top of page

40+ Best Experience Gifts for Kids

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

The holiday season is so magical - full of family traditions, delicious food, and the pleasure of giving and receiving gifts. The holiday season can also quickly become overwhelming, for us and for our children. Unfamiliar people to greet, new foods to try, and so many presents can all contribute to a sense of overwhelm.

One way to avoid being overwhelmed this season is to give experience gifts! How many Lego sets or tiny doll accessories can one kid have? Experience gifts are clutter-free and leave the short term pleasure behind, all while inviting us to embrace togetherness and the power of less!

Some of the links shared below are affiliate links. If you use the link, Simplifying Play earns a small commission at no cost to you.

Top 3 reasons to give children experience gifts:

  1. Less toys equal more play! While it is tempting to buy all the toys from our kids’ wish list or the new flashy stuff in a hope that it keeps them busy, lots of toys often lead to overwhelm and clutter in our home instead of leading to more play! It makes more sense to focus on a few gifts that really promote open ended play.

  2. Experience gifts are gifts that keep on giving. The novelty of new stuff wears off pretty quickly, but getting to take a special class for several weeks, or go to a special event, leads to memories that last a lifetime

  3. Experience gifts create opportunities for connection over consumerism. We can give our children gifts that help us spend time together making lasting memories!

While experience gifting brings so much joy, it can be a little confusing for young children to get something that won’t be happening for a while. When gifting an experience, I like to pair with a small gift or accessory that goes with the experience. For instance, wrap needed ballet slippers for a dance class, give the first issue of a new magazine subscription, or a special outfit to wear to a unique outing.


  • Children's Museum

  • Zoo or Farm

  • Botanical Garden/Sculpture Park

  • Pool

  • Climbing or Gymnastics gym


  • Art

  • Music

  • Gymnastics

  • Swim

  • Sports like soccer, baseball, or hockey

  • Horseback riding

  • Sewing

  • Karate

Kid's Magazine Subscriptions:

  • Nat Geo

  • Highlights

  • Cricket

Streaming service subscription:

  • App subscription (such as Homer, PlayPok, ABCMouse)

  • Disney+

  • Noggin

  • Video game subscription

  • Wee Talkers Songs & Stories Subscription: This was hands down our favorite streaming subscription when my girls were younger! On demand story times from two speech and language pathologists, filled with cute books, songs, and fingerplays. My girls LOVED this as toddlers!

Subscription boxes:

  • Universal Yums: Explore the world through different yummy snacks! We gave this as a gift to the girls' Uncle last year and it was so well received. It would be a fun family gift to enjoy for a while.

  • kiwico boxes: Use this link for $10 off your first order! We loved the Kiwi Co Koala Crate but they also have awesome crates for older kids featuring baking, STEM, art and design, and more!

  • Present Not Perfect Calm Club: A quarterly playdough kit box that features social emotional learning and tackles tough topics through play. Get 20% off your order using code SIMPLIFYINGPLAY20!

Tickets to Live Events:

  • A favorite character show (such as Bluey or Paw Patrol Live)

  • Favorite sport team

  • Musical or Theater tickets

  • Disney on Ice

  • Monster Truck Rally

Special Outing:

  • Trampoline park

  • Climbing gym

  • Amusement park

  • Family fun center (think Chuck E Cheese or a place with bumper cars/arcade)

  • Drive in movie

One on one outing:

  • Hot chocolate date

  • Favorite restaurant

  • Pottery painting place

  • Mani-pedis

  • Mini golf or driving range

  • Ice skating

  • Movie tickets

Once you start thinking about experience gifts, the possibilities really are endless! Have you given or received experience gifts before? We have been moving in this direction more and more as my children grow and we embrace minimalism more!

Looking for more gift guides? See the full list here!

165 views0 comments


bottom of page