Toddler Gift Ideas (That ARE NOT Toys)

I don’t know about you but I hate when the kids get toys! Birthday, Christmas, just because grandma and grandpa felt like they needed it. They love getting them and after about a month, they’re broken, pieces are missing, and they are not played with again. Then they just sit there…in the toy box…not being played with. Toys end up getting pulled out and left on the floor because nobody wants to play with them and I end up having to clean up this insane mess that wasn’t even used! It’s just a huge cycle that I hate having to go through. 

So about a month ago I went on this crazy toy rampage and I felt guilty throwing them away because I know family and friends have spent their hard earned money on these as gifts. I ended up putting them in a huge container and out in the garage. I went through what they had and decided on keeping the ones that I know they play with and the rest went in this tub. I decided that this winter when we are stuck in the house with not a lot to do we can pull them out and let the boys pick 3-5 that they want and put 3-5  back in the tub. 

BUUUUT this Christmas we are asking that they don’t get any toys but rather something that they really will use and utilize. Something that maybe we can do as a family or that they can really enjoy longer. So with that being said I came up with a list of items to send to grandma and grandpa or aunts and uncles that are asking what the kids would like for Christmas. 

*This post contains affiliate links



Annual pass to a museum, zoo, or local learning center

This one is a great one for the whole family! If you have younger kids that actually get to go for free see if they have a family pass deal that you can ask for your Christmas gift. That way everyone can go and enjoy themselves. 

Yearly Book Subscription

I love when the boys get books. They love engaging in the stories and learning new things. Book subscriptions are a huge yes to this mama! It’s so fun because they love getting a package that is just for them and I love reading the new books because you know, who wants to read Hop on Pop 100 times! Join the story box is a great subscription of children books. Holly, the co-owner, uses her speech-language pathology knowledge and experience to find books that can be used to facilitate your child’s speech, language, and pre-literacy skills.  So you know she’s picking awesome books that help your child learn and grow. 

A Bird Feeder

Something fun that the kids get to enjoy and be responsible for is always exciting. My boys love feeding the birds and watching them come into our backyard. So something like this would be great for them. 

Magazine Subscription

I am a total 90’s kid because I remember getting the Highlight Subscription and I was so excited every month to get this in the mail. I would do the puzzles, read the little “articles” and answered all of the questions they had. If your kids are like mine they would probably love the National Geographic Kids magazine or something similar to this. 

A Watch

Kellan loves watches. He can’t tell time but he still loves them. Finding a good watch that can either help them learn to tell time or that they can read would be perfect! I found this Vtech Kidizoom Smart Watch one that I can’t wait for him to open on Christmas! It even takes pictures and videos!!! 

A Musical Instrument

Kids love loud noises…parents don’t. haha. Music is just essential to life. Getting them started while they’re young is so important. My parents recently got a piano at their house and Kellan loves it! He wants to play every time we go. 

Personal Kitchen Utensils

Getting them their own personal mixing bowl and whisk or measuring spoons is great for them to help you in the kitchen. It also helps keep them busy while you’re trying to cook. Last year he got an apron and chefs hat, so it’s only fitting he gets the utensils

Camping Equipment

My boys love to camp. Getting them a chair to take camping or sleeping bag to take makes it so much more fun to have their own. 

Travel Bag

An overnight toiletries bag kids love. Have a toothbrush, toothpaste, their shampoo, and a couple of little things you know they love at night time. Plus, its super easy just to toss in the bag and send them over to grandma and grandpas house.

Inexpensive Digital Camera

This is actually a fun one because seeing things from their perspective is so cool! My grandma gave Kellan her old digital camera that she didn’t use anymore and he LOVED it. He had me charge it every night  so he could take pictures everyday. He was surprisingly good at capturing photos. It would be a fun craft to print some of the pictures and make a collage for their room. I found this one to be one  of the cheapest.

Dessert Gift Card

I love gifting these to friends kids. Baskin Robbins is my top one I always get. The kids love going in and buying their own treat. Plus it gives me a reason to go get an ice cream for myself!!! 


Without getting into the super pricey telescopes I found this one that would be a great one for any age to start with! This is totally something that the kids can learn and grow with. It’s always fun to learn about the consolation and to see what’s out there. Like I said, this would be perfect for any age kids to start with this one. 

Outdoor Sports Equipment

Anything to get my kids outside is a huge plus in my book.  Outdoor jungle gym, soccer balls, basketball hoops get me excited because I know those aren’t inside toys!! This teeter totter looks like fun. A parachute, digging crane (which we have and love), popup soccer goal, and of course the space dome that the kids have too and have been a huge hit for all the kids that come over. 

I hope this was helpful and if you have any other ideas send them my way because I know grandma and grandpa keep asking what the kids would like this holiday season. If someone is asking you what your toddler might want send them this and let them pick it out so you all are surprised! 


Previous Post Next Post

You may also like


  • Reply Alexandra

    Great ideas here! I pinned it for when my Christmas shopping gets underway.

    November 9, 2017 at 8:26 pm
    • Reply Hey Erin Nicole

      Thank you! That’s great! Hopefully you’ll find some helpful!

      November 10, 2017 at 12:03 am
  • Reply Susannah

    I always ask for musical instruments!

    November 9, 2017 at 11:20 pm
    • Reply Hey Erin Nicole

      They’re seriously so easy and the kids always end up loving them!!

      November 10, 2017 at 12:03 am
  • Reply Larissa

    I love this idea! It makes sense too. Toys are so easily forgotten, and tossed aside, as you said, but these gifts would get way more use and they would be extremely beneficial to the toddler receiving the gift. I’ll definitely have to keep this in mind for when I start a family and my little ones start growing. And you can always think about donating the toys the kids don’t play with anymore…just throwing out an idea 🙂

    November 10, 2017 at 4:53 am
    • Reply Hey Erin Nicole

      All of my boys toys are forgotten. They don’t know realize the ones I put away are gone! Oh and we definitely donate our toys.

      November 13, 2017 at 6:21 pm
  • Reply Erica @ Coming up Roses

    I lovelovelove this list! Kids have so many toys, it’s always fun to look for something else to get them.

    November 10, 2017 at 7:25 am
  • Reply Karyl | Karyl's Kulinary Krusade

    I absolutely love this idea! I don’t have kids myself, but I always find myself buying toys for my friend’s kids. This is so much better, and in the long run the kids will appreciate it more

    November 10, 2017 at 3:35 pm
    • Reply Hey Erin Nicole

      Definitely! I wish before I had kids I thought of doing something like this for my friends!

      November 13, 2017 at 6:22 pm

    Leave a Reply