All I want for Christmas is….non tech gift ideas for kids

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Carolanne Bamford-Beattie


Low-tech gift ideas

From toddlers, tweens to teens, we ‘present’ the ultimate list of screen-free, low tech Christmas gifts for the children in your life. 

If you’re looking for some more innovative ideas that don’t require a screen to enjoy them, then look no further than our non-tech gift guide for tweens and more. We’ve rounded up the ultimate list of screen-free present options for little ones to teenagers. From art enthusiasts, sporty kids and the adventure-seekers, all our suggestions are low tech or completely no tech. Read on to get inspired. 

Low tech gift ideas by age

Whether you’re looking for something for your young niece, a friend’s teen, godchild, or your own children, we have searched high and low for some of the best screen-free, non tech Christmas gift options out there. From toddlers to teenagers, you can rely on this list of ideas to inspire your low-tech gift purchases this festive season. 

The best low tech gifts for toddlers and preschoolers

  • A toy subscription – Lovevery sends a monthly expert-curated play kit to your children that’s perfectly tailored to their developmental age. It’s available for children aged 0-4, which makes it a great option for parents of newborns too.
  • Start your child’s bookworm habits early by giving them a collection of stories. Books are the perfect screen-free present for kids of all ages. The Book Depository is a fantastic global resource to buy great second-hand stories too. A screen-free win for you, and the environment.
  • At this age, bathtime can be one of children’s favorite times of the day. Make the time in the tub even more magical with toys that add sensory elements to their routine. Bath pipes are a great way to enhance motor skills, light up floating toys can add atmosphere, and a bubble machine adds endless options for fun!
  • Magnetic building tiles are a classic way to work on your kids’ creative skills. The construction options are endless and a great screen-free gift option to keep them busy for hours. 
  • A Christmas book advent calendar. At this age, chocolate advent calendars can be more trouble than they’re worth – ever tried explaining to a three year old that they can only have one? Save the sweet treats for when they’re older and instead, give them a book a day to unwrap. Thrifting books and using second-hand sites is a great way to keep the costs down. The best part? You can bring it out year after year.
  • Pony meets Peloton in the Ponycycle – an innovative horse toy on wheels that children can ride. Learn more about it here. Yee-ha!
  • Want your child to hone up their musical abilities but don’t fancy bulk instruments in the home? A floor keyboard is a super fun way for busy movers to make music without the need to sit and learn. Simply roll up and pack away when you’ve heard enough too!

The best low tech gift ideas for younger kids  (5-8)

  • How can you play tetris without a screen? It’s easy! The Coogam wooden puzzle is suitable for kids ages 3+ and involves a lot of wooden shapes that slot against each other to make more shapes. It’s guaranteed to keep them busy for hours. 
  • Nature lovers will adore releasing their inner scientist with the GeoSafari Jr talking microscope. Narrated by animal expert, Bindi Irwin, children get to view slides bursting with facts about their favorite animals and wildlife.
  • Want something that keeps the kids busy with minimal adult intervention? Look no further than Crazy Forts. Gone are the days of two chairs and some old sheets. (Though that’s always a great option!) This toy will help children hone their construction and problem solving skills by creating a variety of forts, caves and dens from the comfort of the living room.
  • Whether you live somewhere warm, or you’re hiding inside from the cold this winter, a play tent and pop-up ball pit is the perfect transitional gift to keep kids active and away from their screens this Christmas.
  • Pets can be a popular addition to children’s Christmas lists, and if you’re not ready for a big commitment, but want to encourage their wild side, why not try something like a bug hotel or a sea monkey kit to get them started?
  • Want something a bit bigger than a seamonkey? Pets can make an unforgettable Christmas gift – one that’s cute, but full of lessons about responsibility. Make sure you check out the experts’ advice on your particular choice, and how to ensure a successful transition into your home. 
  • Screens before bed are a definite no-no, and sometimes you don’t have energy for the 5th story in a row…why not try the Yoto Player? You can choose from hundreds of classic stories which are read aloud to your child whenever they want. Zzz.

The best non tech gift ideas for tweens (9-12)

  • Got a budding archaeologist on your hands? The National Geographic Geodes Kit is smashing fun, literally! An exploration into different minerals and rocks, it’s fun for all ages. Check it out here.
  • At this age, children are increasingly curious about the world around them. Why not help fuel that curiosity by giving them something to grow and care for? A grow-your own flower or vegetable kit like these from Click and Grow are perfect.
  • Replicate the excitement of video games but without the screens. Flipside Game is a reaction based toy that’s billed as a future generation version of the Rubik’s Cube.
  • Got a star in the making? Why not give them a Karaoke machine to get their stage practice early?
  • In a similar vein, if your child has expressed an interest in music, Christmas is the ideal time to get them an instrument to pursue their passions.
  • Has your tweenager discovered a passion for fashion? There are so many options out there for jewelry making kits, fashion design games and more.
  • It’s not no tech, but low tech – plus, it’s the gift that keeps on going, a family ice cream  maker. This one from DASH is the pint sized, perfect low tech gift to keep tweens creatively occupied this Christmas.
  • Tween struggling with anxiety? A hug pillow is the ideal non tech gift to give them comfort when they’re feeling overwhelmed.
  • No tech is needed with a lego kit that’s aimed at older kits. There’s also no time for screens when they’re busy creating something amazing like a model of the New York skyline or a Star Wars figurine. 
  • Experimental eaters are covered with the Universal Yums subscription box. It’s the perfect tech free gift for tweens who want an edible present every month for the rest of the year. 

The best low tech gift ideas for teenagers 

  • Where do most teens like to spend their time? Their bedroom of course! Why not give them a bedroom makeover and allow them to get creative with some interior design choices?
  • The teenage years can be a stressful and anxious time for all kids, but girls can feel this pressure even more. An affirmation card deck like this one is a great way for your teen to tell themselves daily that they’re awesome. 
  • Sports kit or leisure clothes are a great way for your teen to feel more confident about getting outdoors and moving their body more. 
  • Get your teens motivated to take notes with some personalized stationery that they’ll want to get out in class.
  • Teen with pierced ears? A Rowan earring subscription is a cute way to gift them throughout the year with new options to change-up their look.
  • Do you struggle to get your teens excited about family games night? It might be time to update your board game selection with some contemporary options they’ll love to play. Here are some trending ideas that your teens will know and love:

    • Wordle the Party Game – The popular app now comes off-screen, and is a great way to work on language skills while having a lot of fun 
    • Taco, Cat, Goat, Cheese, Pizza – super easy to play and guaranteed to make you laugh, this game can be played by all ages 
    • Never Have I Ever – Just make sure it’s the family edition to keep things age-appropriate 
    • What do you meme? Meet them on their own turf with a screen-free game that’s based on the social media craze for memes. 
    • An escape room in a box  – fun for all the family, this problem solving board game is a great way to work together on a goal

  • Does your kid ask to change up or dye their hair? Hair chalks are a great, commitment free way to change up your look without resorting to drastic measures. They come in a variety of crazy colors, so there’s something for all tastes.
  • Is your teen going one further and talking about tattoos? Don’t panic! BIC has a BodyMark temporary tattoo marker kit that will allow them to experiment with different looks.
  • Have you got an avid social media sharer on your hands? Worried that they spend too much time documenting their lives online? Why not encourage a shift to a more traditional way of tracking your thoughts? Journaling kits come with lots of exciting accessories and ways to make your diary entries look fantastic. It’s a great non-tech idea for a new year’s resolution too.
  • Macrame is making a comeback. A DIY kit like this one is a great way to encourage your teen to get creative and make something sustainable that they’ll love to share.
  • Has your teen got a packed exam season this year? Allow them to take the stress out of it by buying them a stress ball to squeeze when their anxiety takes over. Other ideas include yoga lessons or a mindfulness course to help them find their zen.
  • Does your beauty conscious teenager want a boost in their allowance for nail appointments? Cut the costs by buying them their own gel nail kit that will keep their talons tidy without the extra expense.
  • Amazon has created the Happy Teen gift card. You can top it up anywhere between $20-$500 and it can be redeemed at loads of their favorite restaurants and shops, including Sephora and Jamba. 

The best non tech gift ideas for the hobby mad tween

Have you got a creative kid in your life? Does your tween absolutely love sports? These non-tech gift ideas are perfect to feed your kids’ passion for their favorite pastime! 

  • They’re fun for all ages, but toddlers will definitely enjoy making simple shapes with a classic Play Doh kit. For older kids you can find a variety of clay-based project packs to keep them occupied. We love the huge selection from Sculpd.
  • Do your children absolutely love art and crafts but you hate the mess it makes? Remember Etch-a-Sketch? You can still buy the classic magnetic drawing tools and find alternatives like light up drawing boards and water mats too. This Crayola one is sure to raise a smile on Christmas day.
  • A great way to get your child to drink more water, a ‘design your own’ water bottle kit will give them creative license to hydrate in their own style.
  • You can buy these pre-made, or gather the elements you need to create a DIY kit, but either way – fashionistas will love upcycling old clothes and creating new looks with a tie-dye kit. You can find plenty of different types on Amazon.
  • If you can give over a corner of your home to your budding artist, why not add an easel and full kit of different mediums and materials? That way they can engross themselves in their hobby and forget all about the lure of the screen with their very own art studio at home.
  • The Instax Minis are a great entry level polaroid camera for photography fans. Absolutely no screens needed, and the perfect way to stay snap-happy this Christmas.
  • Depending on the space you have at home, there are lots of ways you can incorporate more sporting activities at home. From a small basketball hoop to pack and play games like a baseball kit, why not treat them to some sporting equipment that they’ll love?
  • Do your kids love playing ball games, but it’s too cold to get outside? The Ollyball to the rescue. It’s super light and bouncy, helping to avoid bumped heads and vases…

Non tech and screen-free experience gifts for tweens

What better way to avoid screens than to get outside and make some memories? The low tech and no tech gift ideas for tweens are endless. And, if you can’t get a formal ‘gift’ on the below, you can always get creative and package up your own homemade vouchers. Here are some ideas for experience-related gifts your kids will love.

  • A tech free tween cookery class

You’ll want to check your local cookery schools and restaurants for what’s on offer in your area, but cooking is a valuable life skill that can be fun to do. And, you might even get dinner cooked for the family once in a while!

  • A family camping trip

There’s no better tonic for getting away from technology than the great outdoors. Spending time together as a family on a camping trip is the perfect low tech gift for everyone. Just don’t forget to pack the s’mores!

  • An annual family pass for your favorite museum 

From space exploration to under the sea, most museums offer a heavily discounted family ticket option where you can enjoy the exhibitions all year round. This non tech tween gift option saves on costly entry fees, which means more quality time together and more learning opportunities too.

  • Family gym membership

If you’re lucky enough to have a family sports center or gym in the area that has something for all ages, then why not consider a membership for Christmas? You all get to go together, work on your fitness goals and even have some fun in the pool. All low tech too. Win-win! 

  • Screen-free spa day

Teenage girls will adore getting to spend time with mom, and you both can relax with a massage or other treatment to help you feel fantastic while you do some screen free bonding. 

  • Scuba certification

One for the older ones who love the underwater world, teenagers will be over the moon with the opportunity to get an incredible skill that they can use throughout their life – and on family vacations too.

  • Horseback riding lessons

While the picture perfect Christmas pony gift is out of most people’s budgets, budding equestrians will be delighted with the opportunity to spend more time with horses and learn how to ride. It’s a great way to boost teen confidence and who can hold a phone when they’re holding their reins? 

  • Tickets

From Taylor Swift concerts to football games, whatever your teen enjoys, getting them tickets to experience it ‘IRL’ is a fool-proof, low tech gift option that ensures at least a few hours away from the screens.