200+ Experience Gift Ideas for Kids and Families

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In the last few years, we’ve started doing experience gifts for kids for their main holiday gift. These have been a great way for our family to enjoy some special activities that we wouldn’t necessarily be able to prioritize otherwise in terms of time and money, and to find unique events that would appeal to individual kids. Especially with 6 kids, we have the toys that are useful and needed in our home. Instead, we love being able to gift special experiences for Christmas gifts and for birthdays.

Our family experience gifts sometimes include a trip, but other years are smaller experience gift ideas for kids to create beautiful memories together and to provide opportunities for connection. It’s been so special to prioritize these activities with our gifting budget.

experience gift ideas for kids

I compiled over 100 ideas for experience gifts for families, including toddlers, kids, and adults so there’s something for everyone. I hope this list gives you some ideas for providing the gift of time and connection!

Classes for Experience Gifts

Classes are one of my favorite experience gifts to give. There are so many wonderful options for kids to learn, grow, and explore the world. I love being able to put gift money towards a class that will be interesting and fun long beyond Christmas day. This is also a great opportunity to have extended family or friends contribute to something really meaningful!

Some of these will depend on availability in your area, but I hope these suggestions for classes for experience gifts spark some ideas for you.

  • Art Classes – painting, drawing, pottery
    • This online watercolor class for kids is a great choice if you don’t have lots of availability in your area, if in-person classes are cost-prohibitive, or if they simply don’t work with your schedule. We gifted this online class a few years ago along with this beautiful watercolor set and it was a big hit. It’s been one of their top 10 experience gifts and they’ve returned to the lessons multiple times.
    • Craftsy membership – an annual membership gets you access to hundreds and hundreds of fantastic classes at a really inexpensive price
    • Kids Art Spot is an incredible online art hub for kids & families. There are options like Art Camp, a drawing skill master class, and more.
    • Pottery making
    • Drawing
    • Painting
  • Dance Classes
    • ballet
    • Hip hop
    • Jazz
    • Tap
    • Swing
    • Cultural dance (like bharathnatyam, Celtic dance, etc.)
  • Music
  • Baking or Cooking Classes
    • For K’s Christmas gift, we’re doing a macaron making class together. Lots of options in different cities on Viator and Get Your Guide.
    • Cheese making
    • Ice cream making
    • Pasta or pizza
    • A specific traditional food
    • The options are endless for this one!
  • Sports classes/camps
    • Ice skating class
    • Rock climbing class
    • Trampoline class
    • Trapeze class
    • Horseback riding
    • Yoga
    • Gymnastics/tumbling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Volleyball
    • Football
    • Soccer
    • Fencing
    • Surfing
family experience gifts

Outdoors Family Experience Days

We love doing a special family experience as a gift. In fact, since we just moved to London a couple months ago, we kept birthdays really low-key this fall. A book, a small need for their rooms or play, an individual experience, and a special experience as a family. We did things like attend afternoon tea, go ice skating, visit a historic building, and more. It was really special to just focus on the time together!

I have some great ideas below, and here are some other terrific outdoor experience gifts, too!

  • Visit a lighthouse
  • Beach trip
  • Boat tour (this one near us looks so fun!)
  • Fruit picking
  • Camping Trip
    • My kids LOVE camping, so they’d be delighted with a planned camping trip, especially if it were to their beloved Yosemite. You could include some camping gear like a kids sleeping bag if you don’t have any. Or you could just wrap up a s’mores kit with graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows. One of the best experience gifts for kids who love the outdoors.
  • National Parks Annual Pass
    • Why visit just one park when you could visit as many as you’d like? For $80, the annual pass allows you into as many NPS sites as you’d like in a year. You can also get a free pass if you’re a current member of the military or if you have a 4th grader at home (and for this year, it’s free for 5th graders, too!). One of my favorite family experience gifts!
  • Waterpark
  • Farm visit or stay
  • Visit a vineyard
  • Whale watching
  • Family picnic
  • Gold panning
  • Family nature walk (add this fun explorer kit or our favorite nature journal for kids)
  • Visit a palace or historic site
  • Backyard picnic

Active Experience Gifts for Kids

  • Weekly or monthly family hike
    • Gifts certainly don’t need to be expensive to be valuable. The gift of time, especially together in nature, is incredible! Plan a weekly or monthly hike for the whole family. It would be so fun to give this along with the best kids hiking backpack and other kids hiking gear.
  • Mini golf
  • Surrey ride
  • Family bike ride
  • Trampoline park (or a bigger gift would be to gift your own trampoline. Ours in California got used nonstop by our kids and friends.)
    • This was our kids’ gift last year and they’ve used it nonstop. Definitely one of my favorite experience gift ideas for families!
  • Family basketball tournament at the park (or you could consider getting your own basketball hoop – we had and loved that one in California and used it daily)
  • Roller skating or ice skating
  • Pogo stick tournament (just get one and take turns to see who stays on longest)
  • Building climb – lots of cities do these on different tall buildings!
  • Swim passes

Adventurous Experience Gifts for Kids

Travel Experience Gifts

  • Flight tickets
  • Road trip marked out on a map
  • Hotel reservation for a staycation

Unique Activities For Kids Experience Gifts

  • YES day – parents have to say yes to whatever the kids request that day (within reason)
  • High tea at a fancy restaurant – one of the most unique and special experience gift ideas for kids.
  • Theater tickets to a play or musical
  • Staycation at home or a local hotel
  • Planetarium
  • New restaurant
  • IMAX movie
  • Passes to get ice cream
  • Paintball
  • Chocolate tasting
  • Monster truck rally
  • Laser tag
  • Escape room (or an at-home escape room!)
  • Factory tour
  • Train ride
  • Arcade visit
  • Family coding dates with code.org or with this coding book for kids (which we really like)
  • Ice cream date
  • Home Spa Day – Add a rainbow bath bomb, a scented candle (this is my favorite!), lotion, and a kids bathrobe (that’s my favorite brand – so soft!). Or this is our favorite kids shower wash
  • Carousel visit
  • Hot chocolate out
  • Room makeover

Tickets For Kids Experience Gifts

These are some of my favorite gifts to give and what one of our kids’ main gifts is this year!

  • Theater (or children’s theater)
  • Broadway play or musical
  • A concert or recital
  • Disney on Ice
  • Sporting event (basketball, baseball, soccer, etc.)
  • Ballet
  • Harlem Globetrotters
  • Dance shows
  • Symphony
  • Cirque du Soleil
  • Comedy show

Gift A Membership for A Family Experience Gift

There are hundreds of membership possibilities out there. Here are just a few!

  • Art museum
  • Zoo
  • Aquarium
  • Children’s museum
  • Science museum
  • Natural history museum
  • Botanical garden
  • Petting zoo
  • Rec center
  • Waterpark
  • Amusement park
  • Marine sanctuary
  • Audible membership (one of my favorite useful experience gifts)
  • An AARP membership – did you know there’s no minimum age and it has all kinds of terrific discounts on hotels, rental cars, restaurants, and more? Especially great for travel lovers in your life.
  • A terrific annual membership for at-home workout classes. Really inexpensive, too.

FREE Experience Gift Ideas for Kids

I included some of these in other sections, but also wanted to compile them here to make it easy to find inexpensive experience gifts! It’s definitely possible to gift experience gifts on a budget. My kids LOVE special one-on-one time so any of these could also be used for an individual date with a child. It will definitely feel special and the gift of time is so precious!

  • Dance party (consider adding a Disco Ball or a subscription to Amazon Music)
  • Playground date
  • Hike
  • Blanket fort day
  • Stuffed animal tea party
  • Board games
  • Building LEGOs or Magna Tiles
  • Baking together
  • A sewing date
  • Family sports day at the park
  • Rock painting
  • Sleepover in Mom & Dad’s bed
  • Picnic
  • Tent day – make forts out of sheets, read books, and have snacks
  • Bike/scooter ride
  • Parent/child journaling (can use any journal but this one is really well set up)
  • Splash pad
  • Nature walk
  • Family game night (Consider including a game, some snacks, and some drinks. Here are tons of board game ideas for kids and adults.)
  • Cloud watching
  • Movie night at home
  • Planting a garden
  • Jumping in leaves
  • Making a snow cave
  • Painting outside
  • Chalk art
  • Tide pooling
  • Rock collecting
  • Outdoor watercolor painting

Monthly Subscription Boxes For Kids Experience Gift Ideas – Gift An Experience Box

  • KiwiCo STEM box
    • There are a lot of subscription boxes out there, but KiwiCo is one of the very best as far as I’m concerned. The monthly STEM-based boxes are perfect for inspiring curiosity and fun in kids. They’re great for learning in a really enjoyable way, and won’t clutter up your home. There are boxes for every age from babies to adults! I especially love the original Kiwi Crate, the Tinker Crate for slightly older kids, and the Atlas Crate for families who love learning about other countries and cultures. I’d also love to try the Yummy Crate! Definitely one of my favorite experience gift ideas for kids!
  • BitsBox Coding Box
    • It’s really important to me that my kids are familiar with coding principles and are comfortable with the basics. BitsBox is such a great tool that helps kids learn to code in a fun and exciting way.
  • MEL Science
    • We love these amazing science subscription boxes.
  • Raddish Kids
    • We love this kids cooking club! I especially love the ones that feature recipes from different countries. Such a fun experience box!
  • Little Passports
    • We care a lot about global education over here, and there’s no better box than Little Passports to learn about the world.
  • OwlCrate Jr.
    • A literary subscription box aimed at kids 8-12 with a new book each month plus some bookish goodies. Great for any family that loves books. Use the code PASSPORT15 to save 15% on any subscription!
experience gifts for kids

Experience Gifts for Men and Gift Experiences for Couples: Husband Gift Guide

It can be tricky to think of gifts for men sometimes, so I really love these gift experiences for him. These would also make great birthday experiences for him or other gift experiences for her!

Experience Gifts Parents and Grandparents

  • Any of the tickets or classes from above!
  • Storyworth is the very best gift for parents and grandparents, in my opinion – they send weekly questions about the person’s life, childhood, etc., then compile into a book at the end of the year. It’s so special and I’m so grateful we gifted it to my dad a few years ago before he passed away.
  • Family photo shoot (use code PASSPORT for $25 off)
  • Family photo album
  • Photo calendar
    • We’ve given this to our parents every single year for the past 7 or 8 years. I’ve used Mixbook for years and love them.
  • Flights
  • National or state parks pass
  • Food tour or DIY food crawl
  • Digital photo frame of the grandkids
    • We did this a couple years ago but got them a Google Home with a screen to display our Google Photos
  • DoorDash gift card

Whether you give experience gift cards or print out a voucher for fun experience gifts for kids, I hope these are helpful in focusing on connection and time together without accumulating too much stuff!



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