Fun, Affordable, and Worthwhile Gifts for Kids That Don't Involve Screen Time

Guest written by Julie Morris

Inspired by nature and the Scandinavian countryside, here at EKA I create unique, heirloom pieces which make the perfect gifts for babies, children and adults alike. Please visit THE SHOP or contact us today to learn more!

Electronic gadgets are a part of daily life now, from smartphones to smart fridges. It's only natural that children's toys are following this trend, but they aren't the only types of toys children should be exposed to. "Old-fashioned" toys like puzzles and other non-electronic items are still necessary for children's development, and Healthline notes that these types of toys may foster better creativity, focus, and language skills than electronic toys. So what can you get kids who clamour for the latest video game? I have a few ideas.

Practical Skills

Before we dive into our list, let’s discuss the cheapest, and possibly the best option. Teaching our kids practical skills probably won’t cost us a thing. We can teach them about things that we have to do around the house. Cooking, maintaining clothes, car maintenance, and gardening, among others.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash


We can talk to them about these tasks, and how useful it is to know these things in our day-to-day lives. If their eyes glaze over, try showing them related websites and tell them about how knowing these skills may lead them to become chefs who make the food that they like, fashion designers who design the clothes they wear, engineers who design our transportation, and landscapers who make the beautiful gardens that we enjoy. If that catches their interest, ask them to help you with your chores—just try to keep it light and engaging for the kids.


We all learned some skills from our parents, and as our children grow up, we want to be the ones to teach them some skills too—before the internet does. But don’t worry. Even if they see something first online, it still won’t be the same as actually experiencing these things firsthand.


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In fact, you and your child can engage on a whole new level by working with them on a crafting hobby and possibly even make some money from it. There are plenty of ways to sell hand-made products, including at craft fairs and online through sites like Etsy and Amazon Handmade. You can help them get started with patterns and kits from EKA. What better way to teach your kiddo the art of selling and doing business than partnering with them in a venture?

Here's an easy EKA Macrame Tutorial Video.

Photo by Simon Delalande on Unsplash

Telescopes and Astronomy Guides

With the increase in light pollution over the past couple of decades, people are now more familiar with a relatively empty sky than they are with the bundles of stars and dust that form the Milky Way. Let your children learn early on about what the sky should really look like by giving them a telescope that they can use to spot stars, satellites, and planets. Some can be had for as little as $40, and even if it’s a bit expensive, it’s a gift they can enjoy for years to come.


From there, your youngster can follow the International Space Station's sightings schedule (print that out so you aren't reliant on a screen), or let your child see the true effects of light pollution by using the telescope both in the backyard and in a nearby park outside city limits. Work with them to interpret star charts in books, and play games on car trips to see if they can navigate by the stars (although you should definitely check road maps yourself first!).


Even better is the fact that this is the gift that keeps giving. If your child really takes to backyard astronomy, gifts in the future can include astrophotography equipment and trips to dark-sky parks for vacations. In the meantime, a trip to a local observatory is a fun adventure, and many are free.


If your area is prone to poor weather that makes backyard astronomy difficult, consider helping your child foster an interest in storm spotting. Taking a greater interest in the weather has obvious practical benefits, but it’s also an opportunity to introduce various STEM concepts through math and science. You can help them learn about the effects of temperature, humidity, dew point, and barometric pressure on the weather they see.

Musical Instruments

A musical instrument and lessons might not seem like such a new idea, but when you try to do this without using a tablet, you might actually meet some resistance. It's so easy to find informed explanations online, but making your child study and learn about the instrument and music theory offline means they have to get more involved in figuring out answers.


Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Do be aware of two points should you decide to buy an instrument. One, get an instrument your child is interested in, not what you're interested in. Two, if your child has small hands, look for 3/4-size instruments or consider electric versions. That doesn't mean you need to include any screens—just that sometimes an electric version, such as a guitar, has a smaller neck than its acoustic counterparts. (The strings on an electric will still provide sound even without an amp.) By the way, if cost is an issue here, remember that you can find secondhand instruments, telescopes, and other items on sites like eBay.

Board Games and Model Kits

Board games have seen a resurgence in popularity as more intricate and longer-lasting games have entered the market. But don't forget the older styles of board games and model kits, and mesh them with your child’s passion.


Photo by Katie Smith on Unsplash

If your child likes dinosaurs, get dinosaur models they can put together and paint before displaying on a shelf. Got a science fiction fan? Find a model of the main ship or space station from the child's favourite show. You can also go with puzzle games and classic building kits, or even crystal-growing kits for older children. 

How about helping them BUILD THEIR OWN DREAMCATCHER?

In fact, you could combine gift types. For example, a build-your-own guitar kit (or even a cigar-box guitar kit) could keep them occupied for a long time and teach them more about how acoustics work. Traditional board games and kits are typically far less costly than their digitized counterparts, and as All About Vision notes, they are healthier, too.


Crocheted Crowns from EKA

Let your child's imagination take over with gifts that don't include a screen. There are affordable, healthy, life-changing opportunities in practical skills, astronomy, music, kits, and games. When your child has a chance to let their own creativity run wild, those happy days of play may last well into their lifetime, inspiring them in different ways.

If you'd like to teach your child to crochet HEAD HERE.

This blog post was guest written by 
Julie Morris


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