50 Non-Toy Experience Gifts for Kids | This West Coast Mommy
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50 Non-Toy Experience Gifts for Kids

So yeah, Christmas is almost here and how did that happen? Every year we give and receive toys and books and clothes and more toys, but we simply don’t have the room to add much more to our cluttered house. I know that plenty of other families are also looking for gifts that won’t take up any more space in that already overstuffed toy box. I’m not suggesting that kids shouldn’t have anything to open on Christmas Day, but having fewer things isn’t a bad thing.

This list will give you some ideas for non-toy, experience gifts for kids that will give them the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends, learn new skills, have new experiences, and explore the world around them. When it comes to experience gifts, some places will provide you with a printed gift certificate or voucher, but if not, you can always create your own certificate so your child has something to open and they’ll know what special experience you’ve chosen to give them.

Lessons are a wonderful experience gift. This is the perfect opportunity for your child to learn something they’ve been curious about, or a chance to try something completely new. If you’re not sure where to find a particular class or teacher, other parents are a great source of recommendations. Your city’s recreational programs are a good source of budget-friendly ideas.
  • Art lessons
  • Music or singing lessons
  • Pottery classes
  • Gymnastics lessons
  • Swimming lessons
  • Ice skating lessons
  • Dance lessons
  • Martial arts classes
  • Archery lessons
  • Cooking classes
  • Yoga classes
  • Circus classes
  • Kid’s coding workshop

 
Or how about passes to a local attraction, play place, or museum? Check out annual family passes for year-round educational fun for the whole family.
  • Gift cards to your local indoor play park
  • Passes to a trampoline park
  • Passes to a climbing gym
  • Movie passes
  • Ski lift passes
  • Aquarium passes or family membership
  • Local children’s museum passes or family membership
  • Science centre passes or family membership
  • Guides/Scouts annual membership
  • Plan ahead with the gift of summer camp tuition
  • National parks annual family pass (Canada and USA)

 
Perhaps a fun activity outing that the whole family can enjoy together.
  • Mini golf
  • Go-karting
  • Laser tag
  • Paintball
  • Bowling
  • Horseback riding
  • Tubing or sledding
  • Escape room outing
  • Ropes course
  • Batting cages
  • Go roller skating at a local rink for some retro fun
  • Art studio activity – e.g., painting or ceramics
  • Studio time so you can record a favourite song together
 
If you have a theatre, music, or sports fan, consider tickets to a special event they’ll remember forever.

 
These gifts encourage your child’s love of reading.
  • Children’s magazine subscription
  • Mail Order Mystery – a mystery for kids told through a series of personalized envelopes and secret codes that come in the mail.
  • A e-book subscription service like Kindle or Epic

 
The best gift of all is time with friends and family. Consider a present that allows you to spend the day or evening together. This is a great option for bigger families where kids may not get as much one on one time with you.
  • Let your child be Prince or Princess For a Day – they’ll love the chance to be in charge!
  • Dinner date out at their favourite restaurant
  • Get dressed up and go out (or make!) a fancy high tea
  • Personalized coupon book – sample coupons could let your child pick anything they want for dinner, eat dessert before dinner, pick the movie for movie night, or stay up 30 minutes past bedtime, etc.
  • Mani/pedi appointment – this is like a gift for both of you!
  • Plan a road trip to see grandparents or favourite auntie

 

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8 Comments

  • I love this idea. I remember the experience with my family from my childhood more than the toys. I want my children to remember fun experiences too.

  • Fantastic ideas ! I really love the idea of a non toy experience! I’m going to figure out s cool experience for each of my grandchildren!

  • such a perfect list. i was actually quite impressed with my brother this year. instead of buying toys he bought my family and my other brothers family tickets to go to Ripleys Aquarium in toronto. i was surprised but in such a good way. my kids are getting enough toys and we never do things as a faamily enough. such a great idea

  • Great ideas, the only problem I see with these ideas is that my grandkids are so taken up with soccer and other activities that there really is very little free time though I’m sure they’d love a lot of these ideas.

  • We love gifting like this is as well. We bought family passes for our local amusement park, canadas wonderland for our Christmas gift so we can enjoy it through out the year. Making memories is more important than stuff in our house.