Trying to find some practical gifts the kids will love? If your kids are like my kids, they not only already have plenty of toys, stuffed animals, and gadgets but they also have a whole family of grandparents, aunts, and uncles who eagerly shower them with cool gifts this time of year. In fact, usually the gifts from relatives way outshine the gifts that my husband and I buy for the kids ourselves. And, that’s fine.
So, what are some gifts for kids that aren’t toys?
Trying to figure out what to buy though that’s awesome but yet not just adding to the pile is a bit tricky, so I’ve come up with this list of ideas that I plan to use to ensure that my kids’ gifts are packed with essential and practical items without my kids even knowing it.
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Towels that Double As Costumes
Did you know that hooded towels are sold for “big kids”? And, they come in every type of character that you could imagine. I’m definitely stocking up on a new towel for both of my kids this Christmas. We already have this adorable rainbow unicorn towel as well as a superhero towel that I purchased from Kohl’s.
And Pajamas that Double As Costumes
My little girl wears her Elsa nightgown that I purchased last year for her all the time, and I like that it’s sturdy enough to handle washing and wear-and-tear unlike most dress-up clothes. It’s also softer. This year’s version is a little different than the one I purchased and it’s even cuter!
Books that Your Kids Won’t Put Down
We received two Activity Books (The Big Pink Activity Book & The Big Blue Activity Book) for review purposes earlier this year, and I can’t say enough good things about them. They literally entertained my kids for months, no small feat. The only change I would make is I would cut out the sticker pages in the back if I were to buy the books over to make accessing the stickers easier.
If your kid is an early reader, be sure to sneak some Elephant & Piggie Books into the mix. These books are so much fun that even reluctant readers enjoy giving them a try.
I also picked up The Book With No Pictures last year for Christmas and it’s still requested even now.
The Coolest Toothbrush on the Market
I received this Darth Vadar Firefly toothbrush that looks like a lightsaber at a recent blogging conference. I love that it has a timer (my kids really need that) and my kids love brushing their teeth with it. It’s not nearly as cool as the Darth Vadar toothbrush but there’s also a Hello Kitty toothbrush that I was given for my little girl. I have a feeling though that there are many little girls who would totally bypass the Hello Kitty to have a lightsaber toothbrush.
I absolutely love experience gift ideas. Not only does the gift not take up space (or collect dust) but also you can purchase an experience that encourages family time together. Some of my favorite choices for children are local memberships to museums, zoos, or science centers.
Another idea is purchasing tickets to a local event or sport. If you are on a tight budget this Christmas, don’t underestimate either the value of just promising to take your kids on an inexpensive adventure locally whether it’s park hopping on a Saturday or a low-budget outing like an ice-cream date.
You can read my full list of Experience Gifts Unique to Greenville here.
Also, I’ve heard many moms talk about how much they love Kiwi Crate’s monthly craft box subscription.
Educational Computer Games
While I’m definitely serious about limiting screen time, I do like having a couple of quality online programs that the kids can play on those crazy days and during school vacations. Two of my personal favorites are:
Starfall (perfect for preschoolers) – You can play the base level of Starfall for free, but the premium version is not very expensive and includes quite a bit more content.
Reading Eggs – This program is more expensive but it’s packed with developmentally appropriate lessons in both reading and math that are combined with incentives. My kids beg to play it!
Board games are awesome and kids love them. I’ve purchased educational games for my kids to help them with specific skills but really almost every game has a component that will help your child educationally whether it’s logic, numbers, or language.
Richard Scarry’s Busy Town – This game is good for kids who like looking and searching for objects and don’t mind a slower pace. One great feature is that it’s a cooperative game that takes out the competitive edge for kids too small to understand winning and losing.
My kids both have cool umbrellas that we found at the Mast General Store. I found some similar items on Amazon: Shark Umbrella,
With Rainboots to Match
I think that rain boots are one of the most practical yet fun gifts that you can give your kids. My kids wear their rain boots for pretend play, snow days, to puddle stomp, and just for fun. We always get compliments on the fun designs.
I’m eyeing this set of Snap Circuits for my older kid who loves science.
If you’re looking for more science ideas, see our huge list of Educational Gift Ideas.
More Practical Gift Ideas
- Piggy bank: Teach them to save with a cute piggy bank. My son received a cute monkey bank when he was very young and it has remained a favorite (and useful) treasure.
- Digital camera: If your kids don’t carry a cell phone in their pocket (and mine don’t either!) they might enjoy their own camera for documenting all their adventures.
- Musical instruments: Learn a new skill! This can be as simple as a recorder and a book or as complicated as a trumpet and a promise of lessons in the new year.
- Practical Stocking Stuffers: These are big in my house. We do fun socks, new hair ties, a hair brush, sometimes favorite snacks, chapstick, or even character-branded teas or mugs. Like these Star Wars cups from The Republic of Tea.
I would love to hear your suggestions for practical gifts this Christmas! Let me know in the comments.