The Village - 38 experience gifts: collecting memories not things

Helping to raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice and cool finds.
The village: helping raise parents with our own blend of parenting stories, advice, hacks and cool finds

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38 experience gifts: collecting memories not things

By Melissa Thibodeau

It’s not a closely guarded secret that experiences bring kids a lot more joy than “stuff” does. We’ve all read the articles and seen the funny memes, right? But giving my kids the toys they had been coveting all year made me feel happy too, to see them so excited was such a kick for me. That is, until I realized they barely played with any of them. They collected them. And that’s when I knew I needed to change my strategy and mindset. Does this sound familiar to you? Yes? Then read on.

I first learned about experience gift giving through friends who either only gave non-toy gifts or they applied this sort of hybrid version of fewer toys and more experiences. The latter is what appealed to me the most and so last year, we started giving our girls experience gifts for their birthdays and at Christmas. Santa still brought them 1 toy but we gave them experience gifts and let me tell you, it’s been game-changing.

If you’re mulling over your own gift-giving practices and want to have more memorable moments together, or you want to reduce the number of toys coming in, do consider any of these 38 giftable experiences that suit a wide range of budgets, interests and occasions.

Experience days (most of these can also be gifted as a yearly membership)

  1. Amusement Park
  2. Aquarium
  3. Day trip that requires taking a ferry or 2
  4. Foraging
  5. Geocaching
  6. Indoor rock climbing
  7. Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding
  8. Kids’ museum
  9. Music concert
  10. Natural History Museum
  11. Planetarium
  12. Science centre
  13. Sports event
  14. Trampoline centre
  15. Zip lining through trees

Experience trips

16. Airbnb stay in a treehouse with gear, such as an instant camera and special pajamas
17. Camping trip with gear, such as a sleeping bag, headlamp and hammock
18. Family vacation to somewhere new (for big experience gifts like this one, you can also say that it’s their Christmas and Birthday gifts rolled into one)
19. Hiking trip with gear, such as binoculars, hiking shoes, a new water bottle and walkie-talkies
20. Provincial, state or national parks pass with gear, including binoculars, field journal and instant camera
21. Ceramic painting
22. Chocolate making
23. Cooking and baking
24. Dance and hip hop
25. Fibre art (knit, crochet or macramé)
26. Glass blowing and glass fusing
27. Music class
28. Yoga for kids

Experiences at home

29. Audible subscription
30. A restock of craft supplies
31. Backyard tire swing
32. Board games (read about how you can make game night fun for everyone)
33. Book series collection
34. Conversation starter cards
35. Movie night in a box including menu of movies to choose from, special pajamas and Jiffy pop
36. Magazine subscription (check these ones out)
37. Tie-dye kit including white 100% cotton items to dye, such as tee shirts, pajamas, hoodies, sweat pants, bed sheets
38. Yoga cards including a yoga mat and clothes

If you choose several experience gifts and are wondering how you can wrap them up, try this: purchase a cute pocket calendar and using colourful markers and stickers, fill the notes sections with all the activities you are committing to doing together in the coming year, sorted by month or season, then add the experience gifts on the dates you plan to do them and wrap it up!

Gift well!

CREATE

38 experience gifts: collecting memories not things

By Melissa Thibodeau

It’s not a closely guarded secret that experiences bring kids a lot more joy than “stuff” does. We’ve all read the articles and seen the funny memes, right? But giving my kids the toys they had been coveting all year made me feel happy too, to see them so excited was such a kick for me. That is, until I realized they barely played with any of them. They collected them. And that’s when I knew I needed to change my strategy and mindset. Does this sound familiar to you? Yes? Then read on.

I first learned about experience gift giving through friends who either only gave non-toy gifts or they applied this sort of hybrid version of fewer toys and more experiences. The latter is what appealed to me the most and so last year, we started giving our girls experience gifts for their birthdays and at Christmas. Santa still brought them 1 toy but we gave them experience gifts and let me tell you, it’s been game-changing.

If you’re mulling over your own gift-giving practices and want to have more memorable moments together, or you want to reduce the number of toys coming in, do consider any of these 38 giftable experiences that suit a wide range of budgets, interests and occasions.

Experience days (most of these can also be gifted as a yearly membership)

  1. Amusement Park
  2. Aquarium
  3. Day trip that requires taking a ferry or 2
  4. Foraging
  5. Geocaching
  6. Indoor rock climbing
  7. Kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding
  8. Kids’ museum
  9. Music concert
  10. Natural History Museum
  11. Planetarium
  12. Science centre
  13. Sports event
  14. Trampoline centre
  15. Zip lining through trees

Experience trips

16. Airbnb stay in a treehouse with gear, such as an instant camera and special pajamas
17. Camping trip with gear, such as a sleeping bag, headlamp and hammock
18. Family vacation to somewhere new (for big experience gifts like this one, you can also say that it’s their Christmas and Birthday gifts rolled into one)
19. Hiking trip with gear, such as binoculars, hiking shoes, a new water bottle and walkie-talkies
20. Provincial, state or national parks pass with gear, including binoculars, field journal and instant camera
21. Ceramic painting
22. Chocolate making
23. Cooking and baking
24. Dance and hip hop
25. Fibre art (knit, crochet or macramé)
26. Glass blowing and glass fusing
27. Music class
28. Yoga for kids

Experiences at home

29. Audible subscription
30. A restock of craft supplies
31. Backyard tire swing
32. Board games (read about how you can make game night fun for everyone)
33. Book series collection
34. Conversation starter cards
35. Movie night in a box including menu of movies to choose from, special pajamas and Jiffy pop
36. Magazine subscription (check these ones out)
37. Tie-dye kit including white 100% cotton items to dye, such as tee shirts, pajamas, hoodies, sweat pants, bed sheets
38. Yoga cards including a yoga mat and clothes

If you choose several experience gifts and are wondering how you can wrap them up, try this: purchase a cute pocket calendar and using colourful markers and stickers, fill the notes sections with all the activities you are committing to doing together in the coming year, sorted by month or season, then add the experience gifts on the dates you plan to do them and wrap it up!

Gift well!

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