Toddler Gift Guide: No Toys Allowed

Toddler Gift Guide

Toddler Gift Guide

Sugar Plum Z will be turning two at the end of the month and right after that we will be celebrating Christmas. Over the last few months, I’ve been thinking about gifts that keep on giving. Sure toys are fun but when I check the toy box, I’m reminded of how temporary they are. Sugar Plum Z and Big Z still have unopened toys from last Christmas and little Z’s birthday. Hmmmmm, how bad is it if we rewrap and put them back under the tree? Not that bad right?

Back to my point, what gifts can we get Sugar Plum Z for her birthday and then again for Christmas that will keep giving through the year or for years to come. Here’s my Toddler Gift Guide list: 


One of our favorite places to visit is the Zoo. The animals are fun to get to know, the childrens amusement park and the various activities the Zoo puts on makes this a gift that keeps on giving. Our membership list includes: 

  • Zoo
  • Museum 
  • Botanical Garden
  • Book Clubs 


On our to do list is swimming lessons. Every child should learn how to swim said the adult who is petrified of deep water. Not one cruise for me. I guess family swimming lessons are in order. Lessons to consider: 

  • Swimming 
  • Dance
  • Gymnastics 
  • Music 


Sugar Plum Z loves to doodle and paint. In my eyes she is an amazing artist, so classes are in her future. Classes: 

  • Art
  • Cooking 
  • Photography 


Box subscriptions are all the rave. You kind find a box for everyone and toddlers are no exception. I suppose some of these boxes will include toys but I’ll make an exception for them. 

Season Passes or Tickets 

  • Amusement Parks 
  • Plays
  • Movie passes 

All About Money 

Most babies are born into a bank account. If you haven’t started one yet, now is a good time to start with a piggy bank and graduate up to a family trip to the bank to open an account. I like the conventional route but an online account is also great option. 

Teach lessons about money, saving and spending at every opportunity. Explain the checkout transaction at the grocery store. They are never too young. 

Gifts of savings bonds, CDs and education fund deposits are high on this list as well. 


There are so many gifts you can create at home that will keep on giving. Just check out Pinterest. I have a few on my list including scrapbooking. This is one you can start and then continue on with your child throughout the year. 

Don’t forget to keep ample supplies on hand for every day fun. Sugar Plum will soon be the proud owner of an easel! 

I’ll be sharing this post with everyone that asks “What does Z want for her birthday or Christmas?” Hey, I’d rather get gifts we will use for more than a few days and add to her growing interest. I’m not a begger but I am choosy. 

What no toy gift ideas can you add to the list?



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  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 9:22 AM

    I love the idea of a no toy gift guide. We will not be giving toys in our house this year.

    • Reply
      M J
      November 12, 2014 at 9:33 AM

      Thanks Christy. I agree. I’m really over the toys. More meaningful gifts are in the agenda this year. I’m sure they will still get lots of toys from other family members but we will be doing donations for sure.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 11:23 AM

    I love these ideas, I am going to send this list to the hubs. I love the membership and classes ideas as they will be much more useful in the long run.

    • Reply
      M J
      November 12, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      Thanks Adanna. I love this list too (lol) Sugar Plum Z has already snagged a lesson and a membership for her upcoming birthday. SCORE! I think your hubs will appreciate the list too.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 11:32 AM

    This is genius. IDK how many toys my daughter has, but doesn’t use. We usually suggest books or clothes since she grows like a weed.

    • Reply
      M J
      November 12, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Thanks Kim. Yes I am so over the toy overload! It’s just too much. I’m never mad at clothes gifts either so long as they are cute. LOL

  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 5:12 PM

    We always try to do more non-toy presents because we live in a small apartment that can’t handle the clutter! These are great suggestions!

    • Reply
      M J
      November 12, 2014 at 7:03 PM

      Agreed. I moved from an apartment to a house and still I feel stuffed in! I just don’t want another toy in here. I can’t handle it. LOL.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 7:15 PM

    I love these ideas! The zoo, the children’s museum are great places for memberships. That way you can just keep going. LOL And I’m really thinking about the Potstickers club! My son is really interested in cooking now, so I need to capitalize on it!

    • Reply
      M J
      November 12, 2014 at 11:11 PM

      Right LaShawn! The memberships definitely pay for the self after a few visits. As for potstickers, Little Z is a but young but I may still go for it or I may get the older kids version for when Big Z is here as one of our girls get together weekends with her cousins. Either way, we need one! LOL.
      I’m sure your son will enjoy cooking with you from his very own kit.

  • Reply
    November 12, 2014 at 8:39 PM

    These are all great gift ideas. I would love to get a museum memembership for my kids for Christmas.

    • Reply
      M J
      November 12, 2014 at 11:12 PM

      Thanks Sonya. I think these gifts are so much more meaningful in the long run.

  • Reply
    Michellette "Mimi" Green
    November 13, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    I LOVE THIS! You are so right, kids move on really fast from toy to toy. My daughter is always talking about being a ballerina. I think lessons would be an amazing gift for her this Christmas. #rattleandroll

    • Reply
      M J
      November 13, 2014 at 8:41 PM

      Thanks Mimi. I am sure your daughter will love and cherish those dance lessons. Go for it. We have 1 lesson and 1 membership secured on this list already. I’m very excited.

  • Reply
    Christine @MomsNCharge
    December 13, 2014 at 1:19 AM

    MJ, this list is genius!!! We, too always tell family members “no toys” unless they are educational. Now that we homeschool, all of these are things we would love to add to not only Christmas list but birthdays as well. This covers everything! 🙂 Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Reply
      M J
      December 13, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Thank you Christine. Zoe was gifted with some great things from this list. I am so happy. Now she does have some aunts who flat out told me they are buying toys, clothes and whatever else they want too. LOL!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2016 at 8:10 PM

    Hey MJ,

    Was looking for some inspiration for toddler gift ideas and have stumbled across this post.

    Some great ideas here and something a bit different from the norm!

    Love it!

    • Reply
      M J
      August 23, 2016 at 10:45 AM

      Hi Selina,

      Thank you. I definitely think no toy gifts are some of the best gifts ever. I do have a few toys I like that I’ll be sharing soon but memberships and classes will always be my favorite.

  • Reply
    Selina Marie
    February 19, 2017 at 6:42 AM

    Great ideas, can wait to use them. Thanks for sharing!

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