10 Gift Ideas For Kids – That Are NOT Toys

I don’t know about your house, but my house has way too many stuffed animals hiding in beds and in closets, as well as un-played with plastic toys and small knick-knacky toys hiding under furniture. Every Christmas I try and come up with non-toy gifts that I know my daughter, as well as other kids we buy gifts for, will love. With that in mind, here are some fun gift ideas for kids – that are not toys!

10 fun gift ideas for kids – that are NOT toys.png

1)   Magazine Subscriptions

Whether the child is a nature-lover, crafty kid or likes quick facts, magazines such as Highlight, WILD Kids Magazine, Chirp and OWL are perfect for kids. They are quick reads, full of colourful pictures, and usually have many facts and puzzles.

2)   Books

Whether they are early, emerging or advanced readers, books make great gifts for kids of all ages! And if you’re unsure what kinds of books a child may want, a gift card for a local bookstore works just as well. AND if the child is not a reader – what about a notebook and artistic pencils or pencil crayons? Or a fact or joke book?

3)   Science Kits

Local stores such as Tag Along Toys offer many fun and educational science kits for kids of all ages! From creating candy to making your own soap, building a volcano to making batteries out of potatoes, science kids are always a hit for the inquisitive kid who likes to learn how things are made and how things work.

4)   Museum passes

Ottawa is lucky to have so many fun and engaging museums! Whether you decide on a 3-in-1 museum pass, a pass to the Canadian Museum of History or the Canadian Museum of Nature, you are giving kids a gift that will keep on giving (and a place to see and things to do all year long!).

5)   Movie passes or a movie date

If the kids in your life love movies, why not give them a gift card to the movie theatre! This time of year, Cineplex Odeon has a great deal on $40 gift certificates that includes coupons for lots of free stuff, such as popcorn! You could also create a coupon that promises them a movie date (complete with popcorn, of course).

6)   Sleeping bag or an “overnight bag”

If you’re a grandparent, aunt, uncle or Godparent, the gift of a sleeping bag or overnight bag filled with everything kids need to make a sleepover comfortable and fun is usually unexpected – and knowing that it comes with a sleepover with their favourite people makes it fun and something to look forward to long after it is unwrapped! You can have a lot of fun building this gift by including travel games, travel towels, treats, etc.

7)   Blanket or pillow with a picture on it

Think about what your kids love to do, who they adore or if you have pets – think of how incredible it would be for them to have a blanket or pillow to cuddle with that on it! Photo blankets and photo pillows are a unique, personal gift that can be purchased from the comfort of your home computer and is sure to be a hit for kids of all ages. 

8)   A butterfly or bat House kit

If your kid is a nature lover then these kits that can be found at Lee Valley Tools or Home Depot are sure to be a hit. They can spend the winter building and decorating them as well as researching and thinking of a good place to put them come spring.

9)   Fun socks or pajamas

It’s a well-known fact that many kids don’t get excited when they receive clothes as gifts, so why not put a spin on it and find some funky socks or pajamas! One year we bought my daughter knee-high narwhal socks that continue to be a hit (holes and all).

10)  Kitchen tools

I am all about getting kids involved in the kitchen, so why not invest in some kid-safe kitchen tools so they can help you bake and cook! You can even make copies of some of their favourite recipes and create their very own personalized cookbook!

What not-toy gifts do you enjoy giving the kids in your life? We’d love to know!

Give the Gift of Experience: The Canadian Museum of Nature

The Canadian Museum of Nature is known at our house as "the castle." Every time we pass the stately structure on the 417, my girls catch a glimpse and cry "the castle, the castle!"

Although it does not house any royals (of the human kind,) the Museum of Nature takes children on a wild ride through natural history, with world-class galleries featuring dinosaurs, mammals, birds, dazzling minerals and rocks, live invertebrates, and a water gallery with a 19 metre-long blue whale skeleton!

The 100 year-old museum building is 4 stories high, and children love to climb the stairs or ride the giant elevators. Each floor has permanent exhibits, as well as special exhibits that are open for months at a time (one of our favourites was Bugs Outside the Box, and we're excited to check out Reptiles).

In the fossil gallery, travel back in time to meet the dinosaurs

The water gallery holds a skeleton of the largest animal in the world, and is a family favourite.

The beautiful dioramas in the Mammal Gallery create life-like scenes of animals' habitats.

The Bird Gallery is my daughters' favourite

That's where they get to play "veterinarian" to all the sick birds. While they're distracted, I get to sneak over and read a bit about some of my favourite birds.

IMG_1139.JPG

Bug-loving kids will love Nature Live, where they can view live insects and participate in scientific activities.

And that's just the beginning! There is the Stone Wall Gallery, Earth Gallery, Canadian Wildlife Photography of the Year, and 3D movies. There are also the super popular adult programs, such as Nature Nocturne (with themes such as Chinese New Year or Halloween), and special brunches on New Year's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day and Easter.

So if you are looking for an experiential gift for your children (or pssst, grandparents! This makes a great gift for you and the kiddos too!) look no further than a yearly membership to "the castle."

And don't forget!! You have TWO MORE DAYS to enter our Holiday Giveaway, where you get a chance to win a yearly membership to the Canadian Museum of Nature!

This post is part of our 2016 Holiday Campaign, with support from Tag Along ToysThe Canadian Museum of NatureSaunders Farm and Ooka Island. Make sure to enter our giveaway!

Simplifying Christmas

by Kamerine

I like the idea of getting my kids whatever they want, providing them with all the toys that I never had growing up.  I want them to be happy.  But then I think about it and realize that more toys isn't the way to make them happy.  I want them to understand that Christmas isn't about the stuff, it's about the memories.  I want them to appreciate what they have and know that they're lucky because they have a bed to sleep in and roof over their head, toys to play with and each other.

They are kids though and kids like stuff.  So what now?  How do I give them stuff without giving them too much?

It was a few years ago I was reading posts on a pregnancy/baby forum that I came across a little idea about Christmas.  A way to make it simple but special for the kids.  It's something that we've adopted for our family and you might want to as well.

It's easy, and it rhymes.  Here it is:

Something you want,

something you need.

Something to wear,

something to read.

Every Christmas my kids will be getting 4 gifts from us:  a toy of some sort, something practical, a new outfit and a book.  We add in a new pair of pajamas to be opened Christmas Eve, because I love that tradition, and a gift from Santa.

My kids are still a bit young but we will be explaining this to them as they get older and plan to stick to these 4 things to keep Christmas simple but special.  I really hope this will help them understand that Christmas isn't just about the stuff and while it's nice to get toys it's nicer to spend time with family and friends.

I would love to hear about any traditions your family has for keeping things simple at Christmas.

Kamerine is mom to 3 year old Little J and 1 year old Baby K.  She documents her life with two toddlers, a husband and a cat at followk.blogspot.ca.

Enhanced by Zemanta