Check out my list below of non-clutter gifts that kids will actually like! These ideas could be as budget friendly (even free!) or extravagant as you want. There are lots of faith-based options as well. Hope this is helpful to you!
I have a small house. And small children. Around birthdays and holidays those two things don’t mesh very well, especially when you are blessed with a very loving and generous extended family! As thankful as we are for all the fun items our kids receive as gifts, sometimes it’s just too much clutter! So last year, I started thinking of some gifts we could give our kids (and put on grandma’s list!) that won’t take up any more space in our little home. Read on if you’re looking for some inspiration for non-clutter gifts that kids of all ages will actually like.
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Museum memberships are a wonderful gift for older children, especially for those who have a special interest like art, science, or history. We are lucky enough to have an awesome kids’ museum right down the street. We received a family membership for our daughter’s birthday. It has been THE most used gift she’s ever received. There are also kids’ gyms, educational websites such as ABCMouse, and professional/college sports teams’ kids clubs. For example, the NFL team in my state has a kids club for only $20/year that includes a t-shirt, other merchandise, a monthly newsletter, and a yearly birthday card- awesome for kids who might not be into museums, but love sports! If your kids are big readers and have a smart device, you can get a membership for the free Kindle app that includes unlimited books and audiobooks from Amazon. Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial Here!
Events and Experiences
There are so many options here that it is sort of insane to even try to list it out. But try I shall:
- a concert
- a ballet performance (My daughter LOVED a local ballet company’s Cinderella performance and tickets were only $8 each. Plus, she got to meet the cast afterwards. Look at your town’s cultural center or even local high schools for cheaper and more kid friendly options than a professional show!)
- a musical or play
- a sports game (again, younger kids would even love local high school games if they are sports fans! No need to break the bank!)
- a trip to an amusement park or water park
- a trip to a festival or fair (We went to a HUGE renaissance festival a few months ago, and the kids loved it! Great for a little princess or knight. Think outside the box!)
- miniature golf
- ice skating
- roller skating
- a trip to a skate park
- a horseback ride (lots of horse farms offer led rides for younger or inexperienced riders, too!)
- a ropes course or zipline course
- a trip to the zoo or aquarium
- a trip to a fun museum (if you can’t afford a membership, go for a day of fun instead!)
- go see a movie at the theater
- a trip to a kids’ gym, indoor play area, or bounce center
- laser tag
- a trip to a really cool park (a local park has $1 rides for a train or carousel, for example)
- a camping, hiking, or fishing trip
My five year old LOVES audiobooks. You’ve got two options here- get a book that comes with audio CDs to follow along, like the Beginner’s Bible above, or just the audiobook to make it a completely clutter-free gift. (Though books are never clutter in my book!) Amazon’s Audible is offering a free 30-day trial with 2 audiobooks included (and you can even keep them if you cancel your subscription later!). I think a little handmade card for an audiobook of their choice would make a great stocking stuffer- and the kids never have to know it was free! In fact, Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks and then print out my FREE “One Audiobook of Your Choice” stocking stuffer cards! Yay for free gifts!
Audio adventures are like old radio shows, when families gathered around and listened together. They are great for when you’re trying to get dinner ready or driving in the car. We really like Adventures in Odyssey by Focus on the Family. They are offering two free episode downloads as stocking stuffers for your kids right now! Sign up to claim your FREE episodes HERE! They also have a membership available for streaming episodes that includes bonuses like their magazine subscription and devotionals.
We like Johnathon Park Adventure Series, too. We call him the teenage Christian Indiana Jones 🙂 You can get the first audio adventure in the series, Jonathan Park The Adventure Begins 1: The Secret of the Hidden Cave, to try it out and see if your kids enjoy it as much as we do! If they do, Jonathon Park also offers a membership for streaming episodes.
Look for classes that would interest your child (or talk to their parents about paying for a class they can schedule). You can find lots of affordable classes, both ongoing and one-time sessions, through your local Parks & Rec Department. Or look at your local library for even cheaper or free options! For our daughter’s birthday last year, we got her a leotard, tights, and slippers to wear to the ballet class for which we signed her up. It was one of her favorite gifts!
Music and Movies
Music is pretty self explanatory…you could go with CDs, an iTunes gift card or Apple Music subscription, or Amazon Music Unlimited, which has a Free 30-Day Trial.
For a faith-based option, we LOVE LOVE LOVE Seeds Family Worship. All of their lyrics are Bible verses, so I get the absolute joy of watching my children sing along to God’s word. My five year old has memorized a bunch of verses, and watching my two year old sing a Psalm? MELTS MY HEART. My punk rocker of a husband even sings along and admits it is the “least annoying” family music he’s heard. LOL. Check out their sound on their YouTube channel.
It’s so exciting for a child to receive their very own mail! A lot of magazines even offer digital subscriptions if you prefer. My kids both LOVE their subscription to Clubhouse Jr. It’s Focus on the Family’s magazine for kids ages 3-7. Their regular Clubhouse magazine (which my nieces and nephews also love) is for ages 8-12. Clubhouse and Clubhouse Jr. are specifically faith-based, but there are other great options, too. My sister and I received that magazine you might remember, Highlights, for years as kids, and today her son enjoys Highlights High Five (for kids 4-7). My husband loved Ranger Rick growing up, with National Geographic Kids being another option for kids who like nature and/or science. American Girl is a good wholesome magazine for preteen girls.
There are also box subscription services like Little Passports, an educational box, or Little Loving Hands, which contains a kit and return envelope to make a craft for a charity. These provide fun, educational, or crafty activities for kids to do!
All of these gifts could be presented in a card with tickets or a homemade voucher. Or with a little something like a new bathing suit for a trip to a water park, supplies for a class, or a little stuffed animal with a tag that says, “Come visit me at the zoo!” Getting creative is so much more fun than just picking out the next $20 toy at Target (which I’ve also done, so no judgement here!). Creativity is great, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the most obvious non-clutter gifts, and arguably the most popular among older children:
Giftcards, Cash, and Consumables
Sometimes letting them pick their own gift is the best gift of all! Or old fashioned gifts like hot chocolate mix, candies, or a cooking kit that will be consumed. Here are some fun ways to present cash as a gift!