Need help finding a great gift for your kid that won't contribute to the pile of clutter in their playroom? Look no further! These experience gifts will help them create memories that will last them a lifetime. #experiencegifts #minimalism #alternativegifts
Family,  Intentional Living,  Parenting,  Relationships

The Ultimate List of Experience Gifts for Kids Under 4

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Simple Quiet Mama's Ultimate List of Experience Gifts for Kids Under 4

If you’re anything like me, you want to give your kids the world.

Sometimes that manifests in amazing experiences and memories… but more often than not it tends to look like a playroom full of forgotten toys that you felt they needed at the time.

Next time, forget the light up toys and opt to give your child an experience gift.

Experience gifts promote bonding, build character, and are not easily forgotten.

Each time you give your child the gift of an experience, be it an adventure walk or zoo trip, you affect the person your child is working to become.

In our home, experience gifts are our favorites. My oldest regularly talks about what she saw last time at zoo or describes the flowers she found on her last walk.

These experiences make a difference. They also help keep the clutter at bay.

Need help thinking up the perfect experience gift? Look no further.

We’re going to cover:

  • What an experience gift is
  • Why you should choose experience gifts over toys
  • The ultimate list of experience gifts for kids under 4 (you’re welcome)

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What are Experience Gifts?

Experience gifts are exactly what they sound like – giving the gift of an experience to someone.

These gifts can range from free (woot!) to however expensive you’re willing to dish out.

But more importantly, experience gifts are memories.

And memories are priceless.

Why Experience Gifts?

All kids like receiving presents, so why opt for experience gifts?

Because memories last a lifetime, while toys tend to be forgotten in a matter of days (sometimes even hours).

Each experience you give your child helps mold them into the person they eventually become.

As they are exposed to new people, new activities, new sights and sounds and smells, they are being awakened to the fact that the world is bigger than their living room.

Experiences promote bonding between family members and friends.

They say you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation, and if you’ve ever spent any amount of time with someone under 4 you know that to be true.

Kids crave spending time with the people they love.

They prefer quality time with their people over independent play with a toy. (Don’t get me wrong, independent play is fan—tastic.)

Give the the gift of a stronger relationship with you.

That’s worth so much more than anything else.

Related: 10 Ways to Reconnect With Your Toddler When You Feel Out of Sync

This post may contain affiliate links. Here is my Affiliate Disclaimer.

The Ultimate List of Experience Gifts for Kids Under 4

Family Membership

Our favorites include the zoo, aquarium, and children’s museum.

A family is a great back up to have any day that you have a little free time.

Free Saturday? Hit up the zoo. Free afternoon? Children’s museum it is.

These places are educational and will add to your children’s interests and memories every time you go.

Family Date Day

Go somewhere fun, such as the park, zoo, aquarium museum, a movie, sporting event, play, amusement park, kids’ gym, painting class, local activity, or petting zoo.

Get creative, check out local events, and just go.

Go do something fun and different. You won’t regret it.


Give your kids the gift of learning a new skill, such as gymnastics, art, music, or martial arts.

Your child will gain so much more than a new skill.

They’ll also gain valuable social skills, such as patience, waiting their turn, taking directions from an authority figure other than mom or dad, and following directions.

Monthly Postcards, Letters, or Fun Mail

Get your kids excited about checking the mail with this one!

Commit to sending your kids a postcard, letter, or goodie box in the mail each month.

Be silly or fill your letters with all of the reasons you love them.

Get creative! It’s all your call.

This makes an awesome, low-cost gift from grandparents, too!

Another way to have some fun with this gift is by having your child pick someone new each month to send a postcard to. Have them decorate it with stickers and crayons.

I love these Blank Postcards on Amazon! They are completely blank so that your child can color, sticker up, and decorate as much as they’d like. Teach your child the value of sending a bit of love to other people.

Get yours on Amazon HERE!

Take a Trip

Make a big deal out of a weekend getaway or a day trip to another city.

Do activities your child will enjoy.

Make a point to stop at educational and fun spots along the way.

Or simply have a pizza party in a hotel room one night. Your kid won’t care if you’re still in the same town that you live in. =]

Musical Instruments (or help them make their own)

Music is an amazing gateway to so many skills and developments.

Something as simple as a Recorder or some Maracas can unlock some serious creativity in your kiddo.

Just make sure to put them away if you have a younger one napping!

Get yours on Amazon HERE!

Magazine or Magazine Subscription

Choose an educational magazine that caters to your child’s interest, such as National Geographic Little Kids and Highlights.

Get yours on Amazon HERE!

Photo Book

Use a website like Shutterfly to create a fun photo book. You can make one for family members, one of pictures of them, one for photos of animals… you name it!

Kids love looking at pictures of the people they know and love!

Get a FREE 8×8 Photobook from Shutterfly by clicking here!


If your child enjoys books, why not give them a gift subscription to a book delivery box such as Amazon Prime Book Box for Kids.

My oldest loves getting her “book mail” each month and discovering amazing new stories.

Amazon Prime Book Box for Kids is a fantastic way to build your child’s library without much effort.

Get it from Amazon HERE!

Outdoor Gear

Get your child their very own gear for camping, fishing, or hiking. Then actually take them!

You’ll create memories that will last a lifetime.

This Exploration Kit will enhance any outdoor time by providing your child with their very own outdoor tools!

Grab yours on Amazon HERE!

Art Supplies

Stickers, coloring books, construction paper, glitter glue, scissors, paint, easel, sidewalk chalk, markers… or an entire kit such as this Little Kids Art Set.

Art supplies really boost a child’s imagination and creativity.

Not to mention, it’s a great way to encourage some independent quiet time when you need it!

Check out the Little Kids Art Set on Amazon HERE!


An easel is a fantastic way to introduce your child to the world of creativity through art.

Grab one that will serve multiple purposes and let your child’s creativity blossom.

My favorite easel is the Melissa & Doug Art Easel. It’s simple to assemble and has the following:

  • Dry Erase Board
  • Magnetic Chalkboard
  • Paper Roll with Holder
  • Trays for paints, crayons, markers, etc.

Check it out on Amazon HERE!

Theater Tickets

Similar to seeing a movie, the theater provides an excellent opportunity to expose kids to new music and skills they may be interested in developing.

Try choosing a production of a show that they are already familiar with, such as The Wizard of Oz.

Magnifying Glass

Let your child start exploring the world around them in a way they’ve never seen before.

With a simple Magnifying Glass, your child can easily transform into a Detective or Nature Explorer!

Get yours on Amazon HERE!

Nature Bucket

Have a special bucket just for nature walks that your little one can put all of the “treasures” they find.

We love to take our bucket every time we go for a walk, because you never know what you’re going to find!

Don’t just use any old bucket! Make it special by getting your child an exciting one, like the Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy Pail.

Get yours on Amazon HERE!


Take outdoor time to the next level with a pair of binoculars, such as the Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy Binoculars.

Watch your child’s wonder skyrocket as they’re finally able to see things, such as birds and planes, up close!

Get yours on Amazon HERE!

Sports Tickets

Have a little athlete on your hands? Introduce them to some sports they may be interested in!

You don’t have to dish out for expensive tickets to watch a professional game.

Check out the sporting events that are happening in your community and make a big deal out of going to watch them.

Talk to your kid about what’s happening and let them enjoy the entire experience.

Play Doh

Play Doh is a fun, portable, and endlessly creative gift for little ones!

They love the texture and enjoy making all sorts of creations to show off.

You don’t need a ton of fancy Play Doh gear to spark some imagination, so grab a tub from Amazon HERE!

Outdoor Playset

Invest in a plastic Playset or a wooden Playset Swing Set that will grow with your child for years to come.

The games and stories your children will create are truly endless and they’ll spend countless hours in the fresh air and sunshine.

Get one on Amazon HERE!


Even the littlest ones love swinging in a Swing!

This is such a simple, easy gift that your kiddos are going to love.

Grab yours on Amazon HERE!

Scavenger Hunt

This was one of my favorite activities as a kid.

A scavenger hunt is fun to put together, and even more fun to do!


Pay the registration fee and/or get them any accessories they may need.

You’re not just getting them a new toy, you’re giving the gift of a new skill, an opportunity to socialize, and fun physical activity outside in the fresh air.

Dress Up Clothes

Spark their imagination with fun dress up clothes!

Grab some stuff from your closet, a thrift store, or pick up some cute dress up clothes such as this Melissa & Doug Fire Chief Costume.

Check out more costumes on Amazon HERE!

Sports Toys

Get them active with Sports Balls for Kids, a Basketball Goal, a T-Ball Set, or a Soccer Net. Little Tikes EasyScore Basketball Set

Give them a reason to get outside and have some fun!

Sport toys help your child learn and build new skills. Plus they’re a great way to interact with your child and build your relationship.

Stock up on sporting toys on Amazon HERE!

Fort Gear

Put together a fort building kit or purchase one like the TOTE A FORT Blanket Fort Kit for Kids. I love this kit because each blanket has straps that you can easily attach to furniture, anchor weights to help keep you blankets in place, and an easy-to-carry sinch sack for storage.

Get creative with blankets and sheets you already own or give your kids their own Fort Kit for hours of entertainment, imagination, and fun.

Grab your Fort Kit on Amazon HERE!

Baking Date

Put together a basket of ingredients for you and your little to bake!

Let them mix, pour, and stir – they’ll love getting to help!

Make a big deal out of them baking and then enjoy the final product together! Yum!

Sidewalk Chalk

Creative juices? Check.

Sunshine? Check.

Fresh air? Check.

Win win win.

Get your Sidewalk Chalk on Amazon HERE!

Build Something

Toddlers love to help, so include them on a big project.

Making a treehouse for them? Let them help build it and paint it!

Choose something that will be fun for you and your child to enjoy together even after it’s put together.

Get creative!


Your little one may not be able to tackle a 50-piece puzzle yet, but there are appropriate puzzles for all ages.

For babies and young toddlers, you’ll want to go with puzzles that have big, easy-to-hold pieces, which is why I love the Melissa & Doug First Shapes Jumbo Knob Puzzle.

For toddlers who are starting to learn their colors, numbers, and letters, I love the Melissa & Doug Classic Wooden Peg Puzzles.

For older toddlers who are ready to start working real puzzles, I love the Petit Collage Floor Puzzle. The big pieces are easy for little hands to hold, and your child will love getting down in the floor and figuring out how to put it together.

Get your puzzles on Amazon HERE!

Big Kid Activity

For the older ones, give them the gift of getting to do something that only “big kids” get to do, such as getting a pedicure or going to a tea party.

Better yet, make it a date for just Mommy and child, Daddy and child, Grandparent and child, etc.

They’ll love the one-on-one attention!

Piggy Bank

Money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy experiences.

Teach your child at an early age the importance of saving with this sweet Piggy Bank.

You might even start them off with a little cash inside!

Get a Piggy Bank on Amazon HERE!

Amusement Park Tickets

While your child may still be a little young for most amusement parks, try to find a kid friendly place with lots of rides and activities for little ones.

Let them get a fun snack, explore, and ride a few rides.

What may be an hour or two of “nothing too special” for you could be the “best day ever” for your kid.

Kit Subscription Box

Why not have something fun and educational shipped right to your child’s door each month?

If you’re not into monthly fun, most services will allow quarterly subscriptions as well.

Amazon offers a STEM Club Toy Subscription for 3 and 4 year olds that will ship your child science, math, engineering, and technology toys appropriate for their age and development.

Sign your child up for a monthly or quarterly STEM Club Toy Subscription from Amazon HERE!

Play Tent

Play tents, such as this Teepee for kids, are amazing at sparking imagination.

They can be used for so many different games and activities!

Just set it up and let your kids take the lead!

Get a tent or teepee on Amazon HERE!

Plant or Garden

Give them their very own plant or flower to take care of, or let them take over a portion of the yard for their own “garden.”

Get them their own Kids Gardening Set and let them work away!

Get yours on Amazon HERE!


While this one isn’t super fun for kids, it’s great to give to them for later down the road.

Start a savings account for them while they’re young and deposit a little bit each year.

By the time they’re 18 they should have a decent amount in their account that’ll be a great surprise for them!

Water Park Tickets

Most little ones love playing in the water, so grab some tickets to your local water park and splash away!

Be sure to pack your Sunscreen and a lifejacket!

Grab some sunscreen on Amazon HERE!

Gift Card for a Treat

What is your child’s favorite yummy treat? Ice cream? Snowcones? Cookies?

Kids love having their own card to swipe like mommy or daddy.

Give your child a gift card for their favorite sweet shop and let them purchase their own treat. They’ll feel so grown up!

CD Player and CDs

They may be a little young to actually work a CD player, but kids love listening to music and stories.

We love the Disney Music CDs!

Grab a CD Player that you can easily move from room to room for hours of dance parties and entertainment.

Grab it on Amazon HERE!


Find an age-appropriate game that the whole family can enjoy.

Something as simple as this Melissa & Doug K’s Kids Fish and Count Learning Game is educational and fun!

Pick one up on Amazon HERE!


Enroll your little in an interactive, outdoor class that will teach them skills, socialization, and how to get muddy in all types of weather.

Go to to check for classes in your area.

Living Room Camping

Spend the night camping in your living room.

Pitch a tent, grab all of the blankets and pillows, make some indoor smores, and watch a movie or play games.

Nights like this will give your kiddos memories to last them a lifetime.

Card Creation Kit

Teach your kids the value of sending handmade cards to others.

They’ll have a blast and you’ll brighten someone else’s day, too.

Simply put together a kit with some construction paper, stickers, crayons, markers, envelopes, and stamps!

Movie Tickets

Take your kiddo to see the latest movie on their must-see list (provided they are old enough to sit relatively still and quiet for the duration of a movie).

Be sure to get them some popcorn or snacks to munch during the movie.

I assure you they’ll enjoy the quality time with you just as much as the movie, if not more!


Find a museum that caters to your kid’s interest and spend the day exploring at their pace.

Spend time listening to what really sparks interest in your child.

You may learn more than you ever expected!

12 Months of Dates With Your Kids

I love this idea from Jenae of

Each month take each child on a one-on-one date.

One-on-one time is so incredibly valuable to your child, so give them the gift of your undivided attention.

Picking Produce

My oldest loves picking strawberries. Find a local farm, pick some fresh produce, and enjoy eating it together later.

Simple Quiet Mama's Ultimate List of Experience Gifts for Kids Under 4

For More Alternative Gift Ideas, Follow My Pinterest Board: Alternative Gift Ideas

I will continually add new pins and ideas as I find them. Be sure to follow me for more inspiration!

Give the Gift of Memories

Next time you’re shopping for someone under the age of 4, forget the toys.

Spend a few minutes considering what that child would truly enjoy, and figure out a way to give that to them as an experience.

You now have an entire list of ideas and inspiration, so get creative and connect with your kid.

You’ll both be better off for it.

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Need a gift for your little one that won't add to the clutter? Look no further. Here is your ultimate list of experience gifts for kids under 4. They'll love everything on this list, and you'll build a stronger relationship with them, too. Win win. #alternativegifts #experiencegifts #toddlers #gifts #minimalism

What fun experience gifts have you given or received? Let me know in the comments below!

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