Join us as we share our thoughts, tips and insider info on activities, events and services for kids and families in the UAE
18 Excellent Gifts for Kids that aren't even toys!
All of us who have children have too many toys scattered throughout the house. No matter how diligent we are about keeping them at bay, it seems to be a constant fight. It's especially hard when special days come and we want to give gifts to our children, or grandparents want to give gifts.
Gifts are good things!
But, too much of anything isn't good.
A great way to combat having too many toys is to shift all the gifts to non-toy items.
Music, dance, riding, drawing — classes are a great way to encourage children in their interests and let them know that you pay attention to them and what they enjoy. Our Things To Do directory in Dubai and Abu Dhabi is a great place to start :-)
Zoo, science museum, children's museum, YMCA membership, etc. These are particularly great for family gifts! Many young families want to enjoy day outings, but affording them can be a challenge, so give them the gift of a yearly membership. Annual memberships are available for Yas Waterworld, Lego Land and Kidzania.
Kids enjoy getting things in the mail. Why not encourage their reading by getting them a magazine subscription for something they are interested in!
Movie tickets, or tickets to a play, concert or sports event are really exciting! Having an event to look forward to makes the rest of life more enjoyable.
Mini golf, bowling, skating rink. These are so much fun! And a big part of the fun is going together. Children love spending time with the adults in their lives; they want to see you enjoying your time as well as enjoying them.
6. Recipe and Ingredients
Kids love cooking with their parents. Baking something special or cooking dinner is an ideal time to spend together and learn life skills. Print out a recipe, purchase all the ingredients and set a date for cooking together. A great option is Bake 'N Cake - a subscription service that provides all teh ingredients and recipes for you to get baking with the kids!
7. Crafting Date
Many children love making crafts. Moms and Dads do, too. But we rarely take time out to do it with them. These crafting dates mean the world to our creative little tots. Keep a basket of craft supplies and get out a book for inspiration. We like The Happy Box & Creative Minds for our crafting goodies!
8. Arts and Crafts supplies
If your craft box is running low, stock up a little on things you need. Add in something fun the kids haven't used before. A gift of arts and crafts supplies often brings on the imagination, and kids can't wait to get to work! Stock up at Creative Crafts or Creative Minds.
An envelope of coupons that they can "spend" at any time: I'll do one chore — no questions asked; movie and popcorn night, you pick the movie!; 1:1 game of cards or basketball (whatever the child's interest is in); sit and read a book with me; stay up 1/2 hour past bedtime.
10. Restaurant Gift Card
Dinner, ice cream, coffee, cupcake — whatever suits their fancy! Give them the freedom of inviting whomever they wish: it may be mom or dad; it may be a grandparent, aunt or even teacher they would like to spend more time with.
11. Dress-Up Clothes
These do need to be limited, but two dresses and a couple play silks can get hours and hours of play! Our favourite spots for dress-up costumes are Mr. Ben's Costume.
Books really are the gift that keep on giving! Whether you opt for a book subscrition service such at KitaBox or The Little Owl, or a library service that delivers books to your door like Bookish.ae - you're sure to find something that appeals to your child.
When kids only have a certain amount of clothes, they often enjoy getting clothes. Make it a point to get something that fits their style. That may mean Western clothes, superhero, fancy dresses, etc.
If your child is a foodie, they will love this! Some homemade granola or cookies made just for them is a special treat!
15. Outdoor Supplies
If you are an outdoorsy family, giving kids their own fishing tackle or gardening equipment can be a big deal. It's also something that gets left on the shelf in the garage, so you always know right where to find it.
16. Telling Time
Many children these days don't know how to read analog, or find it takes too long to think about it, so they search for a digital watch. Getting them a cool watch makes them want to be able to tell time on it. Boys, girls, and even teenagers can be excited about this.
17. Games and Puzzles
Games and puzzles are great activities for when kids have to be indoors. It's a good practice to have individual quiet times during the day, and having a puzzle to sit and work on by themselves helps brain development and problem solving skills. Games teach a lot, too! My kids talk about how they passed geography, just because we played Risk when they were little. Monopoly and Payday have been popular and help cement math skills. Memory games are great for younger children. Kidore and Mumzworld have some great options and super deals!
Many children like to know what is going on, what day it is, how many days until ____. These kids are the ones who want to know what the plan is for the day, the order in which things will happen, what time friends are expected over, etc. They struggle with spur-of-the-moment and can be frustrating if you are a spontaneous parent. But celebrate it! These children have many strengths, and make our world run more smoothly. :-) Embrace their inner schedule and get them their own calendar. They can write down their own classes, appointments, playdates, etc. And if they ask you, send them to their calendar so they can get used to being in control of their own schedule. You can even schedule "spontaneous days," so they know that something different will happen that day. Trust us, it will help them enjoy the spontaneous outings! Check out the personalised family calendars by Stuck On You.
For more ideas and inspiration - check out our Pinterest board!