A Different Kind of Gift

Family in the Snow

With the Christmas season is now in full swing, we are often wondering what is the perfect gift to give our kids?  Endless hours are spent at the mall, scouring the internet and asking other moms for gift ideas.  A certain type of gift that is becoming more popular these days is the gift of experience.  As parents, we want to spend our money on good quality items that our kids will appreciate and enjoy.  Something that has a lasting effect. An experience can be the perfect gift to fill this desire!  Our family started this tradition last year and it's really paid off in some greatly beneficial ways:

-  It's gotten us out of the house and made us explore new things in our area that we haven't taken the time to do/see yet. 

-  It's helped us bond more with each other, and created stories for our memories to share for years to come! 

- It can fit any budget!  Experiences don't have to break the bank!  They can even be less costly than traditional toy gifts.  Better yet, some can be free!

Convinced?  Here are 20 experience ideas to give you a start:

1. Zoo Membership- we all love seeing the animals!

2. Museum Membership- depending on age, you could go with children's museum or a natural history museum. Explore your area to find museums that will fit your kid's personality.

3. A week at summer camp- has there been a certain activity/camp that your child has been begging to attend?  Set aside the money for the tuition and book it! (we are doing soccer camp this year!)

4. A weekend getaway- this doesn't have to be extravagant!  A weekend at Great Wolf Lodge, camping, a fun destination an hour or so away can be super memorable!

5. A session of Art Classes- Art schools in our area have a big price tag, but we found one a little further away that is much less expensive! Think about your schedule and how far you're willing to travel for this.

6. Pool Membership- With more and more towns offering public pools, a summer membership can save money and provide a fun place to cool off and spend those long summer days.

7. Hiking trip- Getting outdoors regardless of the temps is always exciting for our little ones.  Nature is around us year round.  Get out and discover our earth!

8. Music lessons- is your little one banging away on pots and pans all day?  A session of music lessons can be a fun way to help teach them a valuable skill.

9. Gym/little Gym/ Gymboree Membership- no matter the age of your child, getting them up and moving is always healthy!

10. A trip to the bookstore- join the kids reading time, budget for some new books and put it on a gift card for him/her to shop on their own.

11. Tickets to a play/show- There are so many local theatres around, find one close to you and see what shows they offer for little ones.  There are usually a few throughout the year.   

12. Bowling- take a trip as a family to the bowling alley!  Many offer family night that is at a reduced price.

13. Pottery Painting- It's all the rage now!  Stop in at a pottery paint shop, let them pick out a piece to paint themselves!  This is one of our favorite activities to do.  Warning: it can get pricey pretty quickly!  We set a budget for the piece the child can choose, and we only let them pick useful pieces like mugs, or plates, flower pots.  I loathe dusting, so picking up more items to dust surfaces it not my favorite.

14. Do a Color Run together- these are fun events and noncompetitive!  Ask the race director if they allow strollers.  Usually the smaller ones do!

15. Family Date Night- Enjoy nice meal together to the restaurant of our child's choice!

16. Trampoline park- Indoor Trampoline play spaces are popping up everywhere!  Many offer other play spaces of little ones.  Pack socks and jump together!

17. Ice Skating- Find a local rink or frozen pond (that's safe!), get some skates and helmets and enjoy!

18. Tickets to Disney on Ice or Paw Patrol Live- two great family friendly events!

19. Movie Tickets- Kids pick the movie, you buy the tickets and popcorn!

20. Ski/Sledding Trip- Take a day or weekend and get in the mountains to enjoy the snow!

Tricia Lee

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