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8 Christmas ideas for kids that are not toys

SALT LAKE CITY — For many children, Christmas and toys are synonymous.

Families collect a myriad of dolls, stuffed animals, action figures and other toys each year, but kids often outgrow or break them before the next Christmas.

In 2013, parents spent an average of $438 per child on toys in the United States, according to Statista.

Rather than spending too much money on a toy that could be stepped on or forgotten about, take a look at this list of non-toy items that just may be the perfect Christmas gifts for your children.

Memberships A membership to a zoo, aquarium or water park is a gift that can be used throughout the year while providing children with fun and sometimes educational experiences. The memories they’ll create while visiting local attractions with family or friends will accompany them throughout their life.

Magazine Subscriptions Highlights, Zoobooks or American Girl can be fun reading material for kids, and a monthly subscription adds excitement all year long. These magazines can keep some kids occupied for hours, and they may boost reading interest too.

Arts & Crafts Creating art can be fun and time-consuming for children. Beading necklaces, molding clay or illustrating a story book may boost creativity and be a great activity for kids to do with their friends on a rainy day.

Books Books make great gifts for kids of all ages. “This Book Has No Pictures” by B.J. Novak, “Mix It Up!” by Herve Tullet and “Mr. Ferris and His Wheel” by Katherine Gibbs Davis and Gilbert Ford are a few of this year’s picture books adored by children.

Lessons Many parents pay a lot of money for music, dance and athletic lessons, but children may appreciate them more if it comes in the form of a gift. Practicing the piano may not seem like such a chore if your child asked to learn.

Restaurant Gift Cards Kids love going out to eat, but taking the whole family can be expensive for mom and dad. A restaurant gift card can make for special one-on-one time for a parent and their child. Pick a day, and take your child to pick something fun off the menu of their favorite restaurant.

Family Projects Quality time is an important gift, and learning to do something new with a family member can be irreplaceable for a child. Whether it’s sewing lessons with grandma or fly fishing with grandpa, your kids will appreciate these memories more and more as the years go by.

Collections Many people remember collections they had during their childhood, and some keep them for years. Not only is the start of a stamp or rock collection a great gift, adding to the collection can be a go-to gift each Christmas.