25 Experience Gift Ideas For Kids

We are heading into the Christmas season and if you are a parent I am sure you’ve received your fair share of the following:

“what should I get ____ for Christmas?”;

“Do you think he’d like this toy?”; “I saw this giant ____ and I bet she would just love it!”

As family and friends begin wanting to shower your kiddos with gifts this holiday season, it may begin to feel overwhelming and stressful.

If you are anything like I was two years ago, you may even feel bad for wanting to tell family and friends “thanks but no thanks!”.

It is hard when you know the gifts are coming from a place of love. But if your children aren’t needing any new toys, you don’t want any new toys, or perhaps you just don’t have space for any new toys, these questions can be stressful.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good, quality toy as much as the next mama.

In fact, I have shared my recommendations for open-ended toys for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.

But while I love watching my little ones explore the world of play with toys, I will admit, too many toys can easily become overwhelming!

Even the most well thought out, quality toys can begin to accumulate and create clutter. 

Experience gift ideas for children
Enjoying the amusement park during Winterfest 2018

The good news is that toys and Christmas gifts do not have to be a source of holiday stress this year!

You can reduce the number of physical gifts, but still give your children hours of fun and adventure simply by investing in EXPERIENCES rather than more toys. 

We’ve seen this recommendation everywhere, and for good reason.

Adding experiences to a child’s Christmas list in place of more toys benefits not only the kids but also us as parents.

Needing More Experiences

We’ve all seen on Facebook or heard from friends the annoyance of too many toys.

Or heard of kids that are “bored” despite so many toys.

The internet today allows us the ability to see and learn about practically anything in this world with the swipe of a finger.

But the downside is that too many people have forgotten how to truly experience these things.

People are instead buried behind a phone or a computer screen watching others do it.

Experience gift ideas for kids
Amusement park rides

The Benefits of Experience Gifts

By including experience gifts on your children’s Christmas list, the benefits will last much longer than the mess of wrapping paper on Christmas morning.

Here are just a few of the benefits of experiences over more stuff

making cookies for Christmas
  1. Time together as a family. Experiences encourage folks to come out from behind their screens and take in the event or world around them. Together you and your family can try or experience something entirely new.
  2. Lasting memories. Think back to your own childhood. What memories come to mind first? Is it the doll you got for your fifth birthday? Likely it is the times spent with family, friends, and the people you love. 
  3. New experiences. You have the ability to show your children different parts of this big, wonderful world we live in. By purchasing experiences over things you can show them artwork, animals, sports, and worlds they may not know exist. You may even lead them to find a new hobby or interest that could shape them for the rest of their life. 
  4. Less clutter and less stress. This one is pretty easy to understand. Fewer toys laying around means fewer toys to clean up later. And less stress for parents when the questions of what to buy come up. 

Life is full of so many amazing things to see and do and giving experience gifts provides children with a chance to try something new.

Here is a list of experience gifts with options sure to be enjoyed by all ages!

25 Experience Gifts:

  1. Zoo Membership
  2. Museum Membership. Art museums, children’s museums, science museums. Nearly all museums have something to offer. 
  3. Tickets to a sporting event. You could get tickets to a favorite team or maybe find a new sport to go watch. 
  4. Single day passes to the zoo or museums. Don’t know if your kiddos will enjoy the zoo or a museum membership? A single day visit is a great way to try something new!
  5. Cooking class
  6. Music lessons
  7. Tickets to a Disney, PBS, or other puppet theater stage show
  8. Summer camp tuition
  9. Ice or roller skating 
  10. Rock Climbing: I was surprised to learn that many rock climbing places have patrons as young as four or five!
  11. Pool pass for the summer
  12. Scuba lessons: beginner lessons can begin as early at 10 years old
  13. Tickets to the movies
  14. Art classes
  15. A real train ride to a new town
  16. Aquarium tickets
  17. Comedy show tickets
  18. State Park pass or day pass: Get out in nature and climb, camp, hike, and explore. Maybe pack a picnic lunch and make a day of it. 
  19. Passes to drive go-karts
  20. Putt-Putt passes
  21. Tickets to see a musical or Broadway show
  22. Visit to a historical town or day of historical reenactment
  23. Amusement park tickets
  24. Concert tickets
  25. Animal or critter encounters: These are usually at zoos or preserves and can be a great learning experience for kids.

By changing your mindset from “stuff” to “experiences”, you can really create lasting memories this holiday season.

If you are struggling with what to offer family to get your children.

Or if you don’t know what YOU can get your kids.

Consider adding an experience gift idea in place of toys under the tree this year!

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Gift Experience Ideas for Children

More in the Holiday Gift Series

Thank you for following along during my Holiday Gift Series this year. If you are just finding the series, check out the other posts below.


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