Are you tired of saying no more toys to family and friends? Here’s a list of great experience gift ideas that are unique and creative experiences.
There’s nothing more exciting than watching your children interact and play with one another. It’s the clean up that drives parents mad.
When our kids refuse to clean their mess during the week, I let them know that things will go in the donation pile.
Although cleaning up is how the kids earn money around here, they seem to fight over who will put things away unless it’s assigned to them.
After discussing the kids’ house chores with my husband, I learned there was more to this madness. In fact, I needed to start minimizing the number of things in our home.
Why Too Many Toys Isn’t A Good Thing
Aside from the obvious reasons why having too many toys can be overwhelming in a home, there’s the idea of children getting easily bored.
It’s no surprise to find yourself waiting for the day your child outgrows their toys. More so when it’s everywhere all the time.
Organizing an area in your home for the kids to play is a great way to engage the children. It helps them understand where things go.
Some parents even try toy rotation to help tame the madness. I think it’s a great way to get the most out of your kid’s toys.
Having too many play items available at a time can also distract kids and cause a lack of focus. It’s been said to decrease creativity in kids.
What To Look For When Buying Toys For Kids
There are a number of things to keep in mind when you buy toys for kids, especially someone else’s child. The parents might even tell you no more toys for birthdays and holidays.
This is something you should always pay attention to, especially during the holidays. There are other ways to entertain children that don’t involve much.
Simply telling your family and friends “no more toys” isn’t enough. You need to show them why.
Recently, I did an experiment of my own with the kids. The house was a mess and I needed them to help with picking up their toys.
After 10 minutes of arguing with each other over who will put what away, I told them to take it to the couch and wait for me to finish cleaning.
The kids loved the idea of sitting and not having to clean up. What they failed to notice was how all their toys were being put away.
At first, my husband was against the idea of taking all the kids’ toys away. My husband didn’t believe taking the toys away was the answer until he saw what it did to the kids.
With time, my husband began to realize how it was the best thing for them. On the first day, our middle child picked up a dinosaur book from our bookshelf and started naming all the dinosaurs.
That same afternoon, our firstborn arrived home from school to find not a toy in sight, so he completed his homework and made time for his brother and sister.
Here’s proof from our Instagram feed:
Even the dogs wanted to be next to them and the dogs didn’t have to kick LEGO pieces out of the way to get there.
During the day, you could see the kids were engaging more as time went on. No one fought over anything.
They actually helped each other reach for things like snacks and pieces of paper to draw. I kept sending my husband photos throughout the day and reminding him of how proud I was of their connection.
What Not Having Toys Meant
Without toys, our kids were pushed to interact with one another, and even with the pups. I found our youngest petting and smiling with our French mastiff. It was a sweet moment for the two since they won’t often get to spend time together.
It also meant the kids wouldn’t have a reason to argue since everyone had the same entertainment — each other. No one argued about not having Buzz Lightyear or that the baby had taken their LEGO creations apart.
I was happy to see that I had less to clean up before bed. Reading books was once again the best way to use our imaginations. Although the kids use their minds throughout the day, it does come in handy to have them picture ideas from stories.
Did I mention we also cut back on TV use?
Not having toys meant they didn’t think about the characters they were playing with. No one wanted to watch “their shows” on Netflix. In fact, they wanted to help me cook and put ingredients away.
Although our kids are very much involved with kitchen duties (they love cooking and helping with the dishes), not having toys made them want to find other ways to play.
They set up our living room table as a kitchen — something they hadn’t done in a long time — and cooked for me. It was sweet and the combinations they made were interesting.
We even took a day from the week to go and play at a nearby playground. The boys enjoyed taking off their shoes and running around for a bit.
On Friday night, we made a deal with the kids. As long as they cleaned up, they’d be able to play with their LEGO pieces again.
The kids cleaned up that night and we went to sleep excited for the next day. Creations were everywhere throughout the next morning since our middle child wakes up before everyone to play.
It was funny because he had mentioned the day before how clean the floor was without the toys all over the place.
Oh, the irony!
The best toy a child can ask for is you, and all of your attention for at least 30 minutes. This is something my husband has always shown me.
No matter how exhausted he is, my husband makes the time to dedicate all of his attention to the kids (pups included). Honestly, I admire that about him.
Some days will be tough, I can assure you this. The truth is, you’re all your family needs.
Make time for them. They’ll thank you for it. Be that fun mom you know you can be!
Gifts For Kids With Too Many Toys
Creating moments with your family is what the holiday season is all about. This year, forget about the toys.
Start focusing on making memories with the kids. From simple gifts to family trips, these 5 great experience gift ideas for families who say they want no more toys on their list.
1. A trip to a local museum
Florida has a variety of museums that our family enjoys. You can discover some that are in your area through a simple Google search.
Ask your friends about any recent museums they’ve visited and would recommend for your family. There are museums that offer gift options for their admissions and would be a thoughtful present for someone you love.
2. An arcade experience for the family
Does anyone else enjoy a little family competition as must as I do? The arcade is a great place to blow off some stress.
Going to the arcade is a fun way to remind your family of the importance of teamwork. Break off into two groups and see who scores the most points.
3. A learning experience for someone you love
Registering someone to do a class in something they’ve been meaning to learn is always a wonderful surprise. You can look into options available online or in-person locations as well.
4. A season of sports
Aside from teaching your family and friends about the value of teamwork, it’s important to show them as well. Sports is one of the ways my family and I do this for the kids.
5. A visit to a theater or stadium.
Experience gifts help you share a memory with those you love. A trip to a theater or a stadium might spark an interest in them that they didn’t know was there.
For instance, a game at the baseball stadium is a great way to enjoy ballpark food and some clean competition.
17 responses to “Gift Ideas For Parents Who Say No More Toys For The Kids”
This sounds like such a great idea. My kids don’t play with toys a whole lot anymore. For me, it would probably have to be taking electronics away. I’m sure this would work out great too.
This is a great idea! I love when my kids are forced to hang out with one another when they have nothing else to do!
wow! I am impressed by this result. I can’t believe it! Maybe I should try it too!
A powerful post for any parent to read and reflect upon. You are so insightful saying that the best toy we could ever create is the time spent with kids, and with each other!
It’s awesome that it has a great result! We’ve never tried it but I will suggest this with my sister.
Thanks, Ruth. It might be worth trying before the holiday season.
I will give this a try with my grandson. You can’t believe how obsessed he is with trains and once he starts setting up the tracks, there will be no more living room floor to walk on! I will do it gradually until he learns that there are other fun things and worthwhile things to do than to play with trains.
Eileen, it wasn’t easy at first. Honestly, I had to start somewhere and test my theory of when the toys are out, they act up. It turns out I was right.
My kids rarely play with their toys as it is. Taking them away means there’s less for them (and me) to clean up and more open visual space to be creative.
These are some great ideas for gifts for kids that aren’t toys. When I used to do a LOT of blog reviews with my first blog Happily Blended, OMG the kids had so many toys and gifts and all of that jazz. I found they didn’t play with them all, so eventually we donated them and now the kids are tweens/teens who don’t play toys. we have some legos that’s about it. I love the idea of an experience as a gift.
These are wonderful ideas. My boys are older so they are past the toy thing but these are great to keep them\ off devices
My kids are the happiest when we are the strictest. When we lessen the toys and TV, they seem happier and more creative. They play games together, do puzzles and word searches and spend more time chatting.