Tuesday, October 9, 2018

8 Perfect Gifts for Kids that Aren't Toys

Buying for a little one who has toy boxes full of toys? The last thing you want to do is add to the ever-growing pile, only to have your gift sit unused collecting dust. The better alternative? Ditch the toys and get your favorite little one something that will get plenty of action, like craft supplies, personalized clothes or things that get them active. Thinking about your mini recipient’s strengths—is she a natural-born writer, storyteller, athlete or artist?—will help you determine where to channel your brainstorming and gift-giving efforts! Here’s a great list of some of the best kids’ gifts that aren’t toys to help you knock one out of the park for birthdays, holidays and beyond.

  1. Monogrammed Masterpieces—Who doesn’t love a bespoke kids’ gift? A perfect pick to delight both minis and parents, monogrammed kids’ clothes are exciting because they’re made just for your recipient and they can be matched with grown-up or sibling versions for a cute-as-can-be duo ensemble. You’ll find pint-sized versions of mono classics, with styles for every type of kid, whether she’s sporty, preppy or all-out creative. Go for something adorable yet adult, like a monogrammed vest or a quilted pullover, so your little one can wear it for years to come! The stereotype is that kids tend to be disappointed when they unwrap clothes, but any style-loving little kid or tween will go crazy for something personalized for her.

2. A Pint-Sized Place to Play—This one is especially apropos for kids who have mountains of toys but have grown out of the playing on the floor stage. Give the gift of some scaled down, kid-sized furniture so your munchkin has a designated place to draw, craft and get creative. Whether it’s a miniature sofa or a kid-sized table and chairs, any recipient would be delighted to get this gift for their birthday or a holiday. Make sure to pick a material that’s durable and easy to clean, as you know that this stuff will get ample use in the arts and crafts department.

3. Tailor-Made Lunch Boxes—Practical, cute and made for her, a monogrammed lunch box is an awesome gift for the school-aged child who loves to stand out! Whether you’ve got a kid who’s crazy about art, dance, airplanes, dinosaurs, the outdoors or a special character, a one-of-a-kind lunch box will ensure that they never walk out the door without their lunch. They’ll be the envy of the cafeteria with these sweet staples! We love this non-toy gift as a perfect back-to-school gift or addition to a special first day of school basket or goodie bag, but it also makes an awesome present for summer and fall birthdays.

4. A Coding Robot or Buildable—Don’t tell the kid on your list, but coding robots are a whole bunch of fun masking even more education! While technically considered toys, coding games are designed to help youngsters learn the valuable skill of coding from a very young age, so you can feel good about giving this gift even if it does get stashed in the toy box. There are dozens of new coding toys on the market, with robotic versions that teach kids the fundamentals of coding using physical or digital building blocks for a straightforward approach to this important skill. Since 58 percent of all new jobs in STEM are in computing and 40 percent of schools teach computer programming, these kinds of toys will help kids get ahead in their education and beyond.

  1. Art Supplies for Mini Monet—If it’s not something they can play or wear, make it something that encourages creativity! Kids need all sorts of outlets for self-expression in order to develop socially, mentally and emotionally. For toddlers and little kids, art supplies also help teach fine motor skills and precision, so they’re important to add to the rotation before they head to school. We love the idea of introducing them to art supplies beyond paints and markers, like tempera paints, printmaking supplies or stuff to make collages and origami. These gifts are also great for creating a unique, tailor-made gift basket for birthdays, back to school and holidays.

6. Kid-Sized Workout Gear—Also educational tools masked as toys, kids’ workout equipment—like the Fun and Fitness Treadmill or simply a set of kid-friendly weights—help encourage kids to enjoy physical activity from a young age. While most toys and activities center around stationary play, exercise equipment encourages learning through movement. Not only will these items help to forge a love for getting physical, they’ll also help your youngster develop fine motor skills and build muscle.

7. Special Room D├ęcor—By the time kids advance from the toddler phase and are well into their lives as little boys and girls, they’re going to start to expect some privacy and enjoy quiet time away from the rest of the family. Encouraging little ones to enjoy their own personal space is an important part of their development into independently functioning young adults. Create a space that’s tailored to them, and one that’s filled with plenty of fun and educational toys and games, to help transition them to solo play. Giving a child his or her own space that’s decorated with fun, unique wall art and kid-sized furniture is a great way to start.

  1. Books, Books, Books—Last but certainly not least…books! The most important thing a child has in her personal collection is her books. Studies show that reading activates the part of the brain responsible for understanding language and concepts as well as memory. Not to mention the fact that books encourage creativity, imagination and active listening, skills vital for success in adulthood. When a little one is surrounded by books, she’s much more likely to forge a love for reading, which will become essential in her education and career!

As you can see from the list above, you don’t need a toy to earn big smiles the next time you give a special gift to your favorite little boy or girl! Clothing, art supplies and toys that teach are always a great alternative to toys for birthdays and holidays and are sure to earn you big snaps!

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