Often, the most memorable gifts we receive aren’t things, but they’re experiences and activities. Consider gifting something other than a toy this holiday season. Give a “coupon” for a special outing with a child, or give one of the ideas from the Experiences Gift Guide below.
- Art Supplies / My Giant Busy Box – Art supplies are always a great gift that will keep kids engaged for many crafting sessions. Make your own “art jar” to gift with a variety of arts and crafts supplies. Or purchase a pre-made set like this one from Alex Toys that makes 16 different projects.
- Butterfly Growing Kit / Ant Farm – Watching caterpillars transform themselves into butterflies is a mesmerizing process, and this kit gives kids an up-close view of the action. An ant farm let you watch the ants creating intricate tunnels. Both of these will give kids a greater appreciation of nature and be an experience they remember for years.
- Movie Theater Gift Card – Give the gift of a movie theater experience, and paying for their movie ticket with their own card will make kids feel special. Make it extra special by including concession stand money or a coupon for a movie date together. Another option is to bundle a kid’s movie DVD with some fun snacks for an at-home movie night.
- Highlights Magazine – These magazines are terrific for kids, and they have three options depending on the child’s age. High Five is for ages 2-6, and it includes stories, hidden pictures, recipes, games & activity ideas. We’ve had a High Five subscription for a couple of years, and each issue is well-loved. Highlights is for ages 6-12 and also includes science experiments, BrainPlay, and jokes. There’s even a Hello magazine for ages 0-2!
- Lego Rental Subscription – Large Lego sets are pricey, and often once the set is completed, it’s left assembled and not played with again. Instead, why not gift a Lego rental? The child can choose which set to rent. Then the sanitized set is shipped to their house, and they can play with it for 60 days before sending the rental back. You can also purchase a membership for back-to-back rentals.
- Kiwi Co Crates – Gift a “crate” according to the child’s age range (from 0 – 16+), and they’ll be sent a box full of supplies and instructions for multiple projects within a theme along with a magazine. Kits are so creative and fun that kids won’t even realize that they’re learning.
- KidStir Cooking Kits – Perfect for the kid who loves to cook and create in the kitchen, these cooking kits contain several kid-sized cooking tools, themed activities, step-by-step recipes, and games. The shopping list is provided, so you only have to supply the ingredients. You could also create your own homemade “cooking kit” or set a date for cooking fun with the child.
- Pley Themed Activity Boxes – Choose from princess, adventurer, or Hot Wheels themed boxes, and a box will be delivered with activities, toys, and accessories, all of which are yours to keep. They also have a “toy library” with over 500 toys to rent.
- Annual Membership to Local Attractions – Give a gift that will keep giving all year long with a membership. Local attractions such as the zoo, children’s museum, museum of natural science, etc. are all good options. Members often get perks like admittance to special events. And it reduces the stress on parents, who won’t feel like they have to stay all day at an attraction to get their money’s worth.
- Ranger Rick Magazine – Choose from the Ranger Rick Jr. (ages 3-7) or the Ranger Rick magazine (ages 7+), which have fun animal facts, seasonal crafts, recipes, and more. Children love getting mail, and they’ll enjoy reading these magazines again and again.
What’s your favorite idea in this Experiences Gift Guide? What’s your favorite non-toy item to give as a gift?
P.S. For some tips on how to cut back and simplify things this Christmas as well as how I track my gift purchases, check out my Simplified Christmas post.