12 Screen-less gift ideas kids will love

Coming up with unique gifts for the holidays to help promote off-screen time for kids and teens is something I have enjoyed writing about in the past and I’m jazzed to do it again today.

1. Consider a gift that, adds a fun or relaxing touch to a bedroom. The more a room can be thought of as a space for reflection, creativity, and relaxation, the better – rather than a place to sink into screen time. (In fact, I highly recommend making bedrooms screen-free zones for kids less than mid-high school age). Here are a few gifts ideas to support this sentiment:

  • This cinema light box is a marquee for your teen or tween. They can set up their favorite sayings or make up some of their own and display them on the backlit box.

  • This mini diffuser can make a room smell great.

  • How about a Strange Dream Journal for your teen—talking about dreams is something the whole family can do—as a parent, do you have any dreams you remember from growing up? I do, and it was because my aunt gave me a dream journal for my birthday. The dreams I remember are the ones I wrote down.

2. An alarm clock is an important gift. In fact, it keeps on giving—every day that a young person does not use the phone as an alarm clock means longer and deeper sleep (research has shown this). Here is cool one that has a Bluetooth speaker so if your teen likes something audio at bedtime, (such as the app “CALM”), then it could be piped in from a phone or other device outside the bedroom into the speaker. For a child, this robot alarm clock is pretty cool, and the eyes even light up. (Please no wise remarks about the hands).

*Word of caution, don’t approach changing any rules on a day of gift giving….(I am sure you weren’t thinking of doing so, but I just wanted to put in this obvious advice. When you do consider introducing a new rule, you may find my TTT from last week helpful).

3. One of my favorite gifts was giving my daughter $50 to do a micro-loan on Kiva and since then we have used the return of the loan to donate to others. In fact, we just got a notice that Las Mariposas Group in Guatemala, a women’s collective starting a store, just paid us back and now we have the chance to re-lend $48.40 to others from around the world. Having lived in many low-income countries over the years, I was always saddened about how nearly impossible it can be for hardworking people to get small loans to start or improve businesses.

4. Many years ago I signed up for Little Passports for my kids. It was started by two moms to inspire children to learn about the world. They send a package each month and youth love getting the package in the mail.

5. I am a big fan of magazine subscriptions. New Moon Magazine is wonderful for girls from ages 8 to 12-years old. You might also consider Nat Geo Kids, Sports Illustrated Kids, and Outside Magazine.

6. Remember the Rubik’s Cube? Skewb ultimate is that on steroids. The 12-sided puzzle is in the shape of a dodecahedron. Scramble the colors then restore them to their original configuration. This will keep your kid busy for hours.

7. This 3D Globe Puzzle makes a great gift as well as a fantastic family activity. It is pricey but may be a wonderful way to bond as a family. The 540-piece puzzle looks like an exact replica of a globe when it is built.

8. Offline Games. This list could go on forever, but here some ideas:

We Didn't Playtest This At All. This ridiculous game gives players cards that will most likely make everyone else lose within one or two turns. It is a game of survival where no one survives for very long, but everyone wants to play again anyway.

Fluxx. If you are a type A personality this game will drive you nuts. The goal of the game, along with the rules, keep changing as you play. There are five types of cards: Keeper, Creeper, New Rule, Goal, and Action cards. Once a player has the Keeper cards in front of them that match the Goal card in play, they win. Pretty simple until someone adds a new rule or changes the goal.

Machi Koro. Using dice, cards, and a little luck each player is working to build the best city. Each player must roll dice to collect money from their property cards. That money can then be used to buy more property cards to collect even more money or to build one of four landmarks needed to win the game. A wonderful game of strategy and chance with beautiful artwork to enjoy when you are losing to your children.

9. Creation gifts are the best—what about creating music?  A harmonica or perhaps a ukulele? And it is so great that there are many lessons on the internet for free.

10. A songwriting journal is perfect for your young musician. This unique journal has lines for lyrics and melody as well as spots for the feel and groove of their toon.

11. Tickets to see music, a sports game. A gift certificate to StubHub is a way for them to choose what they want to do when they are ready. A bonus is if you will say it is time with you—kids and teens want some undistracted fun time with us often more than they let on. . .  

12. For the budding chef, this edible flower garden could be a nice gift.

If you are interested in seeing Screenagers, you can find event listings on our site. Or, join the thousands of people who have hosted a screening in their community to help spark change.

We encourage you to share this, and other TTTs, widely with your community. You are welcome to republish this in your newsletters as long as you credit us and put a link to our TTT page. If you do this please let us know by emailing lisa@screenagersmovie.com.