It’s the most wonderful time of year- a time for thanksgiving, celebrations, and gift giving! Since my children were born, my husband and I have made a conscience effort to “gift” our children with experiences over tangible items. The material possessions we do gift them are purposeful- educational, enriching, and challenging. The past two years we have shared some suggestions (you can read my 2018 and 2017 gift guides) and this year we’d like to continue the tradition with some new ideas for the children in your life. And read to the end, we’ve got a GIVEAWAY TO LEGOLAND DISCOVERY CENTER!
1. Subscription Boxes: There are so many options out there for just about every interest and hobby and now, for children. Last year we gifted our daughter a monthly subscription for Kidstir and it was a lot of fun- great recipes and handy tools that we still use on a daily basis (everything is well made and easy to clean). This year, we’re gifting CrateJoy and Rowan earring subscription boxes. CrateJoy has so many options from STEM experiments to stickers to arts and crafts; there is a CRateJoy subscription for just about every hobby and interest for kids and adults. As travel bloggers, the second we saw Womple Mail we knew it would be perfect for our children. Womple Mail is an engaging way for children to learn about geography and new cultures. The first package arrived with a small stuffed friend named Roald, a travel journal where kids can record their reactions to adventures, and an atlas. The atlas includes tons of statistics and colorful graphics about various regions in the world. Each month, a new package arrives with letters from Roald the Womple about his adventures, stickers, and other materials like postcards for kids to write back to Roald (we hear he returns all correspondence!) and trivia sheets. Womple Mail offers 3, 6, and 12 month subscriptions, which makes it great for various price points, and some subscription packages include special items like the stuffed Womple.
2. Reading material: My children are always reading. We love researching the history of new places before we visit. National Geographic is my favorite resource for research, especially when it involved my children. The books are colorful, have short excerpts (so we can “steal” a few minutes throughout the day reading short sections), and have really unique facts. Given our recent travels, we’ve been reading the Weird but True: USA and Weird but True: US Presidents series. Each book includes visuals (and funny exaggerated cartoon renderings) and unexpected facts and trivia. We always read the annual Almanac for unique stories an information. National Geographic has a wide variety of books for children- check out the full list here. My children also enjoy receiving mail (see #1) and have been receiving magazines for years. Our favorites for toddlers are Highlights, Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, Disney Princess and National Geographic for Kids. Our (now) preteens really enjoy Sports Illustrated for Kids, Soup Stone, and Cricket (illustrated, literary magazines).
3. Games: We love Family Game Night in our house! We also love giving board games as family gifts, as they “age well” and bring people together. This year, one of our favorites has been Scrambled States of America. It’s a great way to learn geography and fun facts about each state. Even younger children can learn the game. Bonus: It has two rules. no tiny pieces, and travels easily! We also enjoy easy-to-pack games like UNO, Farkle, and cribbage. And, of course, you can never go wrong with classics like Monopoly (there is a special themed version for just about every city, sports team, and interest) and Clue. Dont’ discount puzzles either. Last year, we received this puzzle of the National Parks and my son and I have completed it a few times. We’re thinking about framing it for the kids play room and then putting a gold star next to each park we visit.
4. Tickets: Again, with the emphasis on spending time together, family tickets to a concert, show, or special event is a great way to make memories without collecting “stuff” that will be quickly forgotten. This year, our children have been begging to go to Universal Studios to check out Harry Potter World. (see #2). We’re going to Universal over the holiday break and I can’t wait to see the look on their faces when we tell them. In the past, we have attended Broadway shows or visited adventure parks like Hershey Park (read about our adventures here and here) and Disney World (read about our adventures here, here, here, and here).
5. Memberships: Since they were little, we’ve asked family for memberships to some of our favorite spots like our local children’s museum, zoo, and aquarium. We also love our membership to the New York Botanical Garden. Often times, our membership level gives us reciprocity rates at other museums throughout the country. Sometimes, we would visit a museum so frequently, it made financial sense to purchase a membership. My children love legos, and LegoLand Discovery Centers are one of our favorite places to visit. The Boston, Massachusetts Center has two rides, an indoor climbing maze, 4D theater, virtual reality experience, MiniLand of famous local structures, dedicated space for toddlers, and tons of space to build with legos. Each season, Legoland Discovery Centers offer special themed activities and events. You can read about fall fun here. I recently read that for the holidays they’ll have scavenger hunts, photo ops with giant Lego sleighs and the Grinch (!!) and character meet and greets. Tickets to visit, or even better, a membership, to Legoland would make the perfect gift for your favorite child(ren)!
Bonus: One easy item to give to families who love to travel is a Kachula Adventure Blanket from Coalatree. The company, which focuses on Eco-Minded goods, sent me one a couple of weeks ago, and even though it’s past peak beach season, we’ve been using it on day trips. The blankets are water-and-spill resistant, and easy to clean! The material is durable, but soft at the same time. One of the most clever features of the blanket is the snaps you can use to convert to a poncho and to attach to other blankets. Plus, there is a zipper pocket for hidden storage., so you don’t need to worry about safe keeping for a wallet or phone. Coalatree has dozens of designs and styles. I keep our blanket in the trunk for all of our travels! When I went to the Coalatree website to order additional blankets, I noticed they have a great line of eco minded products including apparel, hats, winter gear, and even hammocks!
It’s time for a giveaway!!! Two lucky readers will each receive four pack of tickets to visit Legoland Discovery Center in Boston, Massachusetts. Tickets are good through December 2020. To be entered, please leave a comment below about one of the items I mentioned in this post that you might gift a child in your life AND follow our adventures on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. All submissions must be posted by Sunday, November 12th 8pm EST. Good luck!
Disclosure: My family was gifted some of the items mentioned in this post. All opinions expressed are my own.