When the Toy Box is Full: Ideas for Alternative Birthday Party Gifts

Here it is just weeks after Christmas and at my house all but few of those “must have ” toys sit abandoned under beds, in toy boxes or just in the way. My boys have very short attention spans when it comes to toys and as they get older their interest is waning. Birthdays are fast approaching which means Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents are asking for gift suggestions. My fondest wish would be ANYTHING I don’t have to store. Children gain more from experiences and as my oldest son once said: “Play is better than toys”.

Here is a list of alternative kid friendly Birthday Party gift ideas:

  • A Year of Adventures  – Party  Guests are given a month of the year and ask to place instructions and supplies for an activity (movie gift card, directions to a park or splash pad, zoo tickets, slime recipe etc.) inside an envelope. Each month the child opens an envelope and does the activity included.
  • A Give or Take Toy Exchange– Party Guests are asked to bring a working, well-maintained toy that they no longer play with. They can then pick from toys other children brought, any remaining toys can be donated to a local charity.
  •  Pet Parade– Party Guests are asked to bring pet supplies to donate to a local shelter
  • Destination Donation– Party Guests are asked to gift a small monetary amount ( $5-$10) towards a big ticket item i.e. a trip to Disney, Playscape, Trampoline, Sleepaway Camp etc.
  • Build my Library – Party Guests are asked to bring a book.
  • Grow my Garden– Party Guests are asked to bring a plant or seed to be planted.
  • City Explorer – Party Guests are asked to bring memberships or tickets to local kid-friendly attractions.
  • Life Lessons- Swimming, Music, Karate, Cooking, Crafting, Tutoring all make wonderful gifts that last a lifetime.
  • Future Forward– Party Guests are asked to make contributions to MESP 529, Stocks, or  Bonds
  • Be A Good Sport– Party Guests are asked to make a contribution toward things needed for child’s sport of choice  (cleats, uniforms, instruments, program cost)



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