Welcome back to our blog series on gift ideas that aren’t toys! When you have kids who have more fun with the box than the actual toy, it’s a good time to recognize that buying the latest and greatest novelty might not be in their best interest. With these gift ideas from our preschool and child care center, you can help your child build new hobbies, new understandings, and find new sources of joy.

Try some of these gift ideas this year for something different, and schedule a school visit at one of our Growing Kids Learning Centers in Bristol, South Bend (at Ireland Road, Goshen, State Road 23, and North Bendix Drive), Goshen, Elkhart, Valparaiso, or Chesterton!

Cooking Kits

Kids love helping out in the kitchen (well, maybe not as much with the clean-up part), and who can blame them? They get to put their hands in the dough, stir things, mix ingredients together, and the finished result is something tasty. There are some amazing kits out there that allow kids to bake in real life. Of course, having a pretend kitchen set can be so much fun for kids to explore and use their imagination with. But for your little chef who always wants to make something new, this is a productive gift for them to enjoy.


Puzzles are a great way for kids to work on their problem-solving skills, and they take a good amount of concentration. Plus, they help develop fine motor skills and a sense of shape and space. There are traditional two-dimensional puzzles that your toddler or preschooler will be excited to try, but there are also some new 3D puzzles that can be taken on the road, or can be reset and restarted to be enjoyed again and again.

Another great thing about puzzles? You can get them for cheap by shopping at a thrift store or a Goodwill. You might run the risk of missing a piece or two, but most people donating puzzles have already completed them, and are giving them away for someone else to try. You can do the same thing by donating your puzzle when finished, and then exchanging it for another one!

Board Games

Every adult can think of at least one board game that they cherished as a child. Whether you tried to sink everyone’s battleship or wanted to pop the bubble in Trouble, board games are one of the best examples of how learning can be so much fun. They’re a great opportunity for your family to connect and spend time together, too. Invest in a fun board game or two, and make Friday or Saturday nights your board game night with the family. Not to mention, everyone will be playing games without the screen time — something that every parent can get behind!

Giving gifts is a joyous act in itself, but the wonderful thing about kids is that they don’t need much to be happy. Especially when they’re younger and everything is new and special, you don’t need to go overboard for them to enjoy their holiday season. There’s no reason to get caught up with the latest gadgets and gizmos, many of which will quickly fade into the toy background after the holidays are over.

There are some presents that are timeless, incredibly fun, and promote learning and experiences all in one — something that our preschool and child care center can get behind! Have a great holiday season, and don’t forget to find out more about our upcoming Christmas program (ask your child’s teacher for details). Happy holidays from Growing Kids Learning Centers!