve already got a sleeping bag, what about a comfy sleeping pad for underneath?
We talk about the best sleeping bag for kids here, or for your tiny kids, ideal camping sleeping bags for toddlers
Kids will feel like quite the adventurous explorers with their very own M.U.L.E. hydration pack. The lightweight backpack is full of cool features like reflective accents and even a built-in safety whistle.
You can find all our suggested hiking essentials for active kids over here.
Another fabulous non-toy gift idea is gifting a magazine subscription on a topic your child is interested in, like the wildly popular National Geographic Kids. Not only will they learn new things about the world around them, but they’ll also have the excitement of receiving a new magazine each month!
Box subscriptions are just for adults anymore. You can actually find monthly boxes for kids on anything from Cooking, Crafting, Chemistry, and Coding. It’s the gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.
Kids need a safe place to keep allowance and birthday money, and this Mini ATM is the perfect place to keep it safe! This kid’s coin bank is packed with cool features like an automatic bill feeder and a password code lock.
Every girl needs a place to keep her most treasured keepsakes, and this unicorn musical jewellery box is a magical choice. The whimsical display case has a spinning unicorn and also includes several gifts your child will cherish.
If you want to gift a unique item this holiday season, a fun and entertaining wall calendar fits the bill. This one by Mike Lowery is packed with stickers and activities to make each month an exciting adventure!
Lil da Vinci Art Frames
Our kids always enjoy putting their artistic masterpieces on the fridge, but we quickly ran out of space! That’s why this kids art frame is such an ingenious gift idea! The front-opening frame allows you to swap out drawings and paintings, so your child can continuously feature new works of art.
A Wallet or Purse
Children love playing with anything grown-ups use, which is why a wallet or purse is the perfect non-toy gift this holiday season. Each option has a cute, kid-friendly, functional, and fun design. If you are looking for something suitable for your little explorer to trvael with, go with a crossbody design that can be attached to them!
Cooking Apron for the Kitchen
The little baker in your family will adore a cooking apron to protect their clothes from splashes and spills. There are several eye-catching patterns and colours to choose from, and it even comes with their very own chef’s hat!
And what better way to see them happy at work in the kitchen than baking up some tasty creations! Forget toy kitchens; get them started with the real thing. This beginner’s baking set will see them carefully crafting their own cookie and cupcake creations for everyone to enjoy.
A lesson with a local crafting group or teacher is a fun and unique gift for creative kids. Crafting is an excellent way to build skills and connect with others; they might even start selling their creations!
Crafting Supplies Box
Every young crafter needs a place to store their supplies, and this Olly Kids Arts and Crafts Supplies Set comes with everything they need to make beautiful works of art. The triple-layer box has multiple sections to keep everything organized and in its place.
Pretend Make Up Kids
Every girl has gotten into her mother’s makeup bag at some point, so why not give her a cosmetic set of her very own? All items are non-toxic and washable, so she is free to satisfy her curiosity without making a mess.
Everyone seems to have a smartwatch these days, and your child can have one too! The best part is, you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars with the colourful and stylish VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch. Kids can take pictures, record videos, and even play games!
Give the gift of one or more months of Audible so kids can listen to their favourite books anytime they want!
Not only can they download a book to keep each month, but they also have access to thousands of titles they can stream for free.
You can find our detailed guide to the best audiobooks for kids here
Kindle paperwhite or a kobo
Yes, these can be combined with a tablet, but we find this is a distraction; it’s great to have a stand-alone reading device.
Older kids who love to read will love having their own Kindle Paperwhite for reading on the go. This is an excellent option for your child to take with them while travelling or settling into a comfy chair on a rainy afternoon.
Beginner Fishing Set
Going fishing with your kids can be a valuable bonding experience, and gifting them a rod and reel starter kit is a great way to get them excited for their first fishing trip. The kit comes with a colourful fishing pole, tackle, and everything else to help them reel in their first catch.
Want to teach your kids how to fish? Pop over here for some great beginner tips.
Garden Tool Set
A garden tool set is a fun, non-toy gift for kids to start their own garden or help you around the yard. Each tool is just the right size for smaller hands and is made of high-quality materials.
LED Light Set
Kids love brightening up their rooms with cool lights, which makes these LED strip lights one of the best non-toy kids’ gifts out there! You can cut the extra-long light strips to any desired length for a fully customized look and adjust the brightness and colour projection.
A bright and colourful LED sign board is a fun and functional gift for kids who love to draw or doodle. They can hang it in their bedroom or on the door to exchange notes with other family members.
Toss out those boring nightlights and gift your child a moon lamp instead. They’ll enjoy falling asleep to the soft light in any colour they choose, and they can turn it off with a simple touch or remote control.
Sports gear is always useful for the athletic kids in the family or for active children who love playing outside. A batting tree or soccer goal set is the perfect non-toy gift to help them improve their game!
Kids love having a space to carry their items while travelling, and a colourful and trendy travel backpack is handy for storing tablets, snacks, and drinks on the go.
These Wildkin backpacks for boys and girls come in multiple eye-catching designs, and they offer a range of sizes for kids of all ages. We like MountainTop for a lightweight hiking day pack.
You can find our guide to the best kids’ travel backpacks for every age here
You don’t always have to buy a physical item to give to your child for the holidays. Sometimes the best presents are chances to go and experience new things, like horseback riding lessons, a trip to a nearby zoo or aquarium, or going to a sporting event or concert. The possibilities are endless!
Think about your travel plans for the year ahead; perhaps family members can cheap in for one of those “once in a lifetime experiences” rather than wrapping something to put under the tree.
More Great Gift Ideas for Kids
Are you still looking for a little more gifting inspiration? We’ve got plenty! Why not head over and check out:
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