Birthday Gift Ideas for Kids That Aren’t Toys

Birthday Gift Ideas for Kids That Aren’t Toys

Do you ever find your kid's 'must have' things or toys broken on the floor, shoved away at the back of a closet, or lost under a bed? When it comes to treating our kids and giving them gifts, how can we minimize the waste and help them learn to value the things they get?


Thinking about birthdays, a time when kids tend to get more gifts than usual, there are options for parents to gift (or ask for gifts) that aren't more toys. It's a good opportunity to have lots of fun while also teaching them that getting gifts can be about more than just collecting new things.


Here are some fun and creative birthday gift ideas to help teach kids about giving, saving, and getting more from their money.

Celebrate a birthday for a cause

If your child is passionate about animals or helping other kids, suggest they celebrate with a birthday for a cause. Have your child choose one cause they care about. In lieu of gifts, friends and family can be asked to donate to your child's chosen cause. This is a great way to teach kids that they can impact change. On their own, they may not be able to give much but as a group, they are able to come together to give more.

Fun funding

Money is a practical and convenient gift to give, especially if you know that the birthday kid is saving up for something. Rather than parents asking guests to give money, your child can request a monetary gift in support of their specific financial goals. You can include an insert with invitations about that new bike they are saving for, or game console, maybe it's a sports camp or their college fund.


This eliminates the guessing game for guests who don't know what your child wants or already has. If your child does have a specific saving goal they are working towards, this will help them get there faster. If not, they can at least choose what to put the money towards.


If your child has a GoHenry debit card, then this can easily be done using Giftlinks. Family and friends can send money using Giftlinks along with personalized birthday messages and fun images.

Give experiences vs. items

A gift doesn't only need to be a physical item. A day pass to a local arcade, amusement park, museum, or tickets to a show, the zoo, or register them to a class, or workshop. This can give kids access to fun and new experiences that they may otherwise not consider. For example, if your child's friend is having a birthday and they both love baking, sign them up for a baking class. Younger kids might get a day pass to play laser tag. Gives them a fun experience they can share together and results in lasting memories.

Donate extra, or duplicate gifts

If your kids do get lots of gifts on their birthday and have more than they need, or received some duplicates, an alternative to returning or exchanging is to encourage them to donate. Having just experienced the joy of receiving gifts, it's a good opportunity to teach them about giving to kids who may not be as fortunate. By giving their extras to a local charity, they learn gratitude for what they have and compassion for others in their community.


Share your thoughts!

Do you have any go-to birthday gift ideas to share? We'd love to hear about it, please share via email or message us on Twitter or Facebook.
Written by GoHenry Published May 12, 2022 ● 2 min. read