Experience Gifts for Kids: 40+ Gift Ideas That Won’t Clutter the Playroom

Chances are good that your kids don’t need any more toys. At most houses, toys seem to magically multiple! They come to us from yard sales, birthday parties, well-meaning grandparents, free swaps (What’s a “free swap”? Find out more in THIS post), and the box of hand me downs from our neighbors. There’s nothing wrong with kids having toys, but sometimes it can feel like we just don’t need more stuff. If you understand this feeling, this list is for you!

This year, instead of buying more toys to clutter the playroom, try these ideas instead!


Toy Alternatives: 40+ Experience Gifts for Kids and Families

{Indiana readers, this is a two-part post! You can find a list of local ideas/businesses/experiences HERE.)

This post contains affiliate links to Amazon for gifts we use and recommend.

Experience Gifts for Kids and Families

Just for Fun

  • Museum pass
  • Mini golf
  • Ice cream treat
  • Movie tickets
  • Give to someone in need. (Find ideas for volunteering with kids HERE.)
  • Bowling
  • Summer Camp registration

Music and Art

  • Music classes
  • Private vocal or instrument lessons
  • Tickets to a symphony performance (or the chance to attend an open symphony rehearsal)
  • Musical Instrument
  • Art camp/class
  • Art supplies
  • Camera equipment
  • Pottery Classes
  • “Paint your own pottery” experiences

Imagination & Learning

  • Play silks (These could be considered “toys,” but they take up little space and have limitless creative potential! Our girls play with their set almost every day three years later.)
  • Theater tickets
  • Magazine subscription (We love Highlights and National Geographic Kids!)
  • Audio books
  • Library card
  • E-reader


  • Zoo passes
  • A visit to an animal rescue center
  • Horseback riding lessons
  • Trip to an aquarium or a pet shop
  • National or state park pass
  • Adopt a pet from the humane society
  • Fishing gear or a fishing trip


  • Register for a sports team
  • Gymnastics
  • Dance
  • Karate
  • Yoga
  • Bounce house passes
  • Join the YMCA
  • Indoor rock climbing
  • Sled, skis, or gloves for winter snow sports
  • Swimming lessons


  • Night in a hotel
  • Train trip
  • Special sleepover at grandparents’ house
  • Theme park tickets/season pass
  • Water park experience
  • Night in a cabin
  • Travel gear such as a sleeping bag or luggage set

40+ Experience Gifts for Kids and Families