Gift Guide for Kids – Unique and Useful Ideas for Girls & Boys

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Are you trying to entice kids away from their electronic devices? Perhaps you’re looking for something a little different for the special kid? Maybe something that’s a little novel without being something that will end up stuffed in a drawer after a few hours? We’ve got gifts for kids covering music, fitness, art, gardening, survival skills, and more. But maybe not in ways you’d typically expect. Take a look!

image: boy and gift holding gifts for kids

Keep Kids Moving (Indoors and Out)

Let’s start with gifts for kids that give young ‘uns the motivation to step away from their devices. These suggestions help them stay active, and work off pent-up energy if they’re stuck inside (and even if they’re not), all while learning some useful skills. Bonus: They’re (mostly) quiet.

Punching Bag/Boxing Set

If rainy weather keeps your kids indoors, this punching bag set fends off restlessness all while learning some self-defense. They’ll build muscles, gain faster reflexes, and improve hand-eye coordination, too. Plus, it’s height-adjustable, so it grows with your kids. If they’re really into it, have them try a martial arts class. (Tips for finding a great dojo here.)


This archery set has everything needed to begin learning the sport: bow, arrows, quiver, target, and arm guard. Round it out with a gift certificate for classes at a local archery range. This sport can lead to scholarships and hunting skills.

Ax Throwing

This clever indoor-outdoor ax-throwing set uses a bristle target to trap dull (read that safe) axes. This could be a fun grandchild/grandparent activity, too! It goes without saying that this is one sport that requires close supervision.

Keep Kids Playing (Music)

Okay, we all know the traditional standby instruments on which kids take lessons. But these musical gifts for kids put a bit different spin on them. Check them out! I think I might want them all.

Steel Tongue Drum Kit

Here’s an alternative to a drum set and a lifetime supply of earplugs. At just six inches in diameter, this Steel Tongue Drum Kit is supremely portable and takes up virtually no space. It produces an ethereal sound using either mallets or fingers. And it comes in a choice of colors and with a carrying bag so it can be put away when not in use. I like the sound of that!


Don’t let the petite size fool you because this little accordion fits teens and bigger kids at heart also. It gives a workout, too. Pushing, pulling, twisting. But the kids will just think it’s fun. Instructions and some easy starter songs are included.


This one is really better for a passel of kids, but if you’ve got a creative group, then the possibilities with these Boomwhackers are endless. And lest you think they would just produce a bunch of noise (okay, they might), check out what this group did with William Tell Overture (music begins at 2:05) or this funny Carol of the Bells church skit with shepherds. Your kids could come up with their own!

Thumb Piano

Does the name give it away? A handheld piano you play with your thumbs. How novel is that! And the music is lovely, too. This set comes with everything a budding thumb piano player needs to get started: thumb piano, tune hammer, instruction book, stickers, flannelette bag, and cleaning fabric.

Keep Kids Learning (Less Common but Still Useful Skills)

Yes, technically, all the gifts for kids on this list keep them learning. (How cool is that?) However, these are either less common ways of practicing skills or simply hobbies not often seen anymore that also provide skills practice.

Whittling Kit

Whittling is a fun and creative hobby and a way to introduce kids to safe knife skills.  They’ll also improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Add in some gloves to protect their hands, too!  If they really take a liking to it, get them a beginner book of projects and more wood.

Bow Drill Fire Starter Kit

Patience, persistence, concentration. All three will be needed to successfully use this introduction to primitive friction fire-making. The Bow Drill Fire Starter Kit is not just a survival tool but a survival learning tool.

Lock Pick Set

Unless there’s some reason you want to keep the kids out of your Halloween candy, this Lock Pick Set will give them hours of challenge. Lock-picking develops patience, persistence, and the ability to manage emotions. But, oh, the satisfaction the first time that lock opens! Keep them practicing by asking friends and family for locks they’ve lost the keys for. I don’t know why we keep them around, but we do.

Knot Tying Game

Tying knots is a basic survival skill but also one that’s useful in daily life as well. This Knot Tying Game is a fun way to reinforce the knots kids know. Or, it can serve as a fun introduction to tying various knots. However, the best way to make this knowledge stick is for kids to have a chance to use them in real-life applications. This Knot Tying Kit with carabiners and practice cord or this book helps on that front.

Survival Tips Playing Cards

Here’s something fun! It’s two games in one — regular playing cards AND 52 survival scenarios to discuss and solve — all in one deck. They learn survival skills while they play!

Keep Kids Growing (Plants and Food)

Here are some gifts for kids with green thumbs. Even if they don’t, watching things grow is exciting for all ages. Plus, these kits make it easier for all abilities to experience the joy of growing food.

Beginners Herb Gift Basket

If you have a budding herbalist, build a basket of mild essential oils (lavender and lemon, for example), seeds for an herb garden, the Wildcraft: An Herbal Adventure Game, and a copy of A Kid’s Herb Book. Or buy the book ahead of time to get more ideas of what to include in a gift basket!

Grow With Me Root Viewer

The only thing more fun than watching your garden grow might be watching what is happening beneath the soil. This clever planting kit lets kids see both. And the included garden journal allows kids to document their observations.

DIY Garden Kit

If you’d rather gift a full-on garden kit for growing vegetables and flowers, this might be the kit for you. It includes everything needed right down to a small planter. Germination guaranteed or they’ll send replacements.

Keep Kids Adventuring (While Learning Practical Skills)

There are a lot of practical skills kids can learn while also having a lot of fun. Check these ideas out!

Survival Kit

Give kids the gift of knowledge and know-how to better handle outdoor survival situations. Start with a copy of  Survivor Kid and a good-quality compass. Add in some of the items in this article for a kid’s first aid kit, and this checklist for a wilderness survival kit. Or split items up for stocking stuffers!

Animal Tracking

The Who Pooped…? series of books features animal scat information for different parts of the country, including the Black Hills and a few other National Parks. A book my kids thoroughly enjoyed is Tracks, Scats, and Signs. Another take-along option is this waterproof, spiral-bound book with life-size pictures of tracks.

Codes and Ciphers

Kids learn the skills of secret communication with this book about creating their own secret languages. Challenge them to create a special method of communication for the family that could be used in emergencies. Pair it with a couple of decoder rings or cipher wheels for added fun.

Keep Kids Creating (Useful and/or Beautiful Items)

These ideas help kids get in touch with the creative side.

Papermaking Kit

There’s something satisfying about creating beautifully crafted paper and then using that paper to write a letter or a story. This papermaking kit allows kids to experience that thrill themselves. Add in this book about making paper from weeds and a fountain pen to complete the sensory experience. If calligraphy is a skill they might be interested in, then this book for kids will give them plenty of instruction and practice.

Bookbinding Kit

After they’ve made their own paper, they can turn it into their very own handmade book with this bookbinding toolset for beginners. In fact, they could make their own gifts this way!

LCD Writing Tablet

One of the advantages of this LCD Writing Tablet is the ability to lock the screen. If your child isn’t finished with their creation, or if they are and want to save it to show grandparents, or anyone else, later, they can do so. They could also use it with the codes and ciphers above.

Keep Kids Eating (By Making Their Own Foods)

Okay, if you have teen boys, this may not be an issue for you. But for everyone else, these ideas are still fun!

Cheese Making Kit

Kids can make their own cheese! Eat it plain, with crackers, or make pizza. This cheese-making kit includes everything you need, including a thermometer. If the cheese is too hot, you might want to grab an inexpensive pair of gloves, too.

DIY Bubble Gum

Yes, technically, this is not food. But how fun is it to be able to make your own bubble gum! This Bubble Gum Food Science Activity Kit teaches kids the science behind bubble gum and lets them mix their own flavors if they want.

Stocking Stuffers

In addition to those already mentioned items, here are a few more good choices for the stuffing of the stockings.


Small but loud, a whistle has many uses. Kids can put it on a keyring, a backpack, or wear it around their neck. This thing blows 100 decibels, so if they become separated from you, they can alert you to their location. Or warn of danger. This 5-in-1 Survival Whistle is another option.

Pocket Knife

Even young children can be taught to use a pocket knife safely. And it’s a skill that will serve them well into their adult prepping years. They come in many fun colors boys and girls will like. To go with it, consider wrapping and putting under the tree one or both of these books: Swiss Army Knife Camping & Outdoor Survival Guide: 101 Tips, Tricks & Uses or Swiss Army Knife Whittling Book. Use your judgment as to your child’s readiness, of course, since I don’t know your precocious child.


Signaling is all about how to communicate when typical modes of communication are either not available or not safe to use. Kids love this “secret code” type of thing! Start with this simple introduction to Morse code. 

Valentine’s Day isn’t the only time we need gifts for kids, is it? And this list is great for gift-giving all year. Save it so you can find it easily when you need more ideas for kids in your life!

P.S. Need gift ideas for the grown-up preppers in your life? Check out our unique and thoughtful Valentine’s gifts for the prepper in your life, including Survival Mom’s gorgeous AND useful 2023 calendar with 12 months of tasks to help you become better prepared!

What gifts for kids are you liking this year? Share in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Gift Guide for Kids – Unique and Useful Ideas for Girls & Boys”

  1. Amazing gift guide. I really enjoy your blogs as you always bring some thing special and new every time. Thanks for it, I really appreciate it.

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