How many kids actually remember the “must have” toy they got last year? Think outside the proverbial (gift) box this holiday season and place a more memorable present underneath the tree. Try giving the gift of a novel experience, lessons to learn something new or a memorable activity to share. Here are ten ideas that will have the children on your shopping list appreciating your special gift all year long.
It’s hard to put a price tag on a reader’s love for books, but it is quite easy to turn that enthusiasm into a gift. As a sort of DIY subscription service, set a monthly allowance aside for a child to choose a new book from the Blue Manatee Bookstore in Oakley. With a cool vibe and kid-sized amenities, any reader would love to have the funds to choose a new book each month from this rad bookstore. Check out a listing of visiting authors and Blue Manatee ActivAtees at www.Bluemanateebooks.com.
For the young thespian, tickets to a theatre production are the ultimate, uber-exciting stocking stuffer. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati offers season tickets for terrific performances at an affordable price. Attendees can enjoy shows like Snow White and the Dancing Dwarfs or Shrek the Musical Jr. For kids who have the acting bug, the Children’ Theatre even offers classes on learning the craft. Grab tickets today at www.Thechildrenstheatre.com.
Bring outdoor fun inside this season by purchasing a Play Pass to the Recreations Outlet located in Milford and Liberty Township. This indoor jungle gym, complete with trampolines, swing sets, basketball hoops and more gives kids the opportunity for free play during those long winter months. Play Passes can be used anytime Recreations Outlet is open. Additional information can be found at www.RecreationsOutlet.com.
Swimming doesn’t have to be synonymous with summer, make splish-splashing a winter activity by purchasing swim lessons at Bear Paddle Swim School. A great gift for young learners, swim lessons are a purposeful, yet fun activity especially in the middle of Cincinnati’s cold season. Swim levels include: water adjustment, basics of swimming, flip to breathe and fundamentals of swimming. Grab those goggles and learn more at www.Bearpaddle.com.
Looking for a gift that will last all year? A membership to the Duke Energy Children’s Museum is the perfect present for kids who share a knack for discovery and learning. With hands-on activities, educational play areas and programming featuring reading and science, the Children’s Museum is the place to be this winter (and spring, fall and summer too!) To learn about membership packages visit www.Cincymuseum.org.
For kids who love to draw and paint, art lessons are a fantastic present to give this season. The Art Spark is a creative classroom that enables students to use individual ideas and various mediums to create art. Parents can register for monthly sessions or sign up for whole year of classes. Winter Camps are also available. Add some new watercolors or sharpened colored pencils to this gift to make a perfect present for that potential Picasso. Learn more at www.Theartspark.com.
Unwrap adventure this holiday season with a family membership to the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden. Check out the wild exhibits and walk the stunning grounds open daily throughout the year. Membership perks include early entry during spring and summer months, as well as free year-round admission to the Zoo and entry to the PNC Festival of Lights. To register visit www.Cincinnatizoo.org.
Give the gift of Namaste and enjoy a little family yoga time at Shine Yoga Center. Designed for parents and children, classes combine classic yoga practices with fun adaptations that the whole family will love. With small classes and attentive teachers, students can work on strength, coordination and balancing skills. Register at www.Shineyoga.com.
A family pass to the Newport Aquarium is one of the more economical memberships to gift this season. Less than the price of two visits, kids will love to see their favorite sea creatures throughout the year. Walk across the Shark Bridge, chill out with some penguins and don’t forget to visit the otters and sharks too! Become a Passholder at www.Newportaquarium.com.
A gift that keeps on giving, music lessons make quite the present for kids who love a tune. From instrument lessons to voice lessons, Queen City Music Studio provides students with a comprehension and deep appreciation for the art of music. Pair lessons with tickets to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and make music come to life in a very special way. To sign up for private, group or even in-house music lessons, visit www.Queencitymusicstudio.com.
Skip the crowded shopping centers and sweat-inducing cyber sales to wrap up a different kind of gift this year. Live in the present this holiday season (no pun intended) and give a memory that will last all year. Happy Holidays!
Lauren Lawson is a freelance writer passionate about all things parent-related. A transplant from Buffalo, New York, she now happily resides in the Cincinnati area with her husband and two young boys.
Watch for more of Lauren’s work in upcoming issues of Indy’s Child Parenting, Cincinnati Parent and Dayton Parent Magazines.