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11 Experience Gifts for Kids to Create Memories Not Clutter

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Create memories versus clutter this holiday season with experience gifts for kids! From family passes to hobby classes, these are our favorite experience ideas for kids of all ages.

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When I was little, Christmas was a BIG deal. We didn’t have much excess money, but my mom always made sure to do up the holidays and leave us wanting for nothing. While I can appreciate the idea of wanting to spoil and gift to loved ones, my views are slightly different. As a money-conscious individual, I struggle with gifting an overabundance of toys, knowing that most will be long forgotten a day or two after the holidays. While I don’t intend to be a 100% experience gift only family, the material gifts will be limited. This year we started giving experience gifts to the kids for their birthdays and I will ask that family members continue this tradition into the holidays.

While we are not wealthy, my kids need for nothing. I want them to experience life, their surroundings and enjoy time with loved ones.


1 // Family Memberships

Memberships to children’s museums and other local area museums are great gift options for the family. Family passes are basically gifts that keep on giving since you’ll have access to endless activities and events whenever you’re free to go.

2 // Live Shows

Every few months a new show for the kids will typically roll into town. My kids love the Disney on Ice and Paw Patrol Live shows and Sesame Street Live!

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3 // Tickets to Sporting Events

This is a great option for tweens/teens who love to watch live sports. Gifting a pair of tickets to see their favorite team along with a small piece of team memorabilia is a fun holiday gift idea.

4 // Special Day Out

For grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc that don’t live near by, have them gift a special day out planned for when they come!

Pottery Painting Class

Pottery Painting is a fun activity for kids 5+. We went with my sisters and niece a few years back and it was a really fun time and great experience for all.

Local Theme Parks

Heading out for a day at your closest theme park is fun for ALL ages!

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American Girl Doll Store

Every little girl’s dream gift! Treat them to trip to the AG doll store. Take your doll to the store and dine at the cafe/bistro, browse the bookstore and check out special events.

5 // Day Passes to an Indoor Trampoline Park

Passes for any indoor park are perfect to have on hand for rainy/cold days. My kids love bouncing around for hours on the trampolines and climbing through tunnels.

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6 // Lessons + Classes

Gift money or tuition for music lessons, swimming lessons, taekwondo, etc. Between fees and equipment, these types of things can add up. Gifting money towards these experiences allows kids to keep on doing what they love.

7 // Day Trip to Chuck E. Cheeses

What kid doesn’t love Chuck E Cheeses?! Plan a trip or gift time to play (they’ve created all new ways to play instead of just tokens).

8 // Staycation

What better way to make memories then to plan a staycation. You can minimize costs by staying local, but get all the luxury of hotel pools, room service and local area events.

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9 // Indoor Toddler Playtime Passes

For tiny tots, you can gift passes to indoor toddler play places. Search your local area for drop in rates and fees to suggest to family members for gifting.

10 // Plane Tickets to Visit Grandparents

Technically kids as young as 5 can travel by airplane alone (nonstop flights). If you’re OK with this option, suggest that grandparents purchase RT flights so they can vacation with the grand-kids.

11 // Movie Theater Tickets

Always a great option so kids can pick the latest films they’d like to see. Gift theater gift cards to include popcorn and drinks too.

Pro Tip: If you create wish lists for your kids, use Amazon and add gift options from any website onto their wish-list using the Amazon Assistant.

Do you ask for experience gifts for your kids? What are your favorite ones to receive?