The most common bane of any modern parent’s existence is the avalanche of toys cluttering up their kids’ rooms, the rest of the household, and, most unfortunately of all, making their way underfoot to stab or trip you when you least expect it! (Let us take a moment of silence for our fellow parents who have fallen victim to the dreaded stepping-on-a-lego-block experience.)
Besides the clutter, the environmental toll of all that plastic, and in some cases, the annoying sound effects of the toys, there’s also another downside. How many times has your child begged for that Hot New Toy™ only to lose interest in it a week later? If you’re looking for a way to make your child’s birthday special without adding to the toy clutter, you’re not alone! A lot of other parents feel the same way, and there are some great ideas out there for non-toy birthday gifts.
Check out a few of our favorite ideas below, and come celebrate your family’s birthdays (belated or yet-to-come) with a roller skating birthday party once we reopen!
Non-Toy Birthday Gifts for Kids
Choosing the right birthday gift for your kid depends on the child’s age, maturity level, and interests, but you’re sure to find something on this list that your little one will love!
One of the best gifts you can give your child is the gift of reading. Sure, your child will learn to read in school and will read some of the classics along the way, but instilling a real love of reading is a gift that will benefit them for life in so many ways. According to We Are Teachers,
When children have a home library, as few as 20 books of their own at home (think: one bookshelf full), they achieve three more years of schooling than children who don’t have any books at home.
Add to that the fact that reading lowers stress and improves vocabulary, and it’s easy to see why books make excellent birthday gifts.
For younger kids, choose beautifully written and illustrated children’s books that you can read together at bedtime. Older kids will enjoy chapter books, from classics like The Secret Garden to silly-scary hits like the Goosebumps series. Whatever their interests are, you’re guaranteed to find books about it.
If your child isn’t in love with reading (or even if they are), comic books and graphic novels are a fantastic option to get them excited about reading. The best option is to visit your local comic book shop, where they’ll be more than happy to recommend some options for young readers. If you shop online, just keep in mind that comics have a rating system, similar (but not identical) to movie ratings. Selecting All Ages- or Everyone-rated comics will ensure that they’re age-appropriate for younger kids.
Providing whatever your child needs to get creative is another good alternative to toy gifts. If your kid loves to draw, paint, or get crafty, they’ll be thrilled with some cool new art supplies, a sketch book and markers, or a craft kit.
If your child is musically inclined, gifting an instrument can build a lifelong passion. While a guitar, drum set, or piano would make a pretty awesome gift, it doesn’t have to be that big…Or loud. Shaker eggs, a kid keyboard, bongos, or a tambourine can be super fun, too!
Of course, your child doesn’t have to be an artist or musician to appreciate a creative gift. Puppets, dress up clothes, gardening tools, or even a carpentry kit are all great ways to get your kids unplugged from the TV and using their imaginations.
We saved the best non-toy birthday idea for last: Experiences! Most of us can’t remember what we got for our birthdays as kids, but we definitely remember some of the fun experiences from our childhoods. Gift your child with a day trip somewhere cool; tickets to a concert, sporting event, or performance; or an afternoon at the skating rink!