30 Non Toy Gift Ideas

toy box

It’s easy to flip through a catalogue or stroll down the toy isle and find hundreds of toys to buy for kids for Christmas. But if your household is like mine, and you already feel like you’re drowning in toys, perhaps leaning towards non-toy stocking fillers this Christmas might be in order. So I’ve compiled a list of 30 non toy gift ideas.


I know, it’s not always the most thrilling gift for a child, but as we’re approaching the new year and a new season now is good time to go through all the kids drawers and sort through what clothes fit now, and what they might have out grown – or will outgrow before the weather turns cold again and work out what they might actually need. Clothes don’t have to be boring, find their favourite themes, characters, animals or colours.


Again this doesn’t have to be boring. Think about themes, characters and colours they might like.

Wall hangings or decals

pictures, posters, paintings to hang on the wall – even photos to display in their room of family like this family tree decal or decal that suits their interests or room décor.

School or Preschool supplies

Uniform, hat, new shoes, pencil case, library bag, lunch box, drink bottle, school bag, art supplies.

Personalised Items

Earlier in the year I ordered personalised hats from Tinyme.com and the kids loved having their names printed onto their hats.

Treats and Lollies

Little story about my childhood: my parents didn’t let us drink soft drink, or buy us lollies they didn’t even let us have sugary cereals like coco pops and fruit loops, but every year Santa would fill up a stocking with the sugary treats and my brother and I would be smug about the fact our parents couldn’t stop us having them because they were a gift. I realise now how very clever my parents were.

Beach Supplies

Swimmers, goggles, snorkel, bucket and space, body board, beach ball, towel, beach bad, sun hat, sunnies – and of course the promise of a beach trip!

Knitting Loom

I know loom bands are still popular but this year I’m getting my very keen loom banding son a knitting loom for Christmas. It uses the same basic skills but instead of scattering the house with tiny pieces of rubber, he could actually start to learn how to make scarves and beanies.

Perler Beads

I get this is a counterproductive suggestion after the knitting loom, because this ABSOLUTELY will result in tiny bits of brightly coloured plastic all over your house. On the plus side they are much easier to vacuum than loom bands, and you can make some pretty awesome things with them. I probably use and enjoy tthem as much as my son does.

Kinetic Sand

I won’t lie, I kind of want this for myself. I’m totally hypnotised by the videos. The only reason I hesitate is sand is my arch nemesis and I just can’t see how this won’t up driving me absolutely crazy…. But still… I just want to touch it.

Play doh sets

Play Doh is probably only slightly less mess than Kinetic Sand, but there are lots of really cool Play Doh sets, from Peppa Pig to Frozen and even Angry Birds branded Play Doh.

Craft supplies

Pencils, textas, paper, paints and brushes, glue and collaging items, glitter, canvases, an easel, black/white board and chalk/markers, origami paper, stickers, scrap booking kits etc etc etc

Science kits

Think telescopes, microscopes, model generators, sea monkeys – basically anything you can buy from a National Geographic store.

Magazine Subscriptions

Speaking of National Geographic, magazine subscriptions are the gift that keeps on giving, every month (or however often the publication runs). There are a number of magazines for young children.

Cooking equipment

Cookie cutters, shapes silicone bake ware, brightly coloured mixing utensils or rolling pin, child-sized apron or a special step for the kitchen for them to help and watch you. Otherwise simply print off a recipe and purchase the ingredients and the gift is a cooking day together. If you’re not keen on baking from scratch maybe a pre-baked gingerbread house with pre-made icing, assembly is all that is required, which are $12 from Coles would be more your style.


Nobody can ever have too many books. Buy them your favourite books from your childhood if you can, or when people ask what to buy them suggest they do the same. Maybe buy them non-fiction books about topics that interest them, especially to go alongside a science kit.


Sign them up for a class they’d enjoy, whether it’s a sport, dancing, a music instrument, drama, cooking or learning a language.


Tickets to take them to a museum, zoo, aquarium, or just movie tickets or a meal voucher and take them out on a special outing just for them.

Dress ups

These can be the usual costumes, like fireman, nurse, cowboy, knight etc or dress up as characters from their favourite shows or movies, or even dig through your own wardrobe or head to an op shop to give them a collection of play clothes to make up their own outfits.

Sporting Equipment

you may or may not count these are “toys” but just tossing it in here, bats, balls, rackets, mini-golf set, a basketball hoop, totem tennis. And of course bikes, scooters, roller blades or skate boards. Also all the safety gear that go with them, helmets, knee and elbow pads and so on.

Outdoors Equipment

If your family is into hiking, fishing, boating, camping, maybe think about a back pack, torch, sleeping bag, child-sized camping chair and table, fishing rod and tackle.


These don’t even have to cost a thing if you’ve already got an old smart device laying around. Leave the SIM card out and lock the settings, access Wifi to download some games and your child now has their very own game device.

Gardening Supplies

Small shovel and watering can, or seeds and a sprouter kit.

Bedroom Furniture

Book shelve, toy shelves or other kids of storage or display. Some kind of amazing bed.

Hobby or Collection Starter

Start them off collecting coins, stamps, gem stones.

Card and Board Games

Matching cards for playing snap, go fish or memory games. Classic board games like Checkers, Chess or Backgammon. Or more modern games like Monopoly, Scrabble, Pictionary, (Junior) Trivial Pursuit, Bop It, Pop Up Pirate, Twister and so on.


Depending on their age and ability simple matching puzzles, like these wooden ones by Melissa & Doug or complicated Jigsaw Puzzles.

Personalised Christmas Decoration

Especially for a first Christmas for a new baby or year after year to create a collection of unique decorations.

Gift of Naming a Star

there are several organisations which allow you to name a star and they come in a range of prices from about $40 from the National Geographic to $300 from The Sydney Observatory.

Charity Gifts

If your child has everything then maybe give a gift to those in need on your child’s behalf. Unicef have a great range of gifts including gifts of disease prevention, education and play, health and nutrition and water.

Rachel Stewart

Rachel is the founder of Parenting Central. She is raising two children, boy and girl, with her partner. Rachel is obsessed prams, car seats, carriers and all things baby. She has worked in the baby industry for several years, for both suppliers and also in a retail setting and has developed a passion for connecting parents with the right products to make their lives easier. When Rachel isn't playing with prams she's enjoys crocheting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine) and spending a little too much time on Facebook.

One Comment

  1. Nooooo, don’t buy school supplies and give them as Christmas presents! That’s just heartbreaking to get as a kid. Basically you’re giving them something you have to buy them anyway and pretending it’s a gift. It’s just cruel.

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