Skip The Toys: 63 Experience Gifts For Kids That They Never Forget

By Lara
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Three children playing outdoors

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Are you tired of giving your kids more toys that end up forgotten in the corner or buried under piles of clutter? Are you looking for a more meaningful and memorable way to show your love and appreciation for your family? Look no further than experience gifts for kids!

Experience gifts for families with kids are the perfect way to create lasting memories with your loved ones, while also avoiding the accumulation of more stuff. Whether it’s a family adventure, a special class, or a unique outing, there’s a family experience gift idea out there for everyone.

In this post, we’ll share 63 awesome ideas for adventures to share with your kids,  that will help you skip the toys and create unforgettable moments with your kids.

Are you short on time? Check out the editor’s top three experience gifts for families by category.

Table of Contents

Save these experience gifts for kids

Don’t forget to save these awesome experience gifts for Christmas or any other occasion to create lasting memories!

Unwrap Adventure: 63 Unique experience gifts for families with two photos of children on a trampoline

The number 1 experience gift for families

#1 Family Vacation

I’ll start this list with the number one experience gift for kids and families as a whole; a family vacation.

Now, I’m a little biased (I mean, I’m the author of The Best Travel Gifts. So obviously, I think traveling is the best gift in the world). But in this case, I know I am right. Because a family vacation offers a perfect blend of adventure, relaxation, and quality time. Plus, it’s a great excuse to escape your everyday routine and indulge in some guilt-free fun.

So if you didn’t have a vacation planned yet, go ahead and do it right now, make a fun puzzle for your kids to solve, and find out where their next trip is going to make it a super fun gift to give!

If you already have a vacation booked, you may also like these fun and practical gifts for

Family witting on each others back at the beach
Family vacation

Theme parks for families

#2 Disney World, Orlando FL

Disney World Orlando, FL is the ultimate experience gift for families, especially those with toddlers. I mean, what’s not to love about Mickey Mouse and friends? Plus, with so many attractions designed for little ones, you’ll never run out of ways to keep them entertained (and wear them out).

#3 Disneyland, Anaheim CA

Nothing beats the feeling of seeing your child’s face light up when they meet their favorite Disney character in person. And for those who live on the other side of the country, a visit to Disneyland in California makes more sense! 

#4 Six Flags

For families with older kids, or teens who love a thrill-seeking adventure, Six Flags is the best theme park. With 27 parks filled with awesome rollercoasters across The US. Canada, and Mexico, you can easily find one close to your home!

#5 Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay

Is your kid obsessed with movies and TV shows? Then a visit to The Universal Resorts (this includes Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay) in Orlando is a must. It’s the only place your family can ride a broomstick with Harry Potter, battle alongside Optimus Prime, and indulge in a giant pink donut all in one day.

Photo of Universal Studios
Universal Studios

#6 Sesame Place

A trip to Sesame Place is a great experience gift for families with toddlers, who will love the chance to meet their favorite Sesame Street characters in person. And with two locations on both sides of the country, there’s no excuse not to get your Elmo fix!

#7 Legoland

Does your kid love LEGO? (And by kid, I’m referring to your husband too). Then a visit to one of the 10 Legoland parks across the globe is a must. Alternatively, you can check out one of their 24 indoor discovery centers for a fun day inside.

#8 Lunapark  

One of the oldest theme parks in the US, Coney Island’s Luna Park is another great day out for families. The park opened its doors back in 1903 and is still standing today with fun attractions for kids of all ages.    

#9 Waterparks

Your kid will absolutely love a visit to a waterpark such as Schlitterbahn in Texas or if you’re looking for a fun park more towards the east side of the US, check out Tennessee’s Dollywood’s Splash Country.

It’s an endless playground of fun slides, wave pools, and lazy rivers. Your kid’s can challenge their friends to a race, get soaked by the giant buckets of water, and ride the thrilling torrents until they their hands are all wrinkled.

#10 Observatories and Planetariums

Are you or your children fascinated by the vast and mysterious universe? Then check out some planetariums and observatories as an experience gift for kids. For example, Adler Planetarium in Chicago or Burke Baker Planetarium in Houston.

Three white buildings on a hill
Observatory in Tenerife

Educational experience gifts for kids

#11 Children’s Museum Indianapolis

For Indianapolis locals (or visitors) who are looking for a great educational experience gift for kids the Children’s Museum, Indianapolis is perfect. They get to explore the wonders of science, art, and history in a fun and interactive way, without realizing they’re actually in a museum.

#12 Boston Children’s Museum

If you need experience gifts for families in Massachusetts, check out the Boston’s Children Museum instead. 

#13 Houston Children’s Museum

And for those who want fun and educational children’s experience gift ideas in the south, The Houston Children’s Museum is a great option too. 

#14 Please Touch Museum Philadelphia

Don’t you just hate having to tell your kids “Don’t touch that” all the time?

Well, say goodbye to those words and hello to the Please Touch Museum in Philly! This museum is designed for kids to touch and learn about everything they see.

#15 Franklin Institute for Science

Do you need experience gift ideas for kids who love science? Then the Franklin Institute for Science in Philly is an awesome museum for your family!

A child playing

#16 American Museum of Natural History

Does your kid love the movie Night at a Museum? Give them the real-life experience and visit the actual set of the movie at the American Museum of Natural History, to make their favorite movie come to life.

#17 Factory tour

A factory tour of a product your kid loves is like a real-life Charlie and the Chocolate Factory adventure but without the crazy Oompa Loompas. They get to see how their favorite treats are made, and maybe even find a golden ticket (or at least try some free samples). 

#18 Visit a fort

Forts are loved by both parents and kids which makes it a fun family experience gift idea! Not only do they get to learn about history, but they also get to burn off some energy by running around and playing make-believe.

A fort at the sea
Fort in Porto

Events

#19 Movie

It may not be the most original family experience gift idea, but taking your kid to the movie is an all-time favorite that will work for any age range, from preschoolers to teens, and even adult kids.  

#20 Concerts

Who doesn’t remember the first concert they ever went to?

Music has a strong connection to our memories and emotions, so to be able to experience that with your child is absolutely magical. And nothing beats seeing your child’s face light up with excitement when their favorite artist hits the stage

Photo of people at a concert
Concert at night

#21 Musical

Another awesome experience gift for children is taking them to see a musical. I mean what’s better than to watch your favorite Disney movie be played on stage in real life? Plus, it’s a fun experience for you as a parent too. 

#22 Live shows

Does your kid love Paw Patrol, Sesame Street, Pippa Peg, or any other show that also offers live shows? Then taking your kid to see their TV characters come to life right before their eyes is a magical moment.  

#23 Magician show

Speaking of magical moments. Let the magic happen in front of your kid’s eyes with a live performance of a magician!

#24 Sport ticket

And if you need experience gifts for teens, kids, and adults, then take them to a sports match! Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be a super expensive premium match – a ticket to a local or regional game can also be a great experience.

People at a football match
Football match at UGA

Classes

#25 Cooking class

Giving a cooking class to kids as an experience gift is a great idea! Not only will they learn how to make more than just microwave popcorn, but they’ll also pick up valuable life skills such as taking care of themselves, following a recipe, building confidence,  and not burning down the kitchen.

#26 Music

Music classes for children are like giving the gift of brain gains! Not only will they learn an instrument or how to sing, but studies show that music training can also boost brain development, language skills, memory, and confidence, as well as teach discipline and serve as a creative outlet. What else could you wish for your child?

#27 Theatre

Another great creative outlet for kids is a theatre or drama class. They will learn how to act, sing, and dance while also boosting their confidence, public speaking skills, and creativity.  And if you want to combine it with a physical gift, check out these gifts for theatre lovers too!

Children performing a play on stage
Children’s performance

#28 Survival outdoor

Do you need a cool class for a kid who loves being outdoors? Then an outdoor survival class is perfect! Not only will they learn important wilderness skills, but they’ll also come back with great stories to share with their friends. And who knows, they might just be the next Bear Grylls.  

#29 Pottery making

For a fun activity you can share with your kid, check out a pottery class that you can take together. Kids will love playing around with clay, and you as a parent can learn another awesome skill too.

#30 Jewelry making

Instead of buying another piece of jewelry for your child, let them design and create their own with a jewelry class. It’s a great way to help them channel their inner creativity and bling-bling shine. 

Child making jewelry with beads
Jewelry making

Outdoor experience gift ideas for families

#31 National park

If your kid love being outdoors, an annual national park pass to explore all the beauty your country has to offer is one of the best experience gift ideas for families. 

#32 Outdoor Climbing

Are you looking for a gift that will take your kids to new heights? Try outdoor climbing! Not only will they build strength and endurance, but they’ll also learn the importance of teamwork.

#33 Horseback riding

Not only is horseback riding a fun experience gift for kids, but it also teaches them important skills such as responsibility, balance, and empathy towards animals, making it a great activity and educational gift.

Woman riding on the back of a horse in water
Horseback riding

#34 Ziplining

There is nothing more fun than flying at great heights! Except, maybe flying at great heights while being safely secured. And for that zip lining is perfect!

#35 Camping trip

Nothing can beat a camping trip with the family. So if you’re not sure what outdoor experience gift to get for your family, go for a camping adventure to make new memories and adventures together. 

#36 Kayaking

Kayaking is a great experience gift for kids as it combines the excitement of water sports with the tranquility of nature, that both of you can enjoy.

Two people in a kayak
Kayaking

Sporty family experience gifts

Sports are extremely important for kids, and besides that, it’s super fun too! It helps them stay active, develop teamwork skills, and learn discipline! So if you’re looking for a way to give them a healthy activity, I came up with a few fun and unique sports classes you can think of, but obviously, the list goes on and on.

#37 Surfing
#38 Skiing
#39 Dancing
#40 Archery
#41 Ice skating
#42 Martial arts classes
#43 Golf classes

People skiing and snowboarding down a slope
Family skiing trip

Fun family games and activities

#44 Laser tag

Kids (and adults) absolutely love laser tag. So if you want to go for an experience gift that the entire family will enjoy, whether your kids are still in elementary school or go to high school, all of them will enjoy “shooting” in the laser game. 

#45 Ninja warrior gym

I’m sure your kid loves watching Ninja Warrior on TV and now they can finally try all the cool obstacles themselves. It’s a great experience gift for families with older kids because typically the courses are quite challenging.

#46 Indoor skydiving

If your kid loves a good thrill, but as a parent are not ready to see them jump out of an airplane, indoor skydiving is a good experience gift that meets in the middle.

#47 Escape room

Escape rooms are awesome experience gifts for families who love puzzles and riddles. And this time, you all have to work together to solve the mystery and escape the room, making it a great gift to improve family collaboration, or not. But at least you will have a fun day together.  

#48 Trampoline parks

Trampoline parks are super popular among kids. And the best part? While they’re burning off energy, and improving their balance, coordination, and cardiovascular health, you can just relax and enjoy watching your kids have a bouncing good time.

#49 Swimming pool

If there is no waterpark near your home, a day at the swimming pool is another fun experience gift for families. Because kids can entertain themselves anywhere, especially if it involves a lot of jumping and splashing around, which is exactly what they can do at the pool. 

People at a pool
Swimming pool with foam party

#50 Bowling

Taking your kids bowling is a great experience gift for families because it’s a fun activity for everyone and doesn’t require any athletic ability, so even the not-so-sporty family member can enjoy it.

#51 Arcade

A day at the arcade is a fun experience gift for teens, kids, and adults alike because it’s a chance for them to show off their mad gaming skills while you can pretend you’re only there for your kids and go wild with all the games too.

#52 Carting

Giving a carting experience as a gift for kids is a great way to let them unleash their inner speed demon. While giving you as parents a chance to finally put your mini-van racing skills in the school pick-up line to good use.

#53 Spa day

Spa days are amazing bonding opportunities between you and your kid when you’re both relaxed and enjoying the art of doing nothing.

#54 Scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are super fun for families and a  great way to teach problem-solving and teamwork. You can either organize a scavenger hunt yourself or book one in your city or one nearby if you for an easier option. 

#55 Mini Golf

Mini golf is another great experience gift for families where even non-athletic members can join. Plus it’s a fun way to improve your kid’s coordination and patience. 

Mini golf with a wind mill
Windmill mini golf

Food-related experience gift ideas

#56 Restaurant of their choice

Giving your kids the opportunity to choose the restaurant for dinner (or breakfast or lunch) is a great way to teach them negotiation and compromising skills, so they agree on one restaurant. Plus they get to feel like they have control, and you get to experience the joy of pretending to like chicken nuggets and French fries for the hundredth time.

#57 Ice cream of their choice

All kids love ice cream. So why don’t you treat them on a trip to their favorite gelateria for delicious ice cream?

#58 Fruit picking

Take your kids on a fun and healthy day out to the fields or forests and teach them to pick their own fruit. They’ll finally learn that apples don’t grow in the supermarket and they’ll have a fun day out in nature. 

A woman holding a basket for fruit picking
Fruit picking

Unique transportation gifts

Taking your kids on unique transportation rides is a great way to spice up their routines and create unforgettable memories. From feeling like royalty on a train to soaring above the clouds in a helicopter, these experiences can be both thrilling and educational.

Check out the ideas below for some inspiration.

#59 Boat ride
#60 Sailing
#61 Train ride
#62 Hot air balloon ride
#63 Helicopter rides

Sailing with kids
Sailing with kids

Save these experience gifts for kids

Don’t forget to save these experience gift ideas for families on Pinterest!

63 Must-try experience gifts for kids that the whole family will enjoy with a photo of a kid in a simulator

FAQ about experience gift ideas for families

What are experience gifts?

Experience gifts are presents that involve a memorable activity or event, rather than a physical item. They aim to create lasting memories and offer an opportunity to try new things, learn a new skill, or explore a new place. Examples include cooking classes, outdoor adventures, concerts, and travel experiences.

How do you give experience gifts?

Consider the recipient’s interests, age, and personality when giving experience gifts. Present it creatively with a homemade voucher, puzzle, treasure hunt, or card. For example, wrap a card in a box with related items to the experience or give a card with a clue to the experience gift.

Final notes on experience gifts for families

There are plenty of experience gift ideas for families, that can bring joy to children and families alike. From cooking classes to outdoor adventures and unique transportation rides, there’s something for everyone. So, next time you’re struggling to find the perfect gift, consider giving the gift of an experience.

AUTHOR

Hi, I’m Lara, a 29-year-old travel-lover (but who’s not these days?). I love reading, puzzling, world-heritage sites, researching, and making lists, which comes in quite handy when you’re making lists of travel gift ideas!

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