If your kids have too many toys, and so much “stuff” that you can barely walk across their room, how about giving some super fun experience gifts this year?
The holidays are soon upon us and I’m asking myself the same thing I ask each and every year. What can I do to give my family the kind of Christmas memories they’ll cherish when they’re all grown up? For one thing. I’ll make them lots of goodies, even though they might be in a sugar coma the entire month of December. (Lord, forgive me, but I can’t help myself.) If you’re the same way, try these Hot Cocoa Marshmallow Cookie Cups this year. They are ADORBS!
50 Awesome Experience Gifts to Give Instead of Toys
As I was researching all the ways I can make this holiday season extra special for my kiddos, I realized something. My goal each year isn’t to fill up their lives with things they don’t really care about. My goal is to fill up their memory banks with so much holiday happiness that they look back and smile when they’re older.
That’s why this year, I want to give them as many “experience gifts” as I can. Some are a little “spendy.” Some are inexpensive, and some are absolutely free. Oh, and by the way, I hope you’ll share your own ideas. I’m positive some of you have some amazing suggestions.
Some ideas for fun experience gifts.
1. Ziplining. Don’t freak out on me. I’m not talking about the kind of zipline you see on those YouTube videos that make you sick just looking at them. There are ziplines for the littles all across the United States. Look for one near you.
2. Kids date night. Your little monkeys will love, love, love a date night with Mom and Dad or both. Give them a cute, colorful certificate for a night out doing whatever they’d like.
3. Disney+ subscription.Every Disney movie at the push of a button? Yes, please.
4. Make your own themed subscription boxes. They get the first month on Christmas morning, and then they can open one a month. Be sure the whole family enjoys the contents together!
5. Explorers package. Binoculars, butterfly nets, jars, etc. You’ll have so much fun together.
6. Pottery class. When you add the word “class” it sounds too much like school so maybe leave that word out. Messy hands and misshapen bowls? So much yes. They’ll love it.
7. Karate lessons. You might be surprised at how much they get into it if you’re there.
8. Spa day. Not the fancy lady kind! The kind where small shes and hes get sweet little mani-pedis with mom and dad.
9. Train trip. There is nothing like chugging along in a train. You don’t have to go far if you don’t want to. Even if it’s only the next state over, it’s an experience gift they’ll remember.
10. Construction. Build something together. Birdhouse kits, derby car kit, etc.
Super Awesome Family Getaways (That aren’t Disney!)
11. Sleep on a boat. To be more specific, a yacht.
12. A Hobbit House. It’s so cute and it sits on 40 acres.
13. Spend the night in a treehouse. There are lots listed on Airbnb. You’ll all have a blast with one of these experience gifts.
14. Have a big time in a caboose. How cool is this? Such a fun experience gift for kids who love trains.
15. Rent this RV by the lake. No need to drive. Easy peasy!
16. A Yurt? That’s a yes.
17. How about a gorgeous cabin in the woods? Bunkbeds are always a blast for kiddos.
18. A houseboat. I’m all in on this one.
17. This castle is the stuff of dreams. They can play like kings and queens.
18. Love-a-Llama Lodge. Yep, there are llamas.
19. You can stay at Barbie’s house. I hear she’s got her own car and everything.
20. The Wagon Train is calling. Your family can stay in a Conestoga wagon like the settlers did but without pleurisy.
Passes & Tickets Experience Gifts
21. Movie passes. Don’t miss a single new family release.
22. Bowling passes. Go often, even if it means you have to wear those ugly shoes.
23. Family entertainment centers. You can’t go wrong with a membership to one of these places.
24. Water park tickets. If it’s cold, there are plenty that are indoors. If you live in a warm climate… lucky you.
25. Hands-on science museums. No Van Gogh’s here. Just touching things and doing things.
26. Indoor play places. Awesome for kids, awesome for parents.
27. Behind the scenes sports tickets. How about passes to your kiddos’ fave team with a “backstage” tour of the stadium?
28. Minigolf. A tried and true kid favorite.
29. Music lessons. This one is a great idea for kids who are interested in music.
30. Escape room. I’ve never done one, but if my kids get tickets to go, I win. (And so do they.)
Free or Almost Free
Don’t underestimate how much fun free (or super low cost) they can be if you put your mind to it. I recommend Dollar Tree and other dollar stores. Not much of a thrifter? Well, now might be the time to start. There are so many goodies at Goodwill and others that are either brand new or can be made to look new!
31. Make a gardening kit. Get to Dollar Tree and $10 will buy you a lot of fun gardening supplies that are just their size. They’ll have so much fun planting with you.
32. Put together an inexpensive crafting package. Crayons, markers, paint, paper, whatever you can find. Serve some colorful, silly food and sit together drawing and creating.
34. DIY family togetherness box. Fill it with all sorts of things you can do together at home. Puzzles, snacks, Redbox coupons, games, whatever your family loves to do.
35. “Tickets” to a backyard camping night. Nothing like the whole family under the stars right outside their back door.
36. A box of books. You can all read bedtime stories together each night.
37. Geocaching. It’s so much fun and families can do it together. Give them some little rocks and treasures in a box and a note that you’re going to start doing this together. It’s the world’s largest treasure hunt!
38. Little baker box. Fill it with mixes, small spatulas, their own potholders and more. A little apron you can decorate together could be cute, too.
39. Birdwatching gift box. This is a fun hobby for the whole family to take up.
40. Coupon for a Switcheroo Day. They get to be the mom or dad and plan the whole day. Do they want cupcakes for supper? Sorry. Those are the rules, Mom!
41. Karaoke. Wrap up a couple of karaoke tapes a cheap microphone and now it’s an awesome family party.
42. A family dinosaur box. Load it up with dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes with your promise to have a dinosaur-themed night.
43. Be a family of authors. Blank books, pencils and pens and one night a week where everyone sits down and works on a story that’s the theme that week.
44. It’s a tea party. The kids, you, and a bevy of stuffed animals can all attend. All you need are some cute tea party accessories (you can totally get free or cheap) and a new plush or two.
45. An adorbs kid’s calendar of crazy kid fun. Print out a calendar and for one day a week, you can create a theme for everyone to take part in. Maybe one day you all go to a movie, and another you might picnic at a park.
46. Ridiculous tickets. The sillier the better. How about a “bubbles in the house” or a “ticket to an indoor obstacle course” you can make for them.
47. Indoor fort supply box. Fill it with everything a kiddo and his parents needs to whip up a fort whenever they want.
48. Make blankies together. Fleece becomes “tie” blankets for the family when you make them together. Here’s how.
49. Carve out a reading nook. Maybe you have a closet you can clean out and use. Maybe it’s a little corner in the basement. Fix it up with some fluffy pillows, a soft rug, and plenty of books. A perfect place to snuggle and read.
50. Goofy family pretending box. All you need is a big box filled with goofy props, funny clothes, and silly hats. The whole family has to play!