Christmas is a great time for giving and receiving gifts. When you are a kid, it seems like you often get lots of toys - and a lot of the time you even forget about some that you received shortly after Christmas when the excitement wears off. This leads to mounds of toys that just make a mess. Toys and things aren’t all that bad - we do need some things in our lives just simply for fun, but perhaps there are other things we can gift our kids as well that allow for memories, education, and experiences that are not so easily forgotten.
So here are my ideas :)
If there is a local museum, especially a kid friendly one (like the Pacific Science Center in Seattle, Washington - or a children's museum in your town) It would allow them to go often and learn every time they go. They can get out their energy among the exhibits and learn along the way.
Amusement Park pass
Especially if you live by Disneyland, this would be a real treat. I know growing up, going to an amusement park, water park, or even the fair was the most fun thing in the world. Kids love those things, and can be there all day and work out all of their energy and come home with lots of fun stories and most likely a day they will never forget.
Pass to a Local Athletic Club/Gym/Fitness Class
Encouraging activity in young kids is great! And it hopefully will give them those habits for later in their lives. Maybe the local gym has access to a “free swim” that the kids can take advantage of or a Zumba class they can participate in. There are lots of fun and healthy options there.
Some Sort of Subscription
Whether it be a Magazine, or those new fantastic “box” subscriptions (Snacks - Graze, Makeup - Ipsy or Birchbox ($10 a month, shipping included - great price for a bag and five items of makeup)… etc) They are a fun and awesome gift that keeps on giving throughout the year.
Sure, this can be messy, and add up over time - but it also encourages creativity. And with a lot of these items (depending on what you get) can be used from childhood into adulthood. They can learn new skills, and even create gifts for others. Or even learn how to create something so well they can sell it on Etsy!
I know every Christmas and birthday I used to put one of these together for my parents. They would consist of backrubs or doing an extra chore without complaint. But they can be made for kids too. You could put in there “Free date with mom or dad,” “get out of chore free,” “Your favorite meal for dinner (must have a couple days notice).” A great gift because it gives the kids the freedom of little ways to make their home/family life a little easier or more enjoyable.
You can sign them up for some sort of art class, piano lessons, sports team, martial arts, a yoga class (as long as they are something they have been interested in). The gift also allows them to be active, creative, and learn a new skill.
A Library Card
Depending on if you are inside or outside city limits - this can come at no cost to you. Your city library should have lots of resources that a kid can enjoy. Clubs, storytime, the internet, computer access, movie rentals, books (obviously), magazines, a quiet place to study and read, among other things are stuff a library can provide for free. Since there is often one in every town, they can be fairly accessible to the child if they choose to go there often.
I am all for kids learning, being creative, and learning how to be independent. Instead of just giving them toys to play with and grow out of - giving them new learning experiences, memories and skills are way more important - and also memorable!
Hope you can use one or two of these ideas this Christmas!
*post contains affiliate links