This year for Christmas we are going to focus on giving our kids experience gifts. These are gifts will give us the opportunity to go out and do something as a family or even something to do together inside. The idea behind this is that we want to create more memories, and we are trying to declutter! We have so many toys sitting around that rarely get played with. In our house, the excitement only lasts for a few weeks after Christmas and then they fall into the deep dark abyss that is our toy room bin. Not only that we are have recently decided to get rid of things we don’t use/need and simplify as much as possible before we move. So here I’ve created a list with some ideas for kids experience gifts for less stuff and more memories! These ideas will vary based on your child’s age, abilities, and interests, but feel free to use this guide as a starting off point your own ideas as well.
Kids Experience Gifts
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For a Gift That Keeps Giving…
This is a gift that keeps giving! With a membership, the kids get to go again and again. There are so many different types of museums. Children’s Museums are a great option for kids as there are so many hands-on learning opportunities. We have visited several Children’s Museums in our travels and the kids always have fun. Be sure to check to see if a museum membership near you is a part of the ACM or ASTC which may offer free or discounted admission to other museums in the network. This benefit is so great for families who travel and like to check out new museums!
A zoo or aquarium membership is also a great option for kids. The membership for a zoo near us also includes additional discounts at the zoo and the local area, member-only hours, as well as discounted admission with other zoos throughout the country. So be sure to check out the benefits and details for membership around your area.
For the Traveler…
Are you planning on traveling (or happen to live near) a city that offers a CityPASS? There are several cities including New York, San Francisco, Chicago, and more. A CityPASS combines major attractions from the city into a convenient booklet that offers considerable savings compared to buying each admission separately. Be sure to look at the FAQs and details for each city to get more information.
For the Nature Lover…
National Parks Pass We have a Parks pass and it’s our goal to visit as many National Parks as possible. I’m always amazed by the beauty this country has to offer, and we’ve has so many great experiences as a family at National Parks. If you have a 4th grader, there is a FREE Annual 4th Grade Park Pass you’ll want to take advantage of!
You may also want to check with your state and regional parks that charge admission, because they will often have passes as well. You may also be able to find tickets for horseback riding, swimming, rafting, skiing, canoeing, and more depending on the age of your child.
To Learn Something New…
I still remember classes I took as a child. They were not only great learning experiences but I really loved it. My son who is only 4, has been asking to take more lessons now that he is finished with soccer. He already mentioned he’d love to try gymnastics, karate, volleyball, and music. There are many different ways to find lessons, but a good place to start is by looking at a local deals site, the county website, or YMCA. Our county offers gift cards and we’ve taken swim lessons through them. My kids would be THRILLED to get a gift card like that for Christmas.
For a Fun Time Out
Activity Passes or Ticket:
For these places, as single ticket would be a great gift. Many places offer multi-admission passes or season passes as well. For example, around here we have a bounce house that offers a pass that includes 5 admissions. It’s affordable and my kids love it! A pass like this is so great to have for getting energy out on snow days when we might otherwise be stuck inside.
Other places to look into are Ice Skating Rinks, Bowling Centers, Batting Cages, and Gymnastics Gyms with open gym or play times.
We don’t go to the movie theater often, so when we do it’s a special treat, and there are always those great movies that come out around Christmas!
For the Makers and Doers
Art Sets: There are so many things that can be created with an art set. Kits will vary based on age, skill, and preference, but there a many options for kids who love to create!
Science Kits: This is technically “stuff” but the point is it provides an experience. and many a great for spending time together. They usually have everything needed to complete a science experiment, and since the materials are usually “used up” in the experiment, there wont be much clutter left around!
For Family Fun…
I love family game nights, and I’m so excited that my 4 year old is starting to understand how games work! This is on our list this year because games are such a great experience and opportunity for families to spend time together. For my 4 year old who is just figuring things out, we will probably start with classics like Candy Land, Hungry Hungry Hippos, and Guess Who, but there are so many new games out that we would love to try.
Do you have anything you’d add to this list of Kids Experience Gifts? Let me know in the comments!
Related: Open-Ended Gifts for Toddlers – Gifts that allow many different ways to play, and more gift guides from Creative Little Explorers!