7 Gift Ideas That Are Not Toys But Will Truly Make Your Kids Happy
  • There's no use beating around the bush — kids love getting toys for Christmas. But you know what they love getting even more? Time with you, mom and dad.

    “When kids are part of a family unit that spends time together, they are more likely to feel supported, safe, and loved unconditionally. This holds true for kids of all ages and in all kinds of families,” read Overloaded and Underprepared (read more here). 

    So while they will be giddy with toys, your kids are happier when you play with them. Here are a few non-toy gift ideas that allow for more family bonding.  

    1. Luggage
    Family vacations become happiness anchors when your kids grow up, experts say. As one psychologist points out, spending on vacations is probably better than spending on toys. A luggage that will be her own signals you're planning and looking forward to more family time (and it doesn't even have to be abroad). She’ll love packing and rolling her own maleta to your next vacation destination. Plus, a good quality bag will last your child years.  


    Frozen Girls Anna and Elsa Small Hard Luggage (on sale for Php2,000/original price of Php2,499), TheSmStore.com
    Travel Basic Uriel Small Hard Luggage in Mint Green (on sale for Php1,250/original price of Php2,499), TheSmStore.com

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    2. Tickets to an amusement park or children's museum
    There are quite a few fun places for kids in Metro Manila. Not all of them come with budget-friendly entrance tickets, but a day of fun during the Christmas school break can be your gift to your kiddo. Go as a family or invite a few of his cousins or classmates along. 



    Here's a quick list of ideas on where to go and their starting ticket prices:
    Museo Pambata in Manila, P250
    Kidzania in Taguig, P900 for kids and P630 for adults
    Manila Ocean Park in Manila, P760
    The Mind Museum in Taguig, P475 for kids and P625
    Dream Play in Parañaque, P680

    3. A kiddie box subscription
    Sign your kiddo up for a subscription box and every month she gets to receive a package just for her. It’s something she can look forward to even after Christmas! The boxes are packed with activities, art projects, or science experiments that contain all the materials your child will need to get busy and have fun. They can also be purchased individually if you want to opt out of a monthly subscription. See our unboxing of GummyBox, Kindercraft and Oli's Boxship (the one Scarlet Snow has in the photo below) here

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    4. Books
    Instill a love of reading in your little one and get him a really great book. The key to this is getting a book that fits your child’s age and interest. There are loads of books to suit every child’s curiosity, from dinosaurs to monsters.


    101 Outrageously Fun Things To Do (Php1,199.75); Hobbes & Landes

    Here are a few more of our recommendations: 
    20 Best Filipino Books for Kids 3 Years and Below (P75 to P295!)
    12 Fun Books to Get Kids to Read and Speak in Filipino (5 to 9 Years)
    A Catalog of the Best Children's Books in 2017

    5. Tickets to a show
    Instead of a trip to the mall for a movie, why not try the theater? This Christmas there's Disney on Ice and A Christmas Carol Musical to name a few. Next year, there's Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Newport Performing Arts Theater.

    We're particularly excited for The Lion King musical next March! The stage production, based on the 1994 Disney animated film, is a feat of wonder. There are actors on stilts as they saunter as giraffes on stage. The lumbering elephant is as beguiling and requires a total of four actors inside to animate. Catch a glimpse of the musical in the video above.

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    6. Cooking, science, or art kits
    Level up your kid's toy collection and get play kits that will also develop your his interests and skills. Get kitchen-ready or pretend kid-sized cooking utensils for a child who likes to watch you cook. Kits for music and crafts are just the thing for artistic kids, and experiment kits are a great idea for curious boys and girls.  

    Thames & Kosmos Physics Discovery (Php1,399.75), Toys "R" Us
    Thinkfun Compose Yourself (Php1,499.75), Hobbes & Landes
    Wooden Kitchen Set (Php2,050 for 15 pieces), Mommyrepublic.com


    7. Fun and enriching classes
    If your child has been begging for you to enrol him in a class for cooking and arts, dancing and singing, sports, or whatever else class he's interested in, surprise him this Christmas with a class schedule. If your kiddo is feeling adventurous, you can also check out the Junior Astronaut Academy and the Ninja Academy (see Ryan and Judy Ann's son Lucho run a course below!). 

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