Do you remember the toys your child had to have last year? Probably not — and chances are, neither do they. Instead of wrapping yet another toy this holiday season, try giving a gift that won’t get lost, broken or abandoned in the play room: a gift of experience. Here are some thoughtful, out-of-the-box ideas for gifts that will be remembered long after the holiday decorations have been put away.
Check out these Great Experience Gifts for Kids:
Memberships to local museums, zoos and other attractions are the gifts that keep on giving all year long. Cincinnati is home to countless family-friendly places that offer memberships, so pick your favorite and look forward to exploring all year. As a bonus, many memberships come with added benefits, such as member-only hours, guided tours, food and gift shop discounts, and early access to special exhibits.
For an even bigger bonus and bang for your buck, check whether your museum or center of choice is a member of the Association of Science-Technology Centers (www.astc.org/passport). Members of ASTC-affiliated museums get free or discounted admission to other museums in the network. This is a boon for families who like to travel and explore new museums.
Classes & Lessons
If you’re looking to give “the gift of doing,” then you’ll find that by gifting a class or lesson. Dance, swim, music, art, sports, fitness: If it exists, there is probably a local class your child can join to do more and learn more about it. You can gift lessons that you know your child will love, or use this as an opportunity to introduce them to an entirely new activity. Even better: Gift a class that you and your child can do together. You’ll be learning and spending quality time together.
Tickets & Passes
Tickets to a fun event, such as a family-friendly concert, sporting event or traveling show, can be an excellent holiday gift. Or, you can buy season tickets to a favorite venue, such as a theatre, orchestra or ballet company, and enjoy multiple performances throughout the year. The choice is yours and depends on your budget.
For thrill seekers, passes to an amusement park make a great gift idea. If the nearest amusement park is a far drive away, then make it a road-trip gift. Include the park tickets with a basket of goodies to enjoy in the car — think fun snacks, and maybe a game or two, such as Mad Libs or travel Bingo.
Most of the time, you don’t have to travel far from home to give a great gift. You can have fun and make memories in your own community. Passes to a local ice skating or roller skating rink, bowling alley, miniature golf course, batting cage, indoor play center or trampoline park can make for a fun and festive night out with the family. Or, make it a movie night with tickets to see the newest animated film at a local movie theatre.
The Benefits of Experiential Gifts
The research is in: Experiences, not stuff, makes us happier. According to a study by psychologists at San Francisco State University, people who spend money on experiences rather than material items felt like the money was better spent, and that make them feel happier.
This season, consider giving gifts of experience – not just gifts of stuff. Not only will you cut down on the clutter that finds its way into your home (and the homes of others), but you might also find that giving experiences makes you happier, too. From museums to classes to activity centers and everything in between, the joy of experiencing new things with your family and making memories will last a lifetime.
Gifts That Keep on Giving
Cincinnati Museum Center
COSI (Center of Science and Industry)
Taft Museum of Art
The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati
Gifts to Learn Something New
The Art Spark
Bear Paddle Swim School
Cincinnati Baila Dance Academy
Kids First Sports Center
YMCA of Greater Cincinnati
Gifts for a Fun Time Out
Broadway in Cincinnati
Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra
Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati