28 Experience Gift Ideas

"Experience" gifts that say "I love you"

By Jourdan Card, Publisher of Macaroni Kid Centreville-South Riding, Va. November 27, 2018

Our family celebrates birthdays from September to January. Throw Christmas in that mix and all the new toys and things in our house can get downright overwhelming! 

To avoid the influx of stuff into my house, I ask relatives to consider giving my family "experience" gifts each holiday season. 

If you live near family, encourage them to participate in the experience gift with your children. This is a great way for them to enjoy some quality one-on-one time -- the greatest gift of all.

Need ideas for great experience gifts? Here's a great list to help get you started!

Lessons make great gifts for kids! Just make sure you've talked to the child's parents about their interest level, and worked out any important details -- like transportation and costs of uniforms or other incidentals:

  • Swimming
  • Music 
  • Photography
  • Kids Cooking
  • Tae Kwon Do
  • Dance
  • Gymnastics
  • Coding
  • Graphic Design
  • Sewing 

Gift cards or homemade gift certificates can mean the world to parents and kids. Consider offering:

  • Babysitting services for a monthly date night
  • Gift cards to a favorite ice cream shop, movie theater, or bookstore 
  • Tickets to see their favorite college or pro sports team (wrap them in a new shirt or jersey!)
  • Tickets for an upcoming concert or theater performance


Memberships are the gifts that keep on giving! Typically annual memberships come with free daily entry or tickets, along with other perks. Here are some ideas for places that may offer annual memberships or season passes that are great fun for the whole family:

  • Zoo
  • Theater
  • Museum
  • Amusement Park
  • Fitness or Recreation Center 
  • Planetarium

Experience gifts are a great way to encourage quality family time that everyone looks forward to. Here are some ideas for gifts that are worth a fortune in terms of memorable family time:

  • Monthly subscription boxes. You can find family-friendly subscription boxes for crafting, cooking, reading ... at this point, there are subscription boxes for almost any interest your family shares!
  • A family movie night in a box. All you need is a DVD or Redbox rental. Add popcorn, hot chocolate, candy, and a cozy new blanket.
  • Plant a garden. Wrap seeds and offer the gift of helping them create a backyard garden next summer. 
  • Send them on a scavenger hunt. Create a scavenger hunt in your home or community and have a fun prize at the end. It won't matter what the prize is -- the gift is in the fun of the hunt!
  • Rent a chicken coop. Check with a local farm to see if you can rent a chicken coop to hatch chicks and then return to the farm after the chicks are grown. 
  • Charter a boat. Most local marinas have boat rental options that come with a captain or guide. Give the gift of a day on the water relaxing, swimming, fishing, and having fun with your family. 
  • DIY crafts. Find a DIY craft shop in your area and spend an afternoon getting creative. Most offer gift certificates!
  • Create gratitude journals. Give one to each member of your family and encourage daily entries with prompts and ideas. 

Jourdan Card is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Centreville-South Riding, Va.