There’s nothing like seeing the smile on your kid’s face as they tear open their gifts on Christmas morning…or the frown on yours as you tidy up the mess and realize that they’ve already broken/lost/gotten bored of their gift before noon. This year, why not give the gift of incredible memories instead? Here, a list of our favorite experience gifts for kids that promise to make a lasting impression (without adding clutter to your living space).
42 Experience Gifts for Kids That Are Way Better Than Another Toy
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5. Bowling Passes
Bowling is a blast for all but the youngest kids and an excellent opportunity for teens and tweens to socialize with friends. Give the gift of an all-expenses paid trip (or several) at the bowling alley, and your kid will have Friday night plans worth looking forward to.
8. Season Pass to A Museum
Speaking of art, why not give the kid in your life a season pass to a favorite museum, so they can visit and soak up some culture whenever the mood strikes?
10. Limo and Dinner Night
Give your kid the star treatment for the night by renting a limo to take her and a few friends to a favorite restaurant. Needless to say, the novelty factor is high, so the Insta-worthy experience is sure to be a memorable one.
11. Concert Tickets
For a teen who’s always tuned into Spotify, there’s no better gift than being able to check out a live performance of their favorite band with a friend.
This exciting culinary class includes 60 minutes of live instruction from pro chef Rowena Scherer and is designed specifically for kids ages 13 and older who have a desire to prepare a restaurant-quality meal while picking up some new skills in the kitchen. Bonus: If you play sous-chef, you’ll probably learn something, too.
Here, another multicultural kitchen adventure for teens led by chef Rowena—specifically, a Turkish-themed baking lesson with a very sweet reward.
Why get the tween and teen a bath bomb making kit that might end up gathering dust when you can gift a workshop with promised results instead? This virtual experience includes all the materials needed to create sixteen beautifully scented bath bombs, plus an hour of live instruction from a skilled arts and crafts teacher to ensure the craft is completed to perfection.
16. Ice Skating Passes
Encourage your kid to turn off the tube and hit the rink with friends for a much-needed breath of fresh air and an undeniably fun winter boredom buster.
Junior cooks stand to gain quite a lot from YesChef—a subscription service that grants access to a huge number of cooking lessons led by the world’s best culinary experts. That said, it’s worth noting that YesChef is not intended specifically for kids, so this one is best gifted to an older teen.
21. Podcast Subscription
When it comes to beating boredom during the winter months, an engaging podcast is right up there with a good book. Fortunately, there are a whole host of podcasts for kids available, so it shouldn’t be hard to find one that speaks to your child’s unique interests.
Artists between the ages of 4 and 9 will learn a wide range of new techniques from this 12-week session of thoughtful art lessons, in which every major academic subject is incorporated into the creative process. (Bonus: There's even the possibility of a sibling discount.)
Give your kid a well-rounded STEAM experience with this Green Kids box, which boasts four to six separate activities that spark the imagination, encourage exploration and provide hours of hands-on, screen-free fun. From science experiments to art and engineering projects, this one checks all the boxes, and chances are you’ll both be grateful to have it around on a rainy day.
26. Amusement Park Trip
Gift your young thrill-seeker tickets to a theme park—the adrenaline rush of the roller coaster rides won’t last forever, but the memories surely will.
A badass mama with a black belt in mixed martial arts and a background in fitness instruction teaches this flexible four-week class for littles ages 3 to 7. If you’ve got a kid who’s bouncing off the walls, this gift will pay dividends for both parties.
There’s a whole world out there and your kid is hungry to explore it. Good news: Amazon Explore boasts an extensive selection of immersive tours of destinations around the globe—you know, so your kid gets a virtual travel experience of her choosing, and you save on airfare.
31. Hot Air Balloon Ride
Book a hot air balloon ride and your kid will be on cloud nine. Plus, when they come back down to the earth, they’ll be raving about the unforgettable experience for quite some time to come.
The Mystery Adventure Club subscription provides elementary schoolers with the thrilling opportunity to play detective and solve a new mystery each month. Best of all, the activities can be enjoyed solo or in groups—either way, both imagination and critical thinking skills will get a boost.
34. Movie Theater Gift Card
The young film buff under your roof will be pleased as punch to see what the local cinema has on offer without having to dip too much into his allowance.
35. My Garden Box
Kids of all ages can reap the rewards of some time spent in the garden (i.e., a hands-on activity that connects them to nature). This gardening subscription box features indoor and outdoor plants, along with the supplies and step-by-step instructions needed to ensure success for new plant parents.
Here, a painfully adorable gift idea for the little one in your life. This subscription box promises younger kids (think: ages three to eight) personalized letters every week from a pen pal, Sunny the Mail Snail. The content of each note is imaginative and educational, and the correspondence even includes interactive activities like puzzles and codes to crack. That said, we think the highlight of this experience is simply the joy and excitement that comes from getting a special piece of mail.
37. Tickets to a Sporting Event
Sports fans of all ages will be wild about seeing their favorite athletes show off their stuff in real time.
Kids ages 6 and up can cook up some pretty cool stuff with this fun and educational Food Art Box, which includes hands-on experiments, two food-based STEAM activities, America’s Test Kitchen-approved recipes, and even a self-guided recipe challenge so kids can really unleash their creativity in the kitchen. In other words, budding chefs will have such a blast with this one, that parents might reconsider the ‘no playing with food’ rule.
41. Donation To A Gap Year Fund
Your high schooler wants to take a gap year after graduation and see the world. Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Just kidding—you aren’t invited. Instead, lend them a hand with a monetary contribution that supports their travel plans and ensures they start freshman year of college with some amazing bucket list experiences under their belt.
42. Book a Farm Stay
Check out options for kid-friendly farm stays near you and reserve a weekend spot. This unique gift idea guarantees a truly memorable experience—complete with hands-on tasks, face-time with animals and all the farm fresh food they can eat—in a beautiful rural setting.