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6 Ways To Give A Family Experience Instead Of A Gift

By Vicki Little

It seems that every year the wish lists get longer and the time gets shorter. And with each passing year, we have less time to spend with our kids as they grow older and their interests change. (Suddenly hanging out with Mom isn’t cool anymore?!) Whether they like to admit it or not, all kids still have that tiny voice inside screaming, “Watch this! Mom, look! Mom, look!” Give the best gift to them, and to yourself, and give them a bit of time with you.

Giving a family experience rather than toys or electronics does not have to be expensive, it just takes a little creativity. The key is to think about what your child enjoys spending time doing and then find an experience that would allow him or her to do just that. It is even better if it is something your child has never done before, such as watching a play instead of a movie. Here are some ideas:

  • If you have a gamer (video or otherwise) in your family, ditch the packaged games for an unforgettable experience at an escape room. These team-oriented games require players to use different elements of the room to solve puzzles and escape the room within a set time limit. A similar idea is a murder-mystery dinner.
  • For the kids who love to be pampered, put down the expensive plush robe and bath bomb set. Instead, get a spa day for two to spend time having fun and relaxing with one another.
  • Kids who love arts and crafts are usually easy to shop for, and shopping for experiences for them isn’t an exception. Get a certificate for a painting, cooking, dancing, or other class. But be sure to do it together so you can both expand your horizons and try something new.
  • For your math or science fanatic, skip the chemistry set and graphing calculator and instead get a membership to a museum — added points for a museum you haven’t already explored. There are more museums than the typical nature and science one, such as air-space museums, children’s museums, small cultural museums, art museums, etc. Try doing a search to find one near you.
  • While your music-lover would be thrilled to receive yet another iTunes gift card, they would be blown away if they received concert tickets to their favorite artist. Or even just a night out listening to a local band they enjoy so they can share their interest with you.
  • A great gift that will save money throughout the year is a season pass to a favorite place. The skating rink, trampoline place, bowling, mini golf, swimming… wherever they’d like to go. That way, you don’t have to worry if you have budgeted enough money for one of these outings when everyone has cabin fever and they decide they want to go bowling.

What would be the perfect “experience gift” for your family?


Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two children. A Colorado native, she spends her time writing, sitting in the bleachers for her daughter’s gymnastics, and engaging in spirited debates with her son. In her free time…well, she is still waiting for some of that.


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1 Comment

  1. Damian
    January 17, 2017 @ 8:34 pm

    Great ideas. Im definitely going to try out the museum idea. Im sure it will feel great to build a routine of learning and visiting with the kids! Hopefully hanging out with mom and dad will be cool again 🙂


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