By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
14 gifts to give children that are NOT toys
89f4634f68d45eb0b14d856b4631297e412ec076ee2b614c0b9c481d6575859d
Not all gifts you give your child have to be toys. For ways to enhance your childs life and help them learn and grow, consider these 14 gift ideas. - photo by Troy Martin
Not all gifts are created equal, and with the saturated toy market providing an endless number of new options almost daily, its easy to forget there is more to your childs life than having the biggest toy collection.

Here are 14 gift options to consider if youre tired of picking up pieces from the latest Lego set or action series.

1. Art supplies

Whether a child is a blossoming Da Vinci or just likes to have fun with a paintbrush and some bright colors, art supplies offer a world of activities that can help improve fine motor skills, creative thinking and the ability to complete a project from start to finish.

2. Books

With more and more interest in online gaming and other social media activities, its hard to get kids interested in books. But, that doesnt mean you shouldnt try.

Take a trip to a bookstore and let your child browse the stacks to see what interests them. Or, set up a wish list on your Amazon account and let them create their own list of desired titles.

3. Cooking lessons

One of the most important skills every person needs to know is how to feed themselves.

Cooking classes are a great way to give your child these lifelong skills. Knowing how to cook also gives your child a fun activity that they can later show off to the rest of the family.

4. Cardboard boxes

Cardboard boxes are some of the most versatile items your kids can get their hands on, and they're fun for kids at any age.

They're not something you would give as a birthday gift, but boxes are a great impromptu just because item. Your kids can decorate them, make bedroom furniture like a nightstand, turn them into make-believe rocket ships or use them as an art canvas.

Best of all, theyre basically free.

5. Magazine subscription

There are a number of magazines just for kids, many of which encourage learning and creativity. Plus, receiving mail every month gives your child something to look forward to while providing a good dose of fun, education and encouragement to improve their reading skills.

6. Piggy bank

Its never too early to teach your kids how to save money.

Help your child learn saving skills by giving them a bank account of their own. It doesnt even need to be a pig!

A bank can be anything like a large souvenir cup from a theme park, a small cardboard box they can decorate themselves or an empty jar from the kitchen. You can even help them collect spare change around the house to get started.

7. Personal toolkit

DIY is here to stay, and even the least mechanically adept people probably have a basic set of tools.

Giving your child a starter kit with their own mini hammer, screwdrivers and a tape measure will get your budding handyman or woman ready to help around the house!

8. Calendar

How many days until.?

Children like to know whats going on and when things will happen. Having their own place to count days, weeks and months will help them learn about the passage of time and how to plan.

9. A watch

Watches are a great way to help a child develop a sense of time. It can also give a child the opportunity to learn responsibility and independence by teaching them how to know how much time is left in an activity and how to be on time to things.

10. Theater tickets

We dont mean the movie kind!

There are a number of family oriented stage performances that local theaters include in their annual program schedule. Check your local theater schedule for performances that the entire family can attend.

11. Music

Music can stir the heart, the soul and the mind. Whether they want to dance, celebrate or just rock to something while they clean their rooms, music could be a source of inspiration for your kids for years to come.

12. Musical instruments

Listening to music is a great way to increase intelligence in children. Making your own sounds, melodies and rhythms is just as important.

You don't have to go out and spend a bunch of money at a music store for your child. Instruments can come in all shapes and sizes, like bongo drums and maracas or a basic inexpensive flute. Gaining the ability to make music can help shape your childs mind and spirit.

13. A scrapbook

From preschool on, life gives you and your kids lots of little moments you want to keep as memorabilia. Scrapbooks are a great way to save these memories and tell the story of your childs life.

14. Mommy/daddy dates

Date nights arent just for mom and dad.

Spending quality one-on-one time with your child tremendously benefits your relationship. Doing an activity together of the child's choosing will give both of you memories youll look back on fondly for the rest of your lives.

If you have more than one child, these "dates" can help make sure each child receives individual attention from each parent no matter how busy your schedules become.

Next time youre searching for just the right gift for your child, consider one of these ideas to enhance your childs life experiences.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter