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20+ Experience Gift Ideas for Kids in Cedar Rapids

I’m all about experience gifts for kids this year. Yes, I hear you. You are saying that experience gifts sound like a great idea, but, “They need something to open!”  No worries, I’ve got you covered!

Wrapping Up Experience Gifts for Kids in Cedar Rapids

The Gift of Quality Time

Kids will love the gift of something fun to do with you! You could easily include a stop for ice cream or a meal out before or after these experience gifts:

  • Play-doh or a paint set wrapped with a gift card for The Potter’s Obsession.
  • A bouncy ball or grip socks wrapped with gift card for an Air FX or Sky Zone.
  • Fun socks wrapped with gift card to The Fun Station or bowling passes from Cedar Rapids Bowling Center!
  • Something small to play with wrapped with an invitation to play at the The Iowa Children’s Museum.
  • A Rough Riders T-shirt (and ear plugs since games can be very loud) wrapped with tickets to a hockey game.
  • A bag of popcorn or box of candy wrapped with gift card to Collins Road Theatres.
  • New swim suit, pool toy, or goggles wrapped with a pool pass for Bender Pool.
  • Hot cocoa packets or new mittens wrapped with ice skating passes to The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
  • A real child-sized hammer and certificate to take them to a Lowe’s Build and Grow or Home Depot Kids Build Event.
  • New pajamas or slippers wrapped with a certificate to have a fun-filled sleepover with a friend.  (You could have the friend and date already lined up.)
  • Water bottle or sports equipment wrapped with a certificate for a Hawkeye Sports Camp. Check the list of the child’s chosen sport. Softball has a one day camp right away in January!
  • An apron or chef hat with a certificate to spend an afternoon baking with you. While you wait for the oven, you could include fabric markers to decorate their apron or a travel game to play together. Or you could include cooking classes with Kirkwood Community College.
  • A new calendar wrapped with something fun written in each month you will do together. (You can also use a color-in calendar or make a photo calendar for added personalization.) You can include easy free activities like game, movie or spa nights at home as well as ideas above. You can also include events farther in the future such as an amazing show at Theatre Cedar Rapids or The Paramount. Don’t forget seasonal sports like a baseball game with the Cedar Rapids Kernels or a hockey game with The Rough RidersThe Old Creamery Theatre and Playtime Poppy feature children’s plays all throughout the year as well!

The Gift of Learning

My kids would love to be in more activities, but they can be expensive, especially the more kids you have. Giving the experience gift of a class you know the child would enjoy reinforces the idea that it is a privilege to participate.

This is for you, too, grandpas, grandmas, and other toy-loving gift givers! There are SO many fabulous experiences right here that we can give the kids we love this holiday season.  Kids can still feel the joy of opening gifts, but families don’t have to become further buried in stuff.  Not to mention the fact that children like my daughter can be saved from the horrendous torture of parting with the gift one day.

Can I get an amen?

Or maybe a cleverly wrapped gift card for an experience gift, please?


A version of this article was published by Amy Lovseth in December ’19.

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