Non-Toy presents for kids

Even though every store, website, and company markets toy-overload to children around the holidays, finding the perfect gift for littles can be a challenge. Not only do you have to consider the children when selecting the perfect gift, but you also have to consider their parents.

Are their parents anti-noisy toy? Do they have a yard or play area big enough to accommodate certain toys? Does a toy marketed for the child’s age actually match their developmental level? Is it something that is going to create more stress and work for the adults in their life?

It is certainly not as simple as walking into a store and buying the first brightly colored plastic thing in the children’s section.

Personally, my husband and I try to keep our house (our son’s room included) minimal, and free of clutter and visual noise. I say, however inaccurate and misleading, that we have an anti-toy policy. This anti-toy policy certainly does not mean that C is not allowed to have toys. Trust me, he has plenty! But we try to avoid buying him toys ourselves because we know others – grandparents, friends, cousins, aunt and uncles – will most likely shower him with toys. Instead, we get him small things that we know he will enjoy without adding extra clutter or stress to our lives!

Read about his One Year Old Christmas list here!

Here are some ideas to consider for the toddler in your life based off things C already loves or that I know he would love at two years old. Christmas can be fun and exciting even without noisy, plastic toys that will be out grown in a few months.

  • Art Supplies – This is a great way to keep a kid busy, (but it does require some adult supervision so it might also make mama more busy) foster creative expression, and is a great sensory play!
    • Bath paints – As long as mama is onboard with a little mess.
    • Brushes – Make up brushes, paint brushes, tooth brushes – no idea why, but kids seem to love them.
    • A Large roll of paper – Great for rolling out over the floor or table to make a masterpiece.
    • Finger paints – Make sure they are washable.
    • Crayons or colored pencils – If the child’s motor skills are on that level. (Please, for the love of Christmas skip the markers! Even the washable ones give me a heart attack.)
  • Mini versions of real things – Not only does this make the kiddo feel like they are “just like mama,” but it also teaches them useful life skills! Children love to mimic behaviors that they observe.
    • Mugs or adult cups (rather than sippy cups). We actually got C his first coffee mug for his birthday and he is in love.
    • Kitchen utensils – C is all about the tongs and a big spoon. I am putting a mini utensil set in his stocking this year. 
    • Mops, brooms, vacuums – perhaps they will clean the house while they play? You better believe get got C this Dyson Vacuum when we saw it one sale! He loves to push things around. 
    • Aprons for cooking or painting
    • A toddler tower or step stool for helping
    • Gardening tools or small shovels
    • An Umbrella – Something about them always makes C giggle.
  • Experiences – Make sure, if the experience requires an adult, that the parents are open to the experience. If not, offer to take the child yourself and give the parents a day off!
    • Tickets to the zoo or museum
    • A trip to a park – The child does not know (or care) it cost you nothing.
    • Put together an outdoor scavenger hunt
    • A library book and a trip to the local library – Perhaps even get them set up with their first library card! A nice gesture would be to offer to return the borrowed books yourself once they are due back so you do not leave extra responsibility on mom and dad.
  • Toys that inspire imaginative play

Remember, at this young age, unwrapping the present is half the fun! Kids hardly care what is in the box. If you just want to see their faces light up on Christmas morning, write down your gift in a card with their favorite character on the front and put it in a tissue paper filled box. C loved his birthday card with a tractor on the front as much as he loved the gift it came with!

Do you have other non-toy gift ideas for small children? Share them with us here or on Beka XO co’s Facebook page! 


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