Free shipping on all orders over $75🎄

There is no greater joy than watching a child’s face light up when he opens a gift he loves. More often than not, however, that toy usually is sitting in a bin underneath a heap of other toys a few days later.

Too many toys can stress both parents and kids to the max.

It can add clutter and chaos instead of the joy the gift was intended to provide. Worse, when kids are bombarded with too much stuff, each one becomes less special, meaning they stop appreciating what they do receive.

That’s why we love experience gifts in place of tangible playthings.

They can create lifelong memories without adding any more stuff to your home. They can be educational, creative, and help parents burn off some of that unending kid energy, especially during long, winter months.

RELATED: Dear Family: Let’s Cut the Clutter This Christmas With Big Ticket Items

It can be an awkward conversation to have, however, with friends and family who want to make your child’s holiday magical, so it’s good to have some ideas handy so you can guide gifters in the right direction.

When trying to encourage people to purchase an experience instead of a toy, focus on a bigger message. “We’re trying to spend more time together as a family,” or “Sam is obsessed with music this year, and we’re trying to keep his passion going,” often works better than simply saying you don’t want more toys in the house.

Not sure what to ask for? No worries, we’ve got you covered! Here’s a range of experience gifts for every age group. And if Grandma still insists she needs to buy something? Suggest she purchases a small companion gift to the experience.

Here are some of our favorite experience gifts:

  1. Zoo/aquarium membership.
  2. Museum passes (and maybe some new art supplies so the kids can draw pictures of what they see).
  3. Day at a local farm.
  4. Theme park packages or a season pass to Disney, Great Adventure, etc.
  5. Lessons for their favorite sport or activity (art, karate, piano, golf, etc.). New gear for these lessons also is great.
  6. Gift card to a water park (and maybe a new swimsuit)
  7. Cooking/baking classes (with some new kitchen utensils for little hands). Also check out this great baking subscription box for them to practice their new skills.
  8. Favorite restaurant gift cards (nothing is better than letting your child buy you lunch!)
  9. An interactive digital photo frame with preloaded snapshots/videos of things you’ve done together.
  10. Snow tubing/ice skating/skiing trip.
  11. Pottery making or painting session (try an at-home pottery kit if you don’t have a local studio.)
  12. A trip to the bookstore or e-Reader/Kindle gift card
  13. Travel gift cards (great for older kids) or a plane ticket to a vacation spot or to visit the grandparents.
  14. Board games
  15. Money towards summer camp.
  16. Magazine subscriptions
  17. Personalize a music CD with a child’s name. Kids love to hear their own name put to music and it’s something they can use again and again.
  18. Spa session for a mani/pedi or special hair treatment (and a spa set for kids to have fun at home.)
  19. Sporting event tickets (and a jersey for their favorite player)
  20. Trampoline park/indoor climbing excursion (or a backyard obstacle course if local options are limited)
  21. Walking or bus tours for a nearby city to play tourist for the day.
  22. Family pass to a YMCA or local gym with a pool (with swim lessons)
  23. Hotel/VRBO gift cards for a last-minute family getaway
  24. iTunes gift cards for tweens/teens who want more music
  25. Charity donation (let the child pick)
  26. Subscription to Little Passports Early Explorers (perfect for preschoolers)
  27. Materials for a fun family project (like building a terrarium)
  28. Local and National State Park passes for a year
  29. A kid-friendly camera for littles to use during adventures
  30. Mini-golf outing (or do it from home)


You may also like:

Give While You Gift: Innovative Brands That Give Back

14 Faith-Based Gifts For Friends and Family

15 Perfect Holiday Gifts For the Mom in Your Life

Want more stories of love, family and faith from the heart of every home, delivered straight to you? Sign up here!

At Her View From Home, we love sharing our favorite things with you! The recommendations in this post contain affiliate links, so we may receive a small commission if you choose to purchase any of them. You can check out more products we’re crazy about at our Shop tab, HERE.

So God Made a Mother book by Leslie Means

If you liked this, you'll love our new book, SO GOD MADE A MOTHER available now!

Order Now

Her View From Home

Millions of mothers connected by love, friendship, family and faith. Join our growing community. 1,000+ writers strong. We pay too!   Find more information on how you can become a writer on Her View From Home at

Brothers Fight Hard and Love Harder

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two boys play outside, one lifting the other on his back

The last few years have been a whirlwind. My head has sometimes been left spinning; we have moved continents with three boys, three and under at the time. Set up home and remained sufficiently organized despite the complete chaos to ensure everyone was where they were meant to be on most days. Living in a primarily hockey town, the winters are filled with coffee catch-ups at the arena, so it was no surprise when my youngest declared his intention to play hockey like his school friends. Fully aware that he had never held a hockey stick or slapped a puck,...

Keep Reading

Stop Putting an Expiration Date on Making Memories

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and son in small train ride

We get 12 times to play Santa (if we’re lucky). This phrase stopped my scroll on a Sunday evening. I had an idea of the direction this post was going but I continued on reading. 12 spring breaks 12 easter baskets 20 tooth fairy visits 13 first days of school 1 first date 1-2 proms 1-2 times of seeing them in their graduation cap and gown 18 summers under the same roof And so on and so on. It was essentially another post listing the number of all the monumental moments that we, Lord willing, will get to experience with our...

Keep Reading

When Your Kids Ask, “Where Is God?”

In: Faith, Kids
Child looking at sunset

How do I know if the voice I’m hearing is God’s voice? When I was in high school, I found myself asking this question. My dad was a pastor, and I was feeling called to ministry. I didn’t know if I was just hearing my dad’s wish or the call of God. I was worried I was confusing the two. It turns out, I did know. I knew because I was raised to recognize the presence of God all around me. Once I knew what God’s presence felt like, I also knew what God’s voice sounded like. There is a...

Keep Reading

Go Easy On the Parents Who Refuse to Skip Naps

In: Kids, Motherhood
Two little boys and their sister walking down a gravel road, color photo

Greetings from a mom who is done with napping children. It’s great to have the flexibility during the day for longer activities, meeting friends for playdates, or day trips to faraway places. It’s a new life . . . the life without naps. The freedom to make plans and keep them. But not that long ago, I was something very different than the flexible, plan-keeping, up-for-it woman I am today. I used to be the mom who refused to skip my child’s nap. Yep, that one. Here’s the thing, for a lot of parents, It’s so much more than just a...

Keep Reading

My Heart Isn’t Ready for You to Stop Believing in Santa

In: Kids, Motherhood
Little boy standing in front of lit christmas tree

“My friend doesn’t believe in Santa anymore, Mom,” my son said out of the blue the other day. We were driving in the car, and when I met his gaze in the rear-view mirror his eyes searched mine. Immediately, my heart sank.  This sweet boy, he’s our first. Thoughtful and smart and eight years old. A quick Google search tells me that’s the average age kids stop believing in Santa, but as his mom, I’m not ready for that—not even a little bit.  I can still hear his barely 2-year-old voice going on about reindeer as we lay together on...

Keep Reading

Dear Kids, This Is My Wish for You

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother hugs three kids

To my kids, The world you’re stepping into is unlike anything I experienced at your age. It’s fast-paced, interconnected, and sometimes overwhelming. But within this chaos lie countless opportunities for growth and joy. My wish for you is that you find the perfect balance between embracing the modern world and staying true to yourselves. Change is one thing you can always count on. Embrace it because it’s often the motivation for growth. Embracing change doesn’t mean letting go of who you are; rather, it’s about evolving into the best version of yourself. Remember, you don’t need to have all the...

Keep Reading

Motherhood is a Million Little Letting Gos and Fresh Hellos

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother sitting with child on her lap by the setting sun and water

I missed my grocery-shopping buddy the other day. Mondays are usually the days my littlest and I knock out our grocery list. In the past, we’ve dropped the kids at school and then headed to the store. I grab a latte, and she chooses a hot chocolate. But that day, they were all in school. That day, she sat in her kindergarten class, and I went to the grocery store. Alone. A new rhythm. A changed routine. A different season. I listened to a podcast on the drive. My podcast. Then I grabbed a drink. Just one. I got the...

Keep Reading

Dear Daughter, Stay Wild

In: Kids, Motherhood
Mother and daughter on beach, color photo

I can’t really put my finger on it. Or manage to find all the words. But there’s just something about that girl. Maybe it’s the way her hair sits tangled. Curled up at the end. The way she moves. Dances. As if everyone was watching. Or no one at all. RELATED: There is Wild Beauty in This Spirited Child of Mine It could be the way she smiles. With her heart. The way only she can. The way she cares, loves. For everyone. For herself. You see, she is beautiful in the way only wild things are. The way they...

Keep Reading

You’re Becoming a Big Sister, But You’ll Always Be My Baby

In: Baby, Kids, Motherhood
Pregnant woman with young daughter, color photo

The anticipation of welcoming a new baby into the world is an exciting and joyous time for our family. From the moment we found out we were expecting to just about every day since, the love and excitement only continue to grow. However, amidst all the preparations for the new addition, I cannot help but have mixed emotions as I look back at old videos and pictures of my firstborn, my first princess, my Phoebe—for she will always hold a special place in my heart. As the anticipation grows, my heart swells with a mix of emotions knowing we are...

Keep Reading

Cowgirls Don’t Cry Unless the Horse They Loved Is Gone

In: Grief, Kids, Loss
Little girls Toy Story Jessie costume, color photo

The knee of my pants is wet and dirty. My yellow ring lays by the sink—it’s been my favorite ring for months. I bought it to match Bigfoot’s halter and the sunflowers by his pasture. Bigfoot is my daughter’s pony, and I loved him the most. The afternoon is so sunny. His hooves make the same calming rhythm I’ve come to love as I walk him out back. A strong wind blows through the barn. A stall labeled “Bigfoot,” adorned with a sunflower, hangs open and I feel sick. I kneel down by his side as he munches the grass....

Keep Reading