The Gift of Experience

WaterPlayOne of the gifts our family received for Christmas was a membership to our local children’s museum. This was one of our favorite gifts and is a gift that will keep on giving all throughout 2012!

Gifts of experience provide an opportunity to make family memories, spend quality time together and learn! And, for those who live minimally, there’s no clutter that comes along with the gift of experience.

Playing in one of the music rooms

We’ll definitely be requesting more gifts of experience when asked what we want for Christmas and we’ll probably be giving the boys experiences for their birthdays instead of gifts!

What gifts of experience have you received? 

responses to “The Gift of Experience” 22

  1. I agree – gifts of experience are awesome! Two Christmases ago (2010) we received a membership to the MN Zoo. We activated it and it was an 18-month membership because she got it during a promotional period so that gift is STILL giving over one year later! Outings to zoos and museums can get expensive so we have loved this membership gift. When we go we pack a picnic lunch to eat under a tree or at a picnic table if one is available. We also fill a couple sippy cups with juice, water bottles for us and snacks for everyone and pack them in the bottom of the stroller! It is a fun thing for us to do and it only costs us gas to get there and back!

    She has asked where we'd like one next and we said the St. Paul Children's Museum since we have never been there and hear great things about it! Can't wait to go there soon!

  2. What a great idea! My hubby and I normally treat ourselves to a nice meal out rather than exchanging gifts for birthdays and anniversaries. We already have plenty but finding a new restaurant and sharing a nice meal together is an awesome experience and memory.

    1. How awesome to have an 18 month membership! We still haven't taken Paxton to a zoo, I'm hoping to do that this spring/early summer, I know he'll love the animals!! I love the idea to pack a picnic lunch too!!

  3. I only have one piece of advice for you. Germs! We went to a children's museum in Myrtle Beach when my daughter was small and she got a horrible virus with vomiting and everything that goes with it. Those museums for children are wonderful but everything they touch is touched by other children and some with viruses. Please be careful. Use lots of hand sanitizer. Do not let him touch his face. I wouldn't wish an illness on any of you.

    1. We washed hands before we left and then used hand sanitizer before eating a snack in the car! 🙂 But, I will remember this and be more careful to make sure he doesn't put his hands in his mouth or near his face while we're there! Thanks for the warning!

  4. I wish that my in-laws would do that. They won't because, they think its like opening nothing. There is nothing tangible for the kids to have in their hands. My kids love, love, love museums etc. and would love to get something like this where we can pretty much go when ever we want to.

    1. Maybe suggest a membership as a family gift? My parents gave us this membership as a family and then bought Paxton 2 gifts so he had something 'fun' to open but not a ton of stuff!

  5. My husband and I were just talking about how we wanted to do that with our children. We haven't taken our 3 yr old to the zoo yet because it would cost around $50 for admission and we would have to pay parking on top of that. We're thinking we will take her for her Birthday. This year we took her to Build A Bear Workshop on her Birthday and she still talks about it. I only remember a few presents from when I was a child but I remember plenty of events.

    1. It's possible at the zoo if you buy a family membership, it will pay for itself within 2 visits so it could be a birthday gift that 'keeps on giving'! I love the Build A Bear Workshop idea too, a gift and a memorable experience all in one!!

  6. I like to GIVE gifts of experience. For my mom's 50th, I took her on a hot air balloon ride. Just last year for her birthday, I took her on her first canoeing trip and she loved it! For my husband's 40th birthday last year, he got to fly a little Cesna plane! Boy was he surprised (and at the time – not very happy with me. I had no idea he was afraid of flying! We had gone to Alaska for heaven’s sake for our honeymoon!) He has calmed down since then, and we can laugh about it and agree that it was pretty darn fun. I guarantee he will never forget his 40th!

    Luckily, I come from a family that believes in experiences more than "stuff." That is probably why I have so many fond memories of my childhood and teen years even though my parents are no longer together. It was what we did as a family that lingers in my mind the most. I am lucky enough that my husband realizes how important it is for me to make experiences together. We are going on one tomorrow: the Detroit Auto Show!

    (Sorry so long: this is something I feel very strongly about and is so fun to reminisce over.)

    1. I love all of this! How was the hot air balloon ride? I always have kind of wanted to take one but I'm so afraid of heights so I'm pretty sure I'd be terrified!! Have fun at the auto show!! 🙂

      1. Hot air balloon ride was AWESOME! We even got to help with preparing the balloon (holding the balloon while the air blew into it and filled it up – the wind nearly blew my tiny 5' 1"- 120lb mom away! Lol!) The views are AMAZING. However, we DID have a little hiccup. When landing, our balloon got caught on someone's chimney and ripped, and our basket tipped a little bit. I had a few battle wounds on my knuckles and knees from hitting the wicker basket so hard, but as I said, we will never forget it! 🙂 As my mom always says, "it's always an adventure!" So true.

  7. Our Rita just made a year and our birthday gift to her was a trip to the local zoo – it was a hit! We also packed her a sippy cup and a snack which made for a wonderful pit-stop. We are so excited to have a small collage of pictures to put in her baby book as memory of her first birthday. It is much better than purchasing her a toy that she will entertain for only a short while. We also had a blast, which is a blessing!

    1. I'm looking forward to taking Paxton to the zoo sometime this spring/summer! Thanks for the idea, we might actually make that his 2nd birthday gift from us!

  8. I got my nieces a membership to the Children's Museum. They have play areas, exhibits, activities, and more! They love going there and do so almost every week. I think it's so much better than buying them loud/plastic/useless toys they will forget about in short order. I agree, giving experiences is awesome!

  9. We haven't actually received any gifts like this yet, but Hubby & I decided that for our little boy (and any others that come along!) we will be giving them experiences instead of gifts. Memories are so much more precious than any material gifts, and we're really looking forward to it. For his first birthday we were on holiday in the USA and went to Ripley's Aquarium – he LOVED it. Gotta think of something for his second birthday this coming October now…! 🙂 We don't have anything like the Children's Museum though, that looks fantastic!

    1. Glad to hear he loved Ripley's Aquarium! We're talking about going to the one in Gatlinburg sometime this spring/summer since it's fairly close (about 3 hours away!)

  10. Rachel

    Hi there! I just found your blog and I'm enjoying it immensly. I was wondering where the pictures above were taken? Is that the Children's Museum in Chattanooga? It sure looks like it and it is HANDS DOWN my favorite place that I've taken my daughter. I noticed Atlanta has one but I'm not sure its the same and was hoping you might say you've been?

      1. I thought it looked like it!! We took a trip there last spring and I didn't allocate NEAR enough time for the museum in our plans. I really can't wait to go back there and spend the whole day!
        I am from Knoxville originally but live in Georgia now. We're hoping to try the one in Atlanta in the next
        month or so – fingers crossed!

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