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Top 7 Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

Whether you're a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or family friend, with the holidays approaching, you'll want to make them extra special for the children in your life. Finding that perfect gift can be tricky, especially if parents have requested fewer toys in favor of more meaningful experiences or activities.

Ready to think outside the toy box? These are some fun, creative and educational gift ideas to consider.

A boy opening up christmas gifts with parents.
  1. Tickets to a shared experience. Depending on the child's age and interests, consider tickets to the zoo, a children's museum, a water park or amusement park, or a holiday movie. Does the child love a local sports team? You could gift a team hat or jersey along with tickets for an upcoming game.
  2. Enrichment activities for kids. From cooking classes to pottery making to computer programming to robots, many communities offer a wide variety of activities and classes designed for kids. For some guidance on which classes would be most appealing, ask the parent about the child's interests. Does he love to draw? Is she a budding photographer? If the class will require special supplies — such as a camera or paint set — you could also include these supplies with the gift.
  3. Sports or music lessons. Does the child love to play soccer or basketball? Maybe they prefer football camp, swim team or karate? Or perhaps they're musically inclined and are learning to play the piano or joining the school band. Talk to the parent about the child's interests and offer to cover some or all of the cost of upcoming lessons or a seasonal sport.
  4. Subscription boxes. Give the gift that keeps giving throughout the year. There are a wide variety of monthly and bimonthly subscription boxes designed for kids of all ages. For babies and toddlers, subscription boxes such as Love Every send a curated selection of Montessori-inspired toys designed to match a young child's development milestones. For older children, the Little Passports subscriptions packages are designed to spark a child's creativity and imagination with engaging activity kits. Younger children explore themes such as oceans and dinosaurs; older children learn about countries or different states.
  5. Magazines. Spark a child's imagination each month with a subscription to magazines such as National Geographic for Kids or Ranger Rick from the National Wildlife Foundation. Other options are the Cricket, Spider and Ladybug magazines from Cricket Media featuring stories, poems and activities for young readers.
  6. College fund donation. Help the child's parents save for their son's or daughter's college tuition with a donation to a 529 savings plan. Ugift is a free-to-use service that lets anyone contribute to a child's 529 educational savings plan. Do you still want to have something wrapped that the child can open? The service also includes printable certificates.
  7. Personalize it. Companies like Wonderbly and I See Me! offer a variety of story options that can be personalized with a child's name or other unique details, such as the child's birthday. For babies and toddlers, services such as Pinhole Press will print board books personalized with family photos and names.

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