Monday, November 3, 2014

{Non-Technology} Gift Ideas

The past few years I've moved most of my Christmas preparations (gifts, cards, etc.) to before Thanksgiving.  When I'm successful, it lets me truly focus on Advent during Advent- a crazy concept indeed! It allows time for more meaningful Christmas preparations- those of the heart and mind. December is still full of neighborhood gatherings, special church programs and concerts but in between there is peace (depending on your household- the concept is relative:-)).

This is why I'm thinking about gift-giving already.  And I thought you might appreciate some gift ideas that have proved to be wonderful finds for our family- and none of them require batteries or wifi.  Some I've mentioned before and some are new treasures.  Click on the pictures to find further descriptions and additional information (like reviews) but feel free to check other stores and websites to find yourself the best deal.  And don't forget to use your Swagbucks or Ebates earnings to make them even more affordable.

Storytime Toys- These are really sweet little playsets. We have the Goldilocks one below as well as the Three Little Pigs set.  They come in very sturdy carrying cases (with a handle) where the sets can be stored in between playing marathons.  This is one of the things I like best about them- they can be taken apart and stored compactly.  I rotate toys often and these sets make that easy to do.


Peek-a-boo Blocks- I have fallen in love with these blocks.  We didn't have them when our kids were little but I purchased a used set on ebay for our foster child.  The photo below doesn't quite do them justice.  Each block "does" something when you shake it, turn a little dial, etc.  For example, the chick in the egg below makes a peeping sound when you press the one end of the block.  Our big kids (and I) enjoy playing with them, too.  They are on the expensive side, so find a set that suits your fancy and then keep an eye out at yard sales and sites like ebay.


Dutch Blitz- This is a fast-paced group card game that is so much fun.  Young kids can start learning early as all they need to do is match colors and count to ten.  The skill comes in with how fast you can place your cards down while everyone else is vying for some of the same spots.  We play this game a lot at our house- often with neighbor kids.


Playmobil- Ah, playmobil. Every year we continue to add new sets to our collection.  Often our kids use their saved up allowance money to buy the sets themselves.  These are toys worth saving for the next generation (and the next!).  I love the imaginary play that the sets inspire.  While legos tend to appeal to boys, in our house, our girls gravitate to playmobil.


Alphabet Blocks- This was another semi-recent purchase at our house.  In the photo below you can see the different colors in the box which are not shown in the pyramid.  They are beautiful. The cost reflects the "investment" mentality in these blocks.  This is another toy that will be enjoyed for generations.  Each block has a letters, numbers and a picture of an animal on it and the box is a sturdy place to store them when they're not in use (or in our case, a giant plastic pretzel container:-)).


Radio shows like Adventures in Odyssey (young and older kids), Ranger Bill (older kids), Little Orley (young kids) and The Sugar Creek Gang (older kids) are great for car trips (in place of DVD players or hand held devices) and for listening to as they wind down before bed.

Colonial Williamsburg Dolls- Our girls share three of these dolls which can also be found here. These dolls are sweet, well made and very reasonably priced.  Their layers of period-accurate clothes can be removed for re-dressing.


Heart to Heart Dolls- These are an exceptional alternative to American Girl Dolls.  They are extremely well made and represent the beauty of many nations- including Ethiopia, Mexico and Afghanistan.  And the price isn't nearly as extreme.  Browse around because some of these dolls are significantly cheaper than others.


I Never Forget a Face game- This is a darling memory game where faces are matched.  On the back of the box, it tells you where each child is from.  The tiles are sturdy- our game has been well loved for many years and is still holding up beautifully.
Sewing Kits- Sadie takes sewing lessons and her little sister, Miriam, wishes she could, too.  While we wait for her to get a little older, I've been picking up these sweet little sewing kit projects. Everything you need is included (except scissors).  With sewing holes punched in the felt, it makes these projects perfect for beginners and tiny hands. I've taken these kits along places where we needed to wait- it's a perfect quiet activity to make the time pass quickly!


If you're looking for book ideas, do not fear!  I will tell you a little secret.  Use the Sonlight website! I know both homeschoolers that don't use the Sonlight curriculum and folks that don't homeschool at all who use their website for excellent book ideas.  What's best is that you can browse by grade. You can then shop directly from their site or find the book elsewhere.  Here's how- follow this link, hover over "By Grade" at the top and choose the grade. Under the picture of all the books, click on the picture of the globe, then scroll down the page to see all the books.  Sonlight uses real literature so mostly what you'll see there are excellent novels (and a few textbooks).  Click on the ones that interest you for more details.

What are some of your family's favorite (non-technology) gift ideas? Pin It


  1. Awesome list! I just added these to my daughter's Amazon wishlist.

  2. I like your list. I have no idea what, if anything, we'll be getting for our boys. I think our 2 year old daughter would like a broom and dustpan, and maybe a dishpan set, that is her size. The boys look at me oddly when I ask if they need or want anything, then they say "More trains?" We say we'd have to get rid of some of the old ones, and they decide they'd rather keep the old ones. Last year they wanted, and got, snow shovels, garden rakes and yard rakes (their size), which they use constantly. So any thoughts for non-tech gifts for farming boys aged 5 and 7?

    1. Tools! When Sam was pretty little, we got him a little toolbag and filled it with small, real tools- extra ones that Jamey wasn't using and a couple new pieces including nails, tape measure, screwdriver and screws, hammer, level, etc. He loved following Jamey around with it and to this day (he's 11 now) he keeps it in his room and uses it to take things apart, fix things, etc. You could throw some work gloves in there, too, for when they help dad with wood. :-)

  3. I would recommend "The Farming Game". I have had mine for over 20 years and both the concept and the game itself have held up extremely well. It has aspects of all sorts of farming, cattle, grain, hay and fruit. It also has the dreaded Farmers fate! We play it with all ages from 8 to 98 and everyone seems to have a blast! Your list has some super items on it as well. Plus your idea of getting the shopping out of the way so we can celebrate Christmas as we should!

    1. Excellent suggestion! My in-laws have this game and we often play it when we're at their house:-).

  4. One of the most popular boy gifts I ever gave my nephew was a giant ball of string!


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