Have you ever looked around your home and thought your child has everything they could possibly dream of? The latest and greatest toys and yet, they hardly play with them?
Don't worry; you are not alone; in fact, it's probably time to encourage family and friends to give gifts that aren't just more "stuff".
If you're anything like us and looking for gifts that aren't toys that will teach real-life skills, instil a passion for learning and create long-lasting memories, here are seven great ideas for kids of all ages.
Books are the gift that keeps on giving and an excellent alternative to toys. Even now as a thirty-something adult with five kids, some of my favourite books as a child were the ones the books with little notes and messages inscribed on the inside cover by family including by belated grandparents
A monthly subscription
Give them a gift that will keep them busy such as an Octobox subscription box. Octobox is a monthly education box beneficial for all kids aged between 5-9 filled with fun activities to work on developing fine motor skills. Curiosity Box is another adventurous box that will open your child to a world of STEM with various experiments that kids love.
Dress up clothes
Scrap the crap and consider investing in some costumes. Roleplay has many developmental benefits from expanding their vocabulary, emotional development, imitation, motor skills and most of all, imagination. When children engage in dress-up, whether it be a princess or a dragon, their imaginations allow them to whatever they want to be.
While money is a great gift, contributing to a savings account is an excellent way of putting away money for college, a car, or whatever they choose when they come of age. They might not love it now, but they will thank you in years to come. Alternatively, you could give them small change for their piggy bank with the aim of teaching them the value of money.
Gifts for others
It is important to teach children the value of paying it forward and passing on a good fortune, so why not donate to a charity on their behalf. You could adopt a seal from the Sealion Sanctuary in Wexford, or perhaps you know someone with an illness and could donate to their hospital towards the treatment or for research for a cure.
Who doesn't love getting mail? My kids do, that for sure. My eldest gets magazines delivered monthly, and she reads them back to back before completing the puzzles, crosswords and the colouring pages they are adorned with. The National Geographic Kids is the perfect gift costing little over €2 a month, but Lego Life is a more pocket-friendly alternative because it's free and well, you don't have to tell the kids that part.
By gifting a child an annual membership or a once-off pass you are providing them with an experience to get outdoors and active to explore a place they love whether it is a museum, the zoo or even a concert. Not only are they perfect for entertaining over the midterms and school holidays, but these type of experience gifts also bring memories that last a lifetime.