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Making Memories: Experience Gift Ideas for Kids - The Ultimate List of Fun & Affordable Activities

Updated: Jan 20

Kids love spending time with us so why not make the most out of it by giving them a great experience gift they can enjoy together with you. Next to it is a fun activity for both you and your kids there are lots of benefits for experience gifts over physical gifts.

What are the benefits of experience gifts

80% of all toys end up in landfills once kids have outgrown them. While many of these toys are still good enough to use by other kids. Parents often either don’t know what to do with those toys or simply don’t bother donating them. Next to this, research has shown that an experience is perceived as more valuable compared to a physical gift. Therefore an experience gift is a much better choice.

experience gifts kids

Experience gifts don’t clutter

Let's be honest, most kids have too many toys already and often they just lay around the house cluttering up your home. As experience gifts are not physical items, they will not clutter your home.

Bonding experience

When giving an experience gift to someone, they often don’t do this alone. They either go with friends or parents making it a great experience for everyone involved. Because you experience something fun together, you create a stronger bond that will last a lifetime.


Prevents competition or envy

Because an experience gift can be enjoyed by multiple people, there is less envy and competition as everyone received the same gift making it a much more enjoyable experience altogether.

It lasts longer

My daughter still remembers the day we took her out to have pancakes on a boat. To her it was such a special occasion, she will never forget it (even though she was only 4 at the time). The memory of an experience gift lasts much longer as it often leaves a much deeper impression in our minds.

How to ask for experience gifts

If you rather not receive physical gifts either for yourself or your kids, just be honest about it. This not only prevents disappointment but also makes sure you and your kids receive the gifts they want. If you send out (digital) invitations, you can simply put it on the invitation that you would like experience gifts and add a few examples for those who have no idea what these are.


How can I give an experience instead of physical gifts?

When I gave a day at a climbing park to the son of a friend I designed a specific card for this activity to give to him while I (secretly) gave the money for that activity to mom.

Birthday cards in general are a great way to bring the message of the experience gift. If possible, also include the activity and the date for this activity so they have something to look forward to and know when to expect to go.

100+ Experience Gifts

Animal related

1 Zoo visit

2 Animal sanctuary visit

3 Sponsor an animal

4 Visit the local wildlife preserve

5 Horseback riding lesson

6 Go to a petting zoo

7 Visit the local aquarium


Food related

8 Cook a meal (Childs choice)

9 Picnic at a park

10 Bake cookies/pie with mom or dad

11 Go out for ice cream

12 High tea (or other drink) date

13 Chocolate tasting



14 Indoor playground visit

15 Visit a rock climbing park

16 Visit an outdoor tree climbing park

17 Passes for an indoor trampoline park

18 Pool/indoor waterpark visit

19 Visit an indoor ski park

20 Go ice skating

21 Go roller skating

22 Go for a hike

23 Go for a bike ride

24 Visit a National park

25 (Backyard) camping trip

26 Ticket to an amusement park

27 Tickets to a water park

28 Volunteer at a local event

29 Go to the beach


30 A train ride somewhere

31 A boat ride

32 Martial art classes

33 Gymnastic classes

34 Tennis lessons

35 Go fishing

36 Book a summer camp

37 Surfing lessons

38 Diving lessons

39 Snorkeling lessons

40 Go geocaching

41 Laser tag

42 Go karting

43 Skateboarding lessons

44 Factory tour

45 Visit a flight simulation centre

46 Build a bird house together

47 Build an insect house together


With others

48 Date with mom or dad (without siblings)

49 Go to the movies

50 Mini Golf

51 Visit a festival

52 Visit a magic show

53 Invite friends for a sleepover

54 Movie night with kids movies/snacks of choice

55 Visit a sport event

56 Visit a circus (like Cirque du Soleil)

57 Visit a concert

58 Visit a musical

59 Visit the theater

60 Visit a comedy show

61 Visit an ice show (like Disney on ice)

62 Escape room

63 Visit an arcade

64 Plan a treasure hunt around the house


65 Build a tree house

66 Build a fort

67 Make a movie

68 Bowling date

69 Karaoke night

70 Game night (board or video games)

71 Dress up

72 Photo shoot (when dressed up)

73 (At home) mani/pedi session

74 A weekend with grandparents

75 Overnight hotel stay

76 Visit a farm

77 Visit a greenhouse

78 Visit a vineyard



79 Painting lessons

80 Sewing lessons

81 Knitting lessons

82 Jewelry making class

83 Pottery classes

84 Dance classes

85 Circus classes

86 Acting lessons


87 Science classes

88 Cooking class

89 Baking class

90 Music lessons

91 Swimming lessons

92 Visit a museum

93 Plant a garden

94 Library membership

95 Language lessons



96 Donation to a charity of Childs choice

97 Kids picks the meal

98 Kids picks their own/your clothing

99 Cupcake decorating class

100 Yoga classes

101 Meditation classes

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Meet Valinda

Hi there, I am the founder of the green and happy mom blog and green and happy shop. After battling severe depression, I am determined to make the world a little better and I want to take you along that journey with me. 

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