101 (fun!) Toy-free Gift Ideas for Kids

101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

Are you inspired to have a more simple holiday with a little less excess at the end of the season? Especially when it comes to your children?

You’re not alone.

Since I shared these two posts to inspire more simple celebrations and to share our family’s almost toy-free journey, I’ve gotten several emails asking for a bit more guidance.

Less toys? Yes! Less clutter? Please! Less consumption? Amen.

These ideas are easy to get on board with until it’s time to wrap presents or stuff stockings.

But then what?

Right. That’s when it gets sticky.

So my then 8 and 12 year-olds and I worked up a list of 101 fun, toy-free (and many clutter-free, consumption-free, stuff-free!) gifts to give to your littles this season.

GOING TOY-FREE REQUIRES A LITTLE THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX, SO BE OPEN TO NEW TRADITIONS AND A NEW WAY OF DOING THINGS.

Remember: just because it’s a new idea for your crew doesn’t mean it won’t be fan-freaking-tastic. You might find that you all love it more than you ever imagined.

101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

A few thoughts before we embark:

  1. We often go overboard in our culture. Way overboard. I’m as guilty of this as the next. But when I started to pull back on the gifts (and the toys) I expected my kids to be a bit disappointed. At least at first. But they weren’t. The first low-stuff year was voted the “best Solstice ever” by them both (That was the year they each received an ornament and a love coupon.) Go slowly and see how it feels to everyone. This isn’t a formula for a better way to do anything. It’s just how we do things around here. It might be a fit, it might not. Be open to either option.
  2. Consider making a gift of something you might do anyway. It sounds silly, but if you child wants to take a class or go to camp, why not give that as a holiday gift? It would surely be appreciated. And your budget will be so darn happy about it.
  3. And finally, consider the child. What does your little one love? What makes them tick? I’m betting it’s not only toys. Craft a gift that suits their passions. Because these are the gifts they will remember. A train-obsessed two year old would flip for a ride on a real train or a visit to a train museum. And a ballet-obsessed six year old would be wild with anticipation to see a ballet rehearsal or performance. You get the idea.

Many of the gifts listed below are items I have actually given my kids through the years. Obviously you have to consider the age and interests of your child, but this is a solid jumping-off place.

But enough chatter. Let’s get to it. (A handful of links follow. Some are afflinks, others are simply links to our favorite shops or products we love.)

101 TOY-FREE HOLIDAY GIFTS AND STOCKING STUFFERS

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GIVE AN EXPERIENCE

These are among our family’s favorite gifts – to give, to receive, and to cash in!

  1. Gift certificate to the skating rink
  2. Gift certificate to restaurant, cafe, or ice cream shop
  3. Movie theatre tickets
  4. Museum membership
  5. Love coupons for special dates together (one per month or one per season would be fun!)
  6. Music or dance lessons
  7. Tickets to a play, a concert, or the ballet
  8. Horseback riding lessons
  9. Magazine subscription
  10. Sparkle Stories subscription
  11. Gift certificate to summer camp
  12. Sleepover party “gift certificate”
  13. Media time tokens (if children receive limited screen time in your home)
  14. Home pizza party coupon
  15. Breakfast in bed gift certificate
  16. “Coupon” for an night at a hotel with a pool with a parent and a friend
  17. Certificate (homemade is great!) for a performance or special event (a play, midway tickets for the county fair, etc.)

101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

KITCHEN GIFTS AND TREATS

My kids have been busy in the kitchen since they could stand on a step stool at the counter. For this reason special kitchen-related gifts are always met with enthusiasm. (And yes, treats are too.)

  1. Child-sized tea cup or dishes set (we’ve found some lovely vintage pieces at the second hand store that have been loved for many years)
  2. Recipe and ingredients for a special dessert
  3. Tea party dishes and “coupon” for a fancy tea party with a friend
  4. Fresh fruit, dried fruit, or fruit leather
  5. Chocolate
  6. Homemade cocoa mix
  7. Cookbook
  8. Candle for the dinner table
  9. Homemade or purchased placemat
  10. Travel cup or drinking mason jar (my DIY drinking jar tutorial is here, or I have an already made version available here with your choice of closure.)
  11. Nuts in the shell and a nut cracker (we adore this version!)
  12. Personalized cloth napkin
  13. Homemade or purchased apron
  14. Child-sized kitchen tools
  15. Recipe box with favorite recipes and blank recipe cards

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OUTDOOR GIFTS

Get out there! To the county park, to your backyard, anywhere. Even if you live in the city many of these gifts can be used at your nearby park or even on your patio.

  1. Herbal Adventures, my new herb book for kids!
  2. Garden tools, seeds, small pots, and potting soil
  3. Rope, pulleys, and other open-ended hardware store treasures
  4. Pocket knife (we love this knife with it’s built-in fire starter, but this one is nice as well and has a blunted tip for younger kids)
  5. Snowshoes
  6. Skis
  7. S’more ingredients and a winter campfire coupon
  8. Nature exploration kit (magnifying glass, bird call, field guide, bug boxes, plant press, butterfly net, etc.)
  9. Sunprint paper
  10. Ice skates
  11. Treasure bag or backpack for nature walks
  12. Water bottle and snack pouch
  13. Headlamp (We love this model. Unlike other brands, they last for years!)
  14. Fire starting kit
  15. Sleeping bag and bedroll
  16. Certificate for back yard camp out with a parent
  17. Fort-making supplies
  18. Gift certificate to your local hardware store
  19. Tinkering kit – hammer, nails, screwdriver, screws, and wood

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GET CRAFTY

Crafting is our number one way to spend a day. That makes crafty gifts a natural win.

  1. Play dough ingredients and recipe
  2. Glitter, glue, sparkles, scissors, tape, glue gun
  3. Beading or jewelry supplies
  4. Stamp pad for thumb-print stamps
  5. Colored pencils (these have been our favorites since our teen was tiny!)
  6. Watercolor paints
  7. Sketch book
  8. Pencil sharpener
  9. Acrylic paints, brushes, and paint mixing tray
  10. Sewing supplies
  11. Markers
  12. Potholder loom
  13. Yarn and knitting needles
  14. Calligraphy pen
  15. Modeling wax
  16. Scratch board and tools
  17. Candle rolling kit
  18. Peg dolls (we buy ours from here), paints and perhaps a peg doll book
  19. Fimo or other bead-making clay
  20. Paper bead making supplies and instructions
  21. Washi tape
  22. Needle felting kit
  23. Embroidery book, needles, thread, and fabric

101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

WEAR IT

Simple things can be gifts too. When I was a child I think Santa brought me new socks and underwear every year!

  1. Mittens
  2. Hat
  3. Scarf
  4. Wool socks (we adore Goodhew and Darn Tough brands)
  5. Slippers
  6. Pajamas
  7. Analog watch

101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

NATURAL SPA

For some kids a spa gift is heaven on earth. Read those labels though, won’t you? Go with the good stuff. (Disclaimer: shameless self-promotion to follow.)

  1. Lip balm
  2. Soap
  3. Bubble bath
  4. Natural perfume
  5. Face pencils
  6. Body glitter roll-on
  7. Jewelry
  8. Jewelry box
  9. Non-toxic nail polish
  10. “Spa night at home” coupon and supplies for pampering (quality/nontoxic/synthetic fragrance- and preservative-free soap, sugar scrub, moisturizer, etc.)
  11. DIY body care kit (we offer a DIY organic Lip Balm kit that’s clean + fun, and my DIY natural perfume kit tutorial is here.

101 toy-free gift ideas to simplify your holiday | Clean | www.lusaorganics.typepad.com

JUST FOR FUN

These didn’t fit anywhere else. But all are fun, so there you go.

  1. Bath crayons
  2. Personalized pillowcase
  3. Books of every sort! A few of our favorite read-aloud books can be found here, and field guides, craft books, and my children’s herb book are delightful bookshelf additions as well.
  4. Homemade or purchased holiday ornament
  5. Deck of playing cards
  6. Board games
  7. Geode
  8. Stationary
  9. Photo album or homemade story book of the child’s life so far

Tell me – are you inspired to go toy-free this year? What would you add to our list

Originally published in 2014 on Rachel Wolf CLEAN.

 

101 toy-free gift ideas for kids

101 toy-free gift ideas for kids

4 thoughts on “101 (fun!) Toy-free Gift Ideas for Kids

  1. Joan in California says:

    Thank you for the wonderful list of gift ideas – Perfect and loving ideas for my granddaughter and my grown children as well! Your list was your gift to me…. or should I say us.

    • Rachel Wolf says:

      How strange! Both are still working for me. Try searching online for Mora Light My Fire Knife (the first link) and Mora Scout Knife (the second link). I hope you find them!

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