Kids these days seem to have so much stuff. Then every birthday or Christmas they accumulate more stuff. They just don’t need so much stuff! Not just for the sake of decluttering our homes, but also for the environment. We need to try to reduce the amount of stuff we buy, use, and inevitably throw out. So whether you’re buying for your own children, or someone else’s, Rachel Stewart shares a few non-gift gift ideas to try to cut back on the amount of stuff you’re bringing into the world.

Experience Gifts

Can I start by suggesting if you’re buying an experience gift for someone else’s child firstly check in with the parent to make sure it’s okay. Secondly, maybe offer to take the child on the experience yourself. It’ll make the experience that much more personal, and also won’t be creating more work for the parent. (Unless it’s something you know that they’ll both enjoy doing together.)

Movie Voucher. Consider including a food and beverage voucher with the movie ticket, because getting into the cinema is really only half the cost of the experience! Food can cost as much, if not more, than the movie itself.

Zoo/Aquarium Tickets. You can make these experiences extra special by including an extra pass for the child to get up close to their favourite animal. For example the Melbourne Zoo has “Close-up Encounters” with several animals including meerkats, giraffes and the seals. The Sydney Aquarium has a “Penguin Passport” to get to visit the penguin enclosure. Similar options are available at zoos and aquariums around Australia.

Art Gallery Most galleries have free entry, so the gift is the experience taking them rather than the cost of entry. Making it a perfect budget-friendly non-gift gift idea!

Some more ideas:

  • Trampolining centre
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Play centre
  • Ferris Wheel Ride
  • Joy flight in a helicopter/light aircraft
  • Hot air ballooning
  • Boat cruise/whale watching

Lessons as Gifts

Lessons don’t have to be basic, or boring. Learning a new skill is exciting, challenging, and valuable.

Cooking Lessons. If your child loves cooking, or dreams of being a contestant on Junior Masterchef then cooking lessons are not just fun, but the kids will learn super practical skills as well.

Circus School. Yes, you can send your kid (or someone else’s) away to the circus! They can learn anything from juggling to trapeze.

Horse riding lessons. This was one of my favourite presents as a tween! My parents would either take me on a trail ride or beginner lessons for my birthday. (Until I grew out of my “pony phase”).

Coding Class. Coding is a BIG thing at the moment. Lots of schools run coding camps/clubs either during the school holidays or after schools times. If your child loves technology and wants to learn how to make their own apps coding classes are a great option.

Some more classes/lesson ideas:

  • Music/singing
  • Sports
  • Theatre/performing arts
  • Knitting/sewing
  • Painting
  • Pottery

Charity Gifts

Give children the gift of giving to someone else. Charity gifts not only teach children to think about others, it’s a great way to build their understanding of the world in a positive way.

Buy A Goat. I’d never normally suggest buying someone else’s kid a goat, unless of course it’s through an organisation like Oxfam or World Vision. Goats can provide a family with milk and manure for crops, which gives them food and potentially an income.

Adopt an Endangered Animal. When you adopt an endangered animal from WWF you are making a commitment to pay a select amount monthly, so it’s not a once off gift. However when you sign up to adopt an animal of your choice – elephant, panda, turtle, orangutan, or tiger – you do get a gift pack with information about the animal, and also an optional plush toy.

200 Polio Vaccines. For $51 you can buy 200 polio vaccines from Unicef. This could be a really good non-gift gift idea for a child around their own immunisations. It’s an opportunity to talk about the fact that not all children have the same access to health care. And also how important immunisations are.

You can also always make a donation on behalf of the child to any charity you feel would connect with the child or that you feel passionate about.

Some other great charities include:

I hope that helps give you some ideas for some non-gift gifts you might give to your own children, or someone else’s!

About Rachel

Rachel is a Melbourne base mum of two. She has a background in early childhood education, but always wanted to be a writer. She enjoys knitting, drinking coffee (sometimes wine), spending too much time on Facebook and is a little obsessed with prams. She also writes for her own website Parenting Central.

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