We have a small cape cottage with a lot of charm but not a lot of storage, and I’m constantly tripping over my toddler’s plethora of toys! After my daughter was born, all of the gear and gadgets that come with an infant and now a toddler is making our cozy cottage more cluttered than cozy. Even amidst our pleas to family and friends to buy her pretty much anything else (diapers, anyone?), she has received mostly toys for birthdays and holidays, which has really thrown a monkey wrench in my plan to keep our small space organized.
Here is a list of 10 things to buy kids instead of toys:
This is at the top of my list because it is a constant need in my home. I constantly have to replace a size or purchase new items for the changing seasons with a growing toddler. Kid’s clothes are costly and wear out quickly, so receiving that as a gift is financially helpful.
2. Magazine subscriptions
My daughter recently received a Highlights magazine subscription and has absolutely loved each edition she has gotten so far. This is the perfect gift idea if you’re looking to purchase something educational. I love it as a parent because it provides kids with vivid stories and activities like coloring, puzzles, and sticker pages that will keep your little ones entertained for hours.
Keeping with the educational theme, books also makes great gifts. You can find children’s books about any topic, so it’s easy to find something your child will enjoy; also, many books come with other perks like an included poster, stickers, plush, or even a matching DVD. Inscribing your name, date, and occasion makes it a great keepsake.
4. Gift cards or a certificate
Giving the child a gift card to the movies or a favorite restaurant can be a great way to spend time together. Allowing them to choose the movie they would like to view or going out to dinner together makes the child feel special. Another option is giving a certificate for a pet that the whole family can pick out together.
5. Membership to a local zoo or aquarium
This is a great gift for children that love animals and enjoy being outside. Unlimited visits are the best feature, but many zoos and aquariums have special events for members only and often will include free guest passes and free parking with a membership.
6. Passes to a local theme park
This is one of the best gifts to give a kid! It allows them to burn off some of that endless energy and is good exercise. Many theme parks also offer a water park and endless dining or snack options, so plan ahead to spend the day. There are usually kiddie rides and play areas and slower-paced rides like a train or ferris wheel suitable for parents to enjoy with their young children.
7. Paying for a class or lesson program
This gift option is versatile, from music, art, or dance lessons, to a one-time paint your own pottery cup class. This gives you many different options to satisfy any child’s interests.
8. Learning tools
This is a great option for kids of all ages. You could get a chalkboard with chalk, an easel with finger paints, or a desk to draw or color at for toddler age. For older kids, science kits or cooking kits are popular and educational.
9. Family experiences
This option would include tickets to the fair or a festival, taking a train ride, going to a sporting event, or even going on vacation! From simple to extravagant, there is an option in this category to fit every budget.
10. Money towards a savings account
This is perhaps the easiest gift to give, as no shopping is required. This is a great option for elderly relatives or friends who may have difficulty traveling to the store or shopping. Paired with a piggy bank, this also makes an ideal first birthday gift to kick start their savings account.