Looking for clutter-free gift ideas for kids that won’t take up a ton of space and create a huge mess? In today’s post I have put together some shopping tips along with my favorite minimalist gifts for kids.
Why Choose Clutter-Free Toys?
Maybe you are a mom who is down-right exhausted from constantly cleaning up the toys…
Or – maybe you are looking to buy a gift for a child from a minimalist family.
Either way, there is a reason that you are looking for gift ideas that are meaningful and will be enjoyed – without all the mess!
And science is on your side:
There is a ton of research that shows that children are easily overwhelmed by toy clutter.
When you choose a clutter-free or “minimalist” gift for a child you are helping them to:
- Play independently
- Use their imagination
- Develop their sense of creativity
- Learn to enjoy experiences instead of stuff
Now that you are convinced that clutter-free toys are the way to go…here are some great ideas:
Consumable Gifts for Kids
A popular term among minimalist moms, “consumables” are gifts that can be used up.
Instead of sitting around your house and needing to be stored, a consumable gift is used and basically “disappears”…like MAGIC!
This means that they will only be around for as long as they last.
If you choose a good one, that won’t be long and that makes them clutter-free.
Examples of consumable gifts we love include:
- Art and Craft Supplies
- Treats and snacks
- Coloring Books
- Monthly subscription boxes
Here are some consumable gift ideas that kids love: (I have included links to some of our favorites)
Art and Craft Supplies:
- Mandala Coloring Books for kids
Clutter-Free Outdoor Toys
We all know that kids benefit from lots of outdoor time. It helps to regulate their mood, burn off excess energy and even makes them sleep better at night.
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t consider any toy that encourages my child to play outdoors as clutter. Right mama?!?!
As mentioned above open-ended toys make the perfect minimalist gift because they maximize the opportunity for play.
One container of playdough can become a snake, a stack of pancakes and a tree – it’s all up to their imagination.
Experience Gifts for Kids
Touted as the “gold-standard” of minimalist gift ideas, experiences gifts make the perfect clutter-free gift idea for kids.
Experience gifts are awesome because they provide an opportunity to create memories or learn skills that will last a lifetime
(or at least WAY longer than the fleeting joy of most toys)
I also love that you can still give them something to open that represents the experience they are going to have – like the envelope with tickets inside, a brochure of the destination or a membership card.
Here are some examples of experience gifts you could give:
- Lessons (dance, music, sports registration)
- Memberships or Annual Passes
- Gift cards
- Movie Passes
- Camp Registration
- Concert tickets
- Plane Tickets
Tips for Buying Clutter-Free Toys
One reason many families turn to minimalism is because the toys start to take over the entire house.
When purchasing gifts think about where and how the toy would be stored or displayed. If the gift you’re considering is a giant monstrosity with a ton of parts you should slowly back away.
Instead opt for toys that:
- Can be easily organized in bins, baskets or in a drawer
- Could be displayed when not being used
- Come with their own storage solution like this train set
More commonly known as open-ended toys, these are items that a child can play with in countless different ways.
Some popular examples include blocks and playdough, since they require creativity and imagination.
Minimalists love these types of toys because they are like ten toys in one. Instead of cluttering the home with a ton of toys, you just need a handful of open-ended toys to keep the kids busy and engaged for hours.
When our family was working to pay off our debt we did a lot of toy shopping at The Dollar Store. This was great for our budget, but horrible for the toy box. The toys would quickly break and soon we were on the hunt for a replacement.
Since those days I have learned that quality toys are an investment. A handmade wooden, woven or constructed toy will typically last for years. In our home these toys have been passed down between siblings and have stood the test of time.
Selecting a high-quality well-made goods is a trademark of the minimalist lifestyle because it means that items won’t need to be replaced or duplicated.
How we handle gifts as a minimalist family
One final note before I go regarding my personal experience with children’s gifts as a minimalist.
The first year we explored minimalism we went whole hog and followed the 4 Gift Rule strictly.
Honestly, it was the most anti-climactic Christmas ever. It took about 3 minutes for all of us to open our gifts and then we spent the rest of the day wishing we had a do-over.
As a mom, I realized that our magical Christmas mornings together are limited.
Soon I will have teenagers who make their Christmas and birthday wish lists with the full knowledge that mom and dad are Santa.
That experience is what turned me into a “practical minimalist” – creating a version of minimalism that works for our family without any hard and fast rules.
Yes, I consider myself a minimalist.
Yes, we give more than four gifts to our children.
The most important part is that we are fostering a spirit of giving within our family, friend and community. The intention of giving a gift to someone is a symbol of our thankfulness for their existence – something that cannot be donated, recycled or regifted.
We would love to hear from you! What do you think of the gifts on this list? Have you explored minimalism with kids? Please let me know if the comments below.
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