5 Experiential Gifts for Kids That Don’t Fit in a Box

experience gifts for kids

The countdown is on and the holidays are here! Can you feel it? There is a little more magic in the air, the kids are reminding you what they want from Santa, and Starbucks has your favorite Peppermint Mocha waiting for you. With all the holiday merriment surrounding us, our to-do list as moms can grow exponentially. A big chunk of our “holiday duties” is gift-giving, which in many ways, can be considered an art form and can also be all-consuming. Not to worry, though. The Everymom is here to the holiday rescue!

First, grab a cup of hot cocoa and scroll through our extensive holiday gift guide. We’ve made it easy for you by breaking it down into different “gifting” categories, such as presents for babies, grandparents, and everyone in-between. Additionally, we’ve curated our guide to only recommend gifts that align with our core values: diversity, sustainability, community, and inclusivity. Beyond our official holiday gift guide, we have personalized kid’s gifts, gifts we love from Etsy, and even what we—The Everymom editors—are asking for this holiday season!   

However, if your house looks anything like mine with stuff on top of stuff, you may be looking to diversify your gifts to give something more unique to those special little people in your life. I’m not talking about another plastic toy but instead giving your child an experience that he or she can cherish forever. Many times, the best gifts are ones that allow us to create memories with those we love. Not only does it save our toy containers from bursting at the seams, but it also provides that built-in bonding time with our littles which can be truly memorable. Below are our recommendations for five experiential gifts for kids which don’t fit into a box.


1. Magazine Subscriptions

In the era of Kindle and other e-readables, going old school with a real-life magazine subscription gives your sweethearts something tangible to look forward to with every delivery. Magazine subscriptions are a relatively budget-friendly investment with a high-yield outcome. Not only do they encourage your child to read, they also provide diverse learning opportunities based on a variety of topics and they get your little readers excited to run to the mailbox and receive something under their name! In our family, we keepsake a handful of our favorite editions and recycle the rest for green friendliness. 

Both National Geographic and Highlights are classic magazines that have withstood the test of time for several generations. They also both have several iterations of their subscriptions based on the developmental stage of your child. For your children who are 8 years old and older, The Junior Week magazine provides engaging content every week about news, ideas, activities, puzzles, and live debates. 

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2. Museum Memberships

Whether you live in a bustling urban city or a quaint suburban town, giving your children (or a friend’s child) the gift of a local museum membership can be the gift that keeps on giving all year long! Museums are a perfect place to spend a lazy afternoon indoors (and sometimes outdoors) where your child can explore each nook and cranny of the museum. Museums provide a wealth of educational opportunities for your little ones and they give you a space outside your home where your children can explore at their own pace.

If you live in a colder climate, museums are also a great excursion option when it’s raining or snowing and you just need to get out of the house and keep your child entertained. When giving a child the gift of a museum membership, you may want to get him excited about this particular museum by going to their website to see pictures and videos of the space prior to attending. Once at the museum, you and your kids can walk hand-in-hand learning about history, science, and art all in one place!


mom and toddler

Source: @sopharush


3. Movie Passes

Going to the theater is one of the cherished American pastimes that many of us have missed during the pandemic. With the COVID vaccine rollout for kids underway, finding a seat in those red velvet chairs, ordering the most buttery popcorn, and watching the trailers for the next big blockbuster are experiences your kids can enjoy, too. Give your child a movie gift certificate so they can experience watching movies on the big screen just like you did when you were a child.

Perhaps before you see The Clifford movie, you can get your little one pumped about going to see the movie in a theater by reading the book at home and watching some of the cartoon episodes. They will get excited to do something unique with their favorite person on the planet! And on the way home, you can encourage your little movie goer to discuss the parts of the movie he or she liked, which is a great way to foster vocabulary skills.


4. Kid Gym Memberships

Instead of your children constantly jumping up and down on your living room sofa, give them the gift of a kid’s gym membership so they can boomerang freely on the floor and off the walls until the location closes—without destroying your living room! There are many different kinds of kid’s gym memberships so I recommend you do your research prior to giving this gift to your child. You know best the temperament of your child and what type of kid’s gym membership would ignite them into putting on their shoes at a record speed before racing out the door.

What I love most about giving kid’s gym memberships is that these companies usually have their gyms enclosed so you can sit down and watch your little one have safe fun while you listen to a podcast and sip on that Starbucks you picked up along the way. It’s a win-win for all parties involved!



5. Art Classes

Your little artist can make art projects at your home where you have to create a mini art studio and many times a colossal mess in the process. Or, you can give your child art classes so that the colossal mess is contained within the class itself instead! There are classes for painting, pottery, jewelry making, and so much more. Encouraging your child to be creative and use their hands to make art can produce positive learning outcomes related to sensory learning.

Art is a valuable component of our culture and, in many ways, provides a vehicle for connections, conversations, and creativity. It encourages kids to discover what they like and how to express that in an art form. Art classes can also give you some cute, unique decor for your homemade by your little Monet that will brighten up any room!

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