How to Wrap Experience Gifts for Kids (So They Are Super Excited About What They are Getting)

by - Monday, December 09, 2019

One of the worries I hear most about giving children experience gifts is that they won't really understand what they are getting. With adults, you can hand them a gift card and they will totally get it- in fact they will probably be excited! One less thing to clean, one more to remember.

Kids aren't so simple.

Most kids "get" toys. By 3, you can count on them to get pretty excited when you put a toy in front of them.

Experience gifts are more abstract, and it means that they don't always get that big reaction. It is hard to forego the complete joy of watching a kid opening a toy when you aren't even sure that the kid you love will understand what is in front of them.

You are messing with all sorts of expectations- toys are NOW, some experience gifts are later. Toys are NEW so they seem SPECIAL, experience gifts can seem actually kind of normal- people take kids to stuff all the time! It can be hard for them to differentiate between something for them or just another thing.

All of these things can make gifting experiences to people intimidating, and the younger they are, the harder it can be to tell if you are getting it right or totally wrong. But the truth is, kids need experience gifts more than anyone; we know that kids actually play less if they have more toys. We know that they need our presence, our complete attention, and our enthusiasm. We know that they need us to care about their interests and to invest in their learning.

Experience Gifts are absolutely the best- here are 99 of our best ideas for a gift they will never forget.

Just ask yourself- how many gifts can you actually remember your parents/aunts/grandparents giving to you? Now think of your best memory with them. Which makes your heart feel full? We can give kids so much by simply caring about them and spending time with them.

So, how do you give an experience gift and still get that excited reaction? I have some ideas!

1. Say it with Art

Kids make art often, and they tend to understand visual languages WAY more than we give them credit for. You can do something simple, like decorate a card with drawings inside. You could make a sculpture or a diorama that they can play with out of clay or just hot glue and the garbage in your house. It does NOT have to be fancy! Think about how many things children make for others, and how little as adults we make for them.

Taking them to a show or movie? Make one of the characters out of cardboard! Something where you can use recycled materials and they can keep/use it a long time is always the best option.

It doesn't have to look beautiful. It just has to have your enthusiasm in it, and you have to be ready to talk about it with them. They will remember that forever. Don't be afraid to be creative- and you can always ask Pinterest for help!

2. Start a Countdown

Did you get tickets for both of your to a basketball game? A weekend at a water park? Print out a picture of where you are going (bonus points if you photoshop them in there). Then make a paper chain of the number of days until the big event. Kids love counting down to things, and it just means that get to enjoy the anticipation phase completely.

3. A Token or a Tool

If you are gifting lessons, think about what kinds of tools they might need to finish the job? When we first got our niece piano lessons, we got two little piano books of music she knew as a gift to go with it. Honestly, I have no idea if she ever used them (though now I bet she could!), but the books full of notes made it clear what she was getting.

4. Use Lots of Pictures

Make a little book of pictures explaining what you are going to do. You can print out a cover that says "Mama and Bob's Special Day." If you are getting an experience

5. Make a Scavenger Hunt

Send the kiddo on a journey through the house to find clues for their gift. It makes the whole thing so exciting, and you can give them little clues about the destination as you go. I have also heard of tying ribbon to tickets, and then running the ribbon all around the house. They can follow the ribbon to the big reveal!

How to Wrap an Experience Gift for Kids (So They Are Super Excited About What They are Getting)

Doing an experience gift is so much better for the kid and it's better for the planet. You can make the whole gift, from the giving to the experience itself so special and memorable that it will totally blast that old toy out of the water. It just takes a little creativity and thoughtfulness about who this little person really is. And that is really what they need from you anyway! Happy Gifting!

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  1. These are great ideas! It's definitely hard to give younger children experiences as gifts when you lose that "magic" and fun that happens when they open a present. But these ideas really help! I especially love the scavenger hunt because it's so interactive!

  2. I like your ideas, they are creative and out of the box. I have just a little time to decide which one to chose.

  3. Awww I love this idea - still the fun of opening something, but the lifelong memory of an experience!



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