Kids love the holiday season! And most people I know love buying holiday gifts for children– it’s a fun way to show their love. It’s also how some homes become overwhelmed with clutter. Toys take up valuable space and often more than they should. That’s what makes a consumable gift appealing to parents. Unlike more traditional toys, they get used up and don’t require permanent storage. Research has also shown that fewer toys in a toddler’s environment improves their quality of play, leading to improved coordination, pretending, problem-solving and learning.

Interested in giving a child a consumable gift this season? Here are some options.

  1. Art and craft supplies for kids who like to create. Artist or maker, these kids need materials and supplies—papers, markers, paint, glitter, sequins, glue, tape, felt. The list can be endless. It can also be highly specific for each child. You might even be able to upcycle some materials from your recycling bin, like paper towel rolls, egg cartons and shoe boxes. Kids create with all sorts of things. Tip: Check with the parents to determine which supplies are most needed and cherished to make purchases that will be consumed.
  2. Favourite snacks. Just like adults, kids have their favs that never cease to produce a smile. Parents never have enough. It’s nice for parents to be able to whip them out at the park, after an activity, or any other moment of the day. They can have the magical ability to put even the most tired and cranky child back on an even keel. A win for everyone! Tip: If you don’t know what the child’s favourites are, ask the parents.
  3. Podcasts. There are lots of great podcasts for kids. Find one that aligns with their age and interests, or will expose them to something new that you think they will like. It’s a good alternative to screen time and the perfect way to while away the hours on a long road trip. Tip: you can use this free website to prepare a pdf gift certificate for the podcast and “how to subscribe” guide.
  4. Magazine subscriptions. Like podcasts, find one that is age appropriate and would be of interest to the child. If you are not sure what this might be, ask their parents or teacher. These days magazines can come in both paper and digital formats or some combination. Determine what is best for the family. Tip: digital formats will require access to an electronic device, so make sure this is okay with a parent.
  5. Seeds and gardening supplies.  Some children are really fascinated by how things grow.  Give them the opportunity to grow their own plants from seeds to show them the full cycle of a plant and teach them about nurturing. Tip: seeds are the launching point for this gift. Make it easy for the parents by providing a kit that includes soil, pots (recycled plastic food containers might work) and guidance.

Bonus tip: the box. A large box is probably my children’s favourite toy. It never fails to be the starting point for dramatic play or an art project—and the bigger the better. Whatever you give, put it in a big box this holiday season and see what happens. For many kids, the preferred toy will be the box.  It can be a wonderful source of inspiration for the imagination and is easily recycled once the interest is gone or the box is damaged beyond repair.

What are your favourite consumable gifts for kids? I’d love to hear them. I’m always looking for new ideas.

Read about the top consumable gifts for adults.