Sure, technology and electronics have made our lives a million times easier over the past couple of decades, and on winter days when the kids are snowed in, an iPad or video game can be a total godsend.
But that doesn’t mean we want our kids to be plugged in all the time — and there are so many toys out there that kids can have a blast with that won’t turn them into zombies.
So this season, give kids the gift of a screen-free holiday with these fun presents.
1. Portable playhouse
There’s just something about a playhouse that instantly whisks kids to another time and place. The Land of Nod has a bunch of fun portable indoor playhouses, including a Jetaire camper (pictured), various teepees, a horse stable, ice cream truck and much more. (The Land of Nod, $99 and up)
2. Blankie Tails
For those kids out there fascinated with Shark Week, Blankie Tails’ plush shark tail blanket is the perfect gift to curl up with. And if sharks are a little too scary, the company also has a variety of mermaid tail blankets too. (Blankie Tails, $35)
3. An awesome LEGO kit
Everybody loves LEGOs, and this Marvel superheroes set is especially awesome. (Target, $26)
4. A personalized picture book
With Lost My Name books, you personalize the pages to the receiver’s name and each child’s adventure is totally unique and based on their moniker. For example, a child called Charlie would meet a chameleon, hippo, aardvark, robot, lobster, imp and elephant in the story. (Lost My Name, $30)
5. Little Tikes hopper
Who knew a huge inflatable ball with a handle on top could pretty much be the best toy on the planet? (Toys “R” Us, $13)
6. Mini karaoke machine
It’s almost every kid’s dream to be a rock star. Singing Machine’s little karaoke player will sure make them feel like one. (Amazon, $48)
7. Super Moon night-light
Feed a child’s fascination with outer space with this super-cool remote-control night-light that mimics the appearance of the real moon. It even has moon-landing sound effects and a built-in electronic lunar clock that will automatically match the real moon outside. (Amazon, $38)
8. Cabbage Patch doll
Blast from the past! The dolls of our youth are still around, even if they don’t look exactly the same. Cabbage Patch Kids have gotten a bit of a makeover, but children still love to squeeze them. (Toys “R” Us, $35)
9. Shockwave scooter
Radio Flyer makes more than just little red wagons. For kids who like a little adventure, the Shockwave scooter is the perfect holiday gift pick. Made of solid steel with built-in suspension, it will stand up to your child’s need for speed and jumps — and the foot brake offers parents a little added peace of mind. (Amazon, $73)
10. Easy-Bake Oven
Future foodies will love whipping up treats in an Easy-Bake Oven just like their parents did back in the good old days. But because those little cake batter packets can get expensive in a hurry, don’t forget to give them recipes for their own homemade mixes! (Kohl’s, $56)
What are your favorite screen-free gifts for kids?
Before you go, check out our slideshow below.
Originally published November 2012. Updated November 2016.