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Experience-Based Gift Ideas for Kids

Experience-based gift ideas seems to be the buzz among my mom friends. No breaking the bank for plastic that will loose their interest before the day is out. I’m listening. 

My initial thought was the crumble of the iconic Christmas morning rush. Walking out into the living room to piles of brightly-colored packages and Pentatonix’s sweet remix of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Could Christmas really look any other way?

So I ask around. Turns out, Christmas is still grand. Perhaps grand-ER, because the focus is no longer on things, but on people. Where it should be… on the celebration of Christ.

I have new goals for this Christmas. I’m not exactly sure how it’ll look. Perhaps a new guest around our table,  a game together,  or a coupon for horse-back riding lessons. Regardless, Pentatonix will still be playing.

christmas countdown

Experience Gift Ideas for Kids

Free Experiences:

1. Make a New Dessert Together- Give a basket full of ingredients and an invitation to create in the kitchen.

2. Offer to Teach a Skill You Have- Teach a skill you have, such as cooking, crocheting, knitting, building, drawing, dancing, etc.

3. Plan a Tour-Take a tour of your old stomping grounds, your favorite bakeries, parks, or bookstores.

4. A Coupon for a Gift of your Time– The simplicity of promising your undivided attention to your child is a gift that will most definitely be cherished.

5. Family Movie Night- Put a movie night pack together. Plan a fun evening of togetherness at home.

6. Hike– Share your love of the outdoors with your kids, invite your child to a hike with you.

7. Scavenger Hunt– Put together a scavenger hunt. (It can be fun for the whole family around the town, or in your own backyard.)

8. Plant a Garden-Give your child a place to plant their own garden. Furthermore, give them some tips then let them get to work.

9. Farm– Visit a local farm. Some activities might include: fruit or veggie picking, guided tours, animal petting, hayrides, or planned festivals.

10. Staycation– If money is tight or travel isn’t possible plan a staycation. Create some fun family memories by camping out in your living room or backyard.

11. Family Game Night– Invite your kids to a family game night. Give a list of games and a menu of their favorite snacks.

12. Get Pictures Together– Find family a member or friend who can capture your family having fun together. No pressure, just memorable candid shots of being yourselves.

13. Build Something Together– Invite your child to join you in building something. Some options might include a bird house, pallet project, model cars/planes, etc.

14. Home Spa Day– Surprise your family with a spa day at home. (Foot soak, Mani/Pedi’s, cucumbers, relaxing music…)

Educational Experiences:

1. Lessons– Give the gift of a skill by signing your kids up for lessons. Some ideas include: instruments, skiing, karate, horseback riding, dance, art, sports, etc.

2. Nature School– Enroll your kids for a season of nature school, where they learn to love the outdoors and basic survival skills.

3. Membership to a Local Performing Arts Theater– Expose your child to the theater with a membership to your local performing arts.

4. Monthly Box of Fun– Get a monthly subscription box. Some ideas are Little Passports, Green Kid Crafts, Hello Bible Box..etc.

5. Museum Membership– Experience art, history, or science together with a membership to your favorite museum.

6. Zoo, Safari, or Aquarium Visit– Surprise your kids with a fun day trip to experience animals they don’t normally get to see.


Memorable Experiences

1. Annual Park Pass– Get a park pass and visit the national parks in your area.

2. Water park-spend the day at a water park.

3. Theme Park– Spend the day at their favorite theme park or even splurge for a membership.

4. Mini Golf– Give a coupon for a fun activity of miniature golf with the family. (And perhaps an extra one so they can include a friend.)

5. Bowling-Go bowling for an evening or join a league.

6. Skating- Invite your kids to an evening of music and skating at your local skate rink.

7. Rock Climbing Center– Purchases passes to a local rocking climbing center and challenge each other to reach the top.

8. Paint Pottery– Give a coupon to a painting pottery class and see what you can create.

9. Bounce House– Give the gift of exhilaration and surprise your child with a day to a bounce house or trampoline center.

10. Movie Theater Gift Card-Take the whole family out for a night at the theater.Tickets to a sporting event, comedy or concert- Get tickets to a local artist, orchestra, or their favorite sports team.

11. Vacation– Go on a road trip or even a new country. Give the gift of adventure and exploration.


Experiences that Involve Giving to Others

1. Board Games with the Elderly– Plan an evening to spend time with your favorite elderly friends. (If they can’t come to you, go to them.) Bring the games and a few yummy treats.

2. Sponsor a Child– Allow your child to share your family’s wealth with someone less fortunate. With this in mind, brainstorm ways to bless them, then put your plan into action. 

3. Plan a Party for friends– Invite your child to host a party in your home. For instance, have them plan the menu and activities, then encourage them lead. 

4. Make Teacher Gifts– Pick a cute and easy craft to make for your child’s teacher (or all the teachers in the school/church). Furthermore, make the crafts together then have your child deliver them personally.

5. Child/Parent Journal– Give a journal that you share with your child. It can include poetry, drawings, favorite things, and more.

6. Meals on Wheels– Find a Meals of Wheels type organization to contribute homemade meals for those in need. 

7. Cookies for a Neighbor– Bake your favorite cookies and take them next door.

8. Make birthday Boxes for kids in Foster Care– Fill shoe boxes with special items for kids just arriving at dhs, or to be given on their birthdays.

9. Go Shopping for your Local Homeless Shelter– Purchase some basic-need items and deliver them to your local homeless shelter. (A batch of holiday treats might make a nice addition.)

10. Surprise the Mailman or Trash Man– Make a fun craft, card, or treat and leave them for the people who serve your home every week.


How to Wrap an Experience Gift

1.  You can present tickets, coupons, or invitations using fun envelopes or boxes.

2. Gift the ingredients or materials needed for the activity you are planning to do together.

3. Give a small ornament or symbol of what the experience might be and have them guess.

4.  No gifting, just surprise them.

5.  Be creative!

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What are your experience gift ideas?

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