175+ Toy-Free Gift Ideas!

Ok friends,

I am so excited to share this with you.  I am trying to make a commitment to my family to live with a little less clutter, and only bring things into our space that serves our family.  This includes gifts from family and friends on birthdays and holidays.  So, share my site with your family and friends so they can also receive a copy of this list.  There are six sections, and what my family likes to do is choose one item from each category per child for our shopping list:

Section 1: Books

Section 2: Puzzles, Games, and Projects

Section 3: Sports and Physical Activity

Section 4: Music and Art

Section 5: Experiences

Section 6: Non-Toy Favorite Character Gifts

I hope you find this list useful!  If you do share this list, here is a note to your loved ones to give them an idea why you want them to pick from this list of ideas for gifts for your children:

Dear Friends, Parents, Grandparents, Aunts, and Uncles,

We are so grateful that you have thought of our child(ren) and want to give them a gift this special occasion! They are so thrilled and so thankful! In lieu of toys, we would like you to consider the following list of non-toy options. This will help us as a family to limit the amount of clutter and overstimulation in our home.  Plus, these ideas will enrich our child(ren)’s lives in ways toys may not. These ideas are designed to provide children with educational tools, time with loved ones, and life skills and experiences that add value to their lives.

Thank you!

Note: There are links provided to help you find the products listed.  Many of the links are affiliate links.

This list is for your own purposes, not to be reproduced or resold.  Thank you!

Jodi Chaffee
The Home & Family Culture Podcast

Notice: Many of the links provided are affiliate links. See my disclosure page for details. If the link says “nonaffiliated” it means I just like their stuff, but I am in no way being compensated.

You can also see where this was published on the Meridian Magazine here!

Section 1: Books

Book with a recording read by you

Read me your favorite book for my age in person or over video call.  Make it a regular date if the book is long

Elementary Age Books (link includes some games and movies)

Middle School Age Books (and games)

High School Age Books (and games)

Classic Books (see also Classics tjed.org nonaffiliated)

Early Reader books:

Henry and Mudge

Nate the Great

“I Can Read”

“Step Into Reading”

Frog and Toad Collection

DK Readers

Scholastic Readers

World of Reading

National Geographic Readers

Green Light Readers

Magic Treehouse Series

“Ready to Read”

Annie and Snowball

Mr. Putter and Tabby

“Let’s Read and Find Out”

A-Z Mysteries

Rainbow Magic Series

Fancy Nancy Series

Nancy Clancy Series

Chapter Book Series

Math Books

Science Books

Poetry Books

Living Books

Libraries of Hope Subscription (welleducatedheart.com nonaffiliated)

Classic Children’s Literature

Great Books Series

The Bookshelf for Boys and Girls

My Book House Series

The Children’s Hour Series

Colier’s Junior Classics

Childcraft Series

Non-Fiction Books

Historical Fiction Books

Classic Comic Books or Age-Appropriate Graphic Novels

Youth Classic Series

Enchanted Forest Chronicles

Enid Blyton (Author)

Half Magic series

Edith Nesbit (Author)

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings

The Chronicles of Narnia

Green Ember series

Fablehaven series and Brandon Mull (author)

Harry Potter series

Blackwell Pages series

Percy Jackson series

Anne of Green Gables

Jennifer A Nielsen (author)

The Reckoners series

Dawn of Wonder

Keeper of the Lost Cities series

Princess Academy

Be my pen pal


Book Lamp

Meet Authors

Usborne books

Magazine Subscriptions

National Geographic Kids (6-12)

Click (3-7)

Muse (9-14)

Dig (Grades 4+)

Cricket (9-14)

Ask (7-10)

Faces (Grades 4+)

Ingredient Magazine (6-12)

Highlights (6-12)

Boy’s Life (7-14)

American Girl (8+)

Audible Subscription

Reading apps


Apple Book Apps





Headphones for audiobooks

MP3 players

Bluetooth speakers for audiobooks

Take me to a bookstore

Girl Power books

Boy Power books

Bookstore giftcard

Read to me your favorite book when you were my age

Plan a Poetry Teatime with me and read poetry to me (bravewriter.com, nonaffiliated)

Section 2: Puzzles, Games, and Projects

Board Games


Classic Games





Card Games

Math Games & Games that encourage mathematical thinking:

Settlers of Catan

Wild Life Adventure



Scotland Yard



Forbidden Desert

Guess Who?


Exploding Kittens





Base 10 Blocks



Puzzle/Activity books

Logic Games and Puzzles



Chocolate Fix

IQ Fit


Lego design books

Cooperative Games

Origami books

iPhone/Android apps


Language Arts


Gardening Book


Michaels/Hobby Lobby Giftcard

Crochet Kit

Model Car Kit

Science Kit

Sewing Supplies

Sewing Patterns

Friendship Bracelet Kit

Butterfly kit

Section 3: Sports and Physical Activity



Sports Equipment

Tickets to a sporting event with you

Gym/Playground Equipment

Take me bowling (kidsbowlfree.com nonaffiliated)

Gym Passes

Playhouse Passes

Arena Passes

Pool Passes

Park Passes

Meet My Favorite Athletes

Camping Gear/Hiking gear

Lawn Games

Surf board, bathing suits, swimming gear

Winter sports gear

Take me to a skating rink

Take me to see a competition, like a dog show, equestrian tournament, skateboarding, etc.

Bike/Roller Blades/Skateboard

Equestrian Lessons

Lessons/teams through local YMCA or county recreation centers

Section 4: Music  and Art




Concert Tickets

Theatre Events

Video of you playing your instrument/singing

CD/MP3s of your favorite music

Play Along Sheet Music

Art Supplies

Art Gallery passes

Nature Journal

Visit an art gallery with me

Art pieces for study or decoration

Art Books

Meet Artists

Coloring Books




Mp3 Player

Bluetooth Speaker

Family Photo Shoot

Modeling Clay

Paint Supplies

Maestros Classics CDs

A Photo Album of memories and family, e.g. Chatbooks

Kitchen tools

Voice Lessons

Take me to the theater to see a production or concert

Take me to see a movie

Section 5: Experiences

Video of you telling a story about you or our family

Video of you telling a story about me

Video or collection of images of my ancestors

Concert Tickets

Zoo pass

Circus tickets

Museum pass

County Fair

Sporting Event


Academic or Art Camps

Travel Tickets

Restaurant Giftcards

Date Night with You

Theme Park Tickets

Historic Site-Seeing

Journals for Kids

Monthly Project Subscription (cratejoy.com, nonaffiliated)

Solve a Mystery subscription box (cratejoy.com, nonaffiliated)

jam.com Lessons

College Tuition


Nice Clothes

Factory Visits

Family/Individual Photo Shoots

Skill Lessons

Movie Theater gift cards

Be my pen pal

Help me with my projects for school, church, scouts, etc.

Help me build something

Stocks and/or Bonds (don’t forget to teach me about them)

Hiking or Camping with me

Teach me to build an Ecommerce business

Start a Blog Together

Breakfast Date

Nature Hike

Photo journaling excursion

Photo Scavenger Hunt

Start a Young Statesman/Stateswoman Program with me (tjed.org, nonaffiliated)

Start a Hope Chest Journey with me (mentoringourown.com, nonaffiliated)

Work on The Strenuous Life with me (http://www.artofmanliness.com, nonaffiliated)

Help me with my Scouting requirements

Help me with Personal Progress, Faith in God, or Duty to God Requirements (LDS.org, nonaffiliated)

Mini Golf, Lazer Tag, Go-Carting, Tubing, Water Parks

Surprise Mini Vacation

Take me shopping

tinkergarden.com (nonaffiliated)


Section 6: Non-Toy Favorite Character Gifts

(These are gifts that have your child’s favorite characters on them, but aren’t action figures or toys)





Lunch Boxes, Water Bottles, Dishes

Umbrellas Raincoats Boots


Tickets to Shows


Coloring Books

Dress Up Clothes


Character Bandages

Character Soaps, Toothpaste/Brushes


Character Watches


Stickers, Sticker Books


And, since I’m not the only one who loves this idea, here are so more resources that also have great ideas (I have no association or agreement with these, I just like their ideas, too!):

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