The Gift of Time: Not All Presents Come in a Box

The Gift of Time: Not All Presents Come in a Box

By Janeen Lewis

Parents want Christmas to be magical. Sometimes this means driving all over town or frantically searching online for trendy toys or gadgets only to find that children grow bored and banish them to the back of the closet or toy box after the holidays. This Christmas, why not give your child the gift of time by picking out an activity you can do together? Try one of these experience-gift ideas and pair it with a related fun item to go under the tree.
A Heart for the Arts
Is your child a budding Van Gogh or drama queen? Here are some ideas for visual and performing arts gifts.
Experience Gifts:
•A membership or ticket to tour an art museum
•A day at a paint-your-own pottery place
•Acting classes
•Parent and child painting class
•Dance lessons

Tangible Gifts:
•The book 13 Artists Children Should Know by Angela Wenzel
•Ed Emberley’s Drawing books
•An easel
•A table and chair that it is okay to drip paint on
•Paint pens, gel crayons, or oil pastels
•Makeup kits for actors
•Tap, jazz, or ballet shoes
•Leg warmers
•A costume representing a favorite character

Crafty and Creative
Does your child like to create projects over time? Maybe you’re a maker-minded parent that wants your child to learn practical life skills. Here are some ideas to get your hobbyist started:

Experience Gifts:
•Knitting or crocheting classes
•Home Depot free woodworking classes
•Sewing classes at JoAnn Fabrics
•Crafts class at Michael’s
•Beginning jewelry making classes
•Lessons in glasswork
•Bath bomb, soap, or lotion making lessons
Tangible Gifts:
•Knit or crochet kit for kids
•The book,Woodland Crochet: 12 Precious Projects to Stitch and Snuggle by Kristen Rask
•Young Woodworker’s Project Kit from Lakeshore Learning (includes everything needed to build a small corner shelf, toolbox, and treasure chest)
•Beginner sewing machine like the Singer Start 1304
•Calligraphy set
•Origami or craft paper
•Beads or jewelry making kit
•Materials to make bath bombs, bath salts, soaps, or lotions

Sports Fans
Sports are not only a fun way for a child to get exercise, but they also provide an opportunity for parents to connect to kids.
Experience Gifts:
•Tickets to a professional sporting event
•Tour a sporting stadium or Hall of Fame
•Membership or admission to an ice or roller skating rink
•Lessons with a private coach for a favorite sport
•Batting facility membership

Tangible Gifts:
•Sports Equipment
•Professional or college team jerseys or hats
•Ticket stub diary to hold memorable sporting event stubs
•Fitness tracker watch
•Gymnastics or yoga mat
•Over the door basketball hoop

Future Foodies
You could be raising the next Pioneer Woman or Bobby Flay. Support their love of creating dishes with these fun ideas.
Experience Gifts:
•Cooking lessons
•Kroger Chef Junior classes on Saturdays at participating stores
•Dinner at a fine dining, gourmet, or culturally diverse restaurants to explore different foods
Tangible Gifts:
•MasterChef Junior Cooking Essentials Set
•Personalized chef apron, jacket, or hat
•MindWare Playful Chef Knife Kit (it really cuts but is safe for kids)
•Make Your Own Chocolate Kit
•Kid Chef: The Foodie Kids Cookbook by Melina Hammer

Wild About Books
Book gifts don’t have to be boring! Spice up your present by making stories come alive and adding a cool reading gadget.
Experience Gifts:
•Visit a storytelling venue
•Attend an author visit or book signing of your child’s favorite author
Tangible Gifts:
•Book ends
•Book light
•E-reader, like a Kindle or Nook
•Magnetic clip bookmarks
•Reading tent
•Comfy bean bag chair
•Personalized book stamp
•Magazine subscription

Clothes and accessories are always a hit at Christmas, especially if you have teens in the house. These ideas show your fashion lover you care about their style.
Experience Gifts:
•Go to a fashion show
•Modeling classes
•Mommy and Me mani-pedis

Tangible Gifts:
•My First Fashion Designer by Lakeshore Learning. This kit includes a miniature dress form, cloth swatches, and buttons to create runway designs.
•A mix and match fashion drawing set like Fashion Plates
•A chic hat, scarf, gloves, or earmuffs
•Leather boots
•Graphic tees
•Designer watch
•Faux Fur accessories
•Animal print scarf or leggings
•FabKids subscription box
•Gift card to favorite clothing store

If your child loves STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math), these are great ideas.
Experience Gifts:
•Engineering Class
•Membership at a nature center
•Membership to a children’s museum
•Computer camp or classes
•Join a maker space

Tangible Gifts:
•Science subscription boxes like Groovy Lab in a Box and Kiwi Crate
•Snap Circuits
•Lego Master Builders Academy

A Flair for Design
Help your child find their inner interior designer with these gift ideas.
Experience Gift:
•Consult with a local interior decorator and use your child’s ideas to design his or her bedroom or playroom makeover

Tangible Gifts:
•Klutz Design Your Dream Room. This portfolio lets your child explore with patterns, color, space, and 300 punch-out pieces to design a room.
•Paint for a bedroom or playroom picked out by your child
•Sheets, bedspread, curtains, or designer pillows
•Lamps, desk set, or wall art

Nature Lovers
Get outdoors and enjoy fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing, or more with your child.
Experience Gifts:
•Membership in the Wild Explorers Club
•Membership at a nature center
•White water rafting trip
•Fishing trip
•Beginner SCUBA diving lessons

Tangible Gifts:
•Fishing rod and gear
•SCUBA gear
•Hiking gear
•Canoe or kayak

Tea Time
All kids enjoy quiet conversation over a warm cup of tea.
Experience Gifts:
•Book a teatime at a tearoom
•Plant an indoor herb garden from which to make herbal tea (try chamomile, lavender, and peppermint)

Tangible Gifts:
•Tea pot and cup
•Tea cozy
•Costume necklaces, hats, gloves, and purse to wear to teatime
•Tea pot necklace
•Scones and tea biscuits

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