The Best Experience Gifts for Kids

There is a definite trend toward giving experiences, rather than things, for birthdays and holidays. Personally, I love this idea and it is something that my family does for my children, since we can’t always afford to give them the experiences we want to. If you’re wondering which experience gifts for kids are the best to give, here’s a list of awesome ideas.

Top Experience Gifts for Kids

These may not be gifts you want to give your children yourself, but you can pass this list on to grandparents, aunts and uncles, or friends who are interested in providing some neat experience gifts for your kids.

Tickets or Passes

Purchasing a ticket for an event can be a great gift, as can passes, either for a month or an annual pass that will allow the family to enjoy as much time as they like at a specific place.

Zoo/Aquarium Pass

An annual pass to the local zoo is a terrific experience gift and one that your family will likely use on a regular basis. Another option is the local aquarium, if you have one in the area. These can be fascinating expeditions and with an annual pass, you won’t feel that you need to see absolutely everything each time you go.

BodyWorlds Exhibit

My sister gave us this experience gift last year. It’s a little pricy, so it wasn’t something we could do ourselves, but what an amazing exhibit to see! Obviously, you will want to check if Body Worlds is coming to your area, but if they are, definitely consider seeing it.

Amusement Park Passes

Either annual or one time passes to a nearby amusement park can make for a lot of family fun! Kids will remember the gift of fun for years to come. If you choose to get an annual pass, the kids can enjoy multiple trips throughout the year and, like the zoo passes, won’t have to see every single thing on one trip.

Park Passes

For the family that loves to hike, there’s no shortage of national parks to visit. Go ahead and sign up for a park pass and spend more time hiking and enjoying nature.

Concert Tickets

Older kids will enjoy concerts, so find one that is in the area and buy some tickets. You can often buy tickets pretty far in advance, making this a great experience gift. Concerts can be popular artists, classical or symphony performances, or something fun, like a live performance of a favorite children’s television show.

Theater Tickets

Are your kids into live shows? Then go ahead and get them tickets for a theater show that’s coming up. They’ll be thrilled! Some theaters even offer annual passes or memberships so you can see as many shows as you like in a year.


Museum Passes

Does your child enjoy history? Maybe there’s a Science museum near you. Check out the nearest options for museums and see about getting a pass so you can visit whenever you (er, your child) wants.

Classes or Lessons as Experience Gifts for Kids

Learning makes the best experience gifts for kids, especially since not everyone can afford the lessons kids want. Experience gifts for kids that give the gift of learning are a terrific option and there are so many ways to go. You can pay for lessons on a monthly basis, or wrap a gift certificate up with items needed for the classes, such as a uniform for a martial arts class.

Music Lessons

Last year, my sister and her wife gave us the money for a keyboard and my grandmother sent the money for piano lessons for my boys. It was their big gift and probably one of the most exciting ones for my kids. Music lessons will pay off in spades over the years, so this is a terrific idea for a gift.

Language Classes

Does your child long to learn another language? Sign them up for a language class and make that their gift for the year! They’ll benefit in multiple ways from being bilingual. Classes may be in person (group or individual) or they can be online. I recommend Spanish on the Go if you want to try Spanish.

Self Defense Classes

Martial arts and other self defense classes are a great way to help kids gain confidence and learn a valuable skill. Some kids may even take it a little further and start competing!

Sports Teams/Camps

Do you have a child on your gift list who is dying to join a sports team or who really wants to go to a special sports camp? Why not make that their gift from you? It’s a simple thing that could change the course of their future . . . making it a really awesome present for that special child.

Other Types of Classes

Obviously, we could go on and on about the different types of classes that are available, but we’ve covered some of the top ones and here are a few others that you might want to look into.

  • Cooking classes
  • Sewing classes
  • Programming classes

Misc. Experience Gifts for Kids

None of the above fit the bill? That’s okay! Experience gifts can also be just that, experiences, without the tickets or paying for a year of classes. Here are a few ideas to give your child something unique and special.


An Adventure

What would your child consider an adventure? Only you can answer that, but it could range from simple to elaborate. Such as:

  • A night in a hotel
  • A trip in a hot air balloon
  • A train ride
  • A helicopter ride
  • Whitewater rafting
  • A trip to the beach
  • Horseback riding

Pay attention to what your child loves and see what you can do to make their dream come true. For example, if your son is in love with construction machines, arrange for him to drive a tractor or help out with a steamroller. He’ll never forget it!

Grow a Garden Kit

If you really want something your child can open on the big day, a garden kit is perfect. Include the tools they’re going to need, seeds and a place to plant. This can be a garden plot in the back yard, a set of pots with soil or even a community plot. Then make sure you get into it together!

Coupons for Your Time

Letting your children choose when they get to spend time with you and what they get to do is a highlight of this particular gift. You might make the coupons count for things like a hot chocolate or ice cream date, playing a game, taking a drive, going for a walk, etc. All that really matters is that you spend time with the child.

Hike and a Picnic

This experience costs very little, but it can be one of the best gifts ever. Offer your child a hike and a picnic with just one or both parents and watch them light up. It’s a special way to get that one-on-one time that kids crave.

Family Fun

Need something that the entire family can enjoy? How about:

  • A bowling night
  • A camping trip
  • A trip to the movies
  • A theater show
  • A visit to Gramma’s

You’re bound to come up with plenty of fun activities that you can all enjoy . . . then turn them into gifts.


Experience gifts for kids make the perfect way to give something without having to give yet another toy. While there’s nothing wrong with games and toys, of course, there is a limit to how many you can store. These experience gifts will make memories that last a lifetime.

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