Over the last few months, I’ve been working to minimize our lifestyle. We have too much crap that we never use and I’m sick of the overwhelming about of stuff in this house. I’ve managed to clean out our clothes (I did mine and the boys, hubs took care of his own) and book. Now I’m slowly culling the toys, but we’re entering that dangerous time of year: Birthday season. Connor’s is in August and Kylar will have his first birthday in September. Buying presents is always fun, especially when it’s toys for kids. However, since we already have so many toys, this year I’m requesting outside-of-the-box presents. I’ve decided to put together a list of gift ideas for anyone looking to buy for preschoolers, but don’t want to buy toys.
I think it’s important to foster an environment where kids are thinking for themselves and using their imaginations, so I tend to stray away from toys that have a very specific purpose. Technology and apps are great; Connor has learned a lot from them so I always love finding cool new apps for his “phone.” Some days he doesn’t want his “phone” though. Some days he just needs a metal part from an old doorknob we replaced but haven’t thrown out yet and a couple little cars. Suddenly there’s a volcano and the cars have to get away!! His little brain amazes me and it’s indescribably important to encourage him to think for himself, problem solve, and be creative.
I’ve put together this list in an effort to make it easier to get gift ideas for kids that aren’t simply toys you see constantly advertised on TV or the internet. Here are 8 great gift ideas for preschoolers that don’t need (or whose parents don’t want) any more toys.
Books. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with books. Every kid should read, and the earlier you start reading to them, the more likely they are to have a love of books when they grow up.
Clothes. Check with the parents and I always recommend buying a size up. Kids grow quickly, so I say buy big and they’ll get more use out of them. If you’re shopping for Christmas or cold weather holidays or birthdays, I would also suggest coats (a size up as well).
Shoes. Same rule as clothing: Buy a size up. It just gives them a chance to grow into the new stuff, plus it’s likely that anyone else buying clothes or shoes will buy the size the kids are in now and they’ll end up with so many items that some will go unworn forever.
Bedding. It might not sound like fun on the surface, but think about how excited they’d be to curl up and sleep with superheroes, princesses, construction equipment, trucks, dogs, ponies, robots, etc. The list is endless and they’ll be so happy with sleep on super cool new sheets. Connor was so excited when he got his elephant sheets. It was silly, but adorable.
Memberships. To the zoo, the children’s museum, a kid’s club or little gym. Anything that provides stimulating activities and encourages learning and movement will always be a big hit with little kids. They are like sponges and they love to learn new things (that has been my experience with my own kids and my nieces and nephews, anyway). One year, my mom gave us a membership to all the Texas State Parks. It was the coolest gift and we didn’t use it like we should have. I want to do that again, but I think we’ll probably wait until Kylar is at least walking.
Lifetime Fishing License. I just learned about these a few days ago and I’m very curious. I haven’t been fishing in years (my parents took us for New Year’s Y2K…) but I’d be willing to bet you know someone who would love a lifetime fishing license. Check it out!
Subscriptions. Things like KidloLand, The Little Passports, Cricket Crate, The Disney Princess Pleybox, ABC Mouse, the list goes on and on. Most of them go for around $20 a month, so they might be out of your typical price range (I know they’re not in our budget this year) but they would make for really great gift ideas if you have the funding.
Learning Tools. Honestly just google “educational gifts for [age range]” and you’ll see a plethora of great options. Some are toys, but there are always other choices too. My favorites are flashcards, puzzles, and activity books that help teach writing skills.
Crafting supplies. Things that allow kids to get creative are always fun. Bonus points if they are learning something new while crafting something. Paints, crayons, markers, building clay, as long as it doesn’t leave stains or damage the house, everyone will be happy!
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Writer and Contributor for the Motherhood Community