Destination themed gifts and the value in giving experiences instead of more stuff…

Do your kids need more stuff? Yep, mine don’t either.  In a culture bent on buying the latest, greatest toy or gadget, we have the powerful opportunity to rethink gift giving and set a tone in our home that is counter-cultural.

Do your kids need more stuff? Yep, mine don’t either.  In a culture bent on buying the latest, greatest toy or gadget, we have the powerful opportunity to rethink gift giving and set a tone in our home that is counter-cultural.

That’s why we’ve sought to shield our children from the onslaught of commercials, from things in this life that produce the gimmie’s. That is why we have sought to give gifts that serve a purpose – to develop their minds, their imaginations, to promote open-ended exploration or delve into historical or scientific explorations.

Oh this describes you too? {31 Days of Gifts that Inspire Learning |}

As I wrap up my series today, I wanted to share one last tip.  Gifts don’t have to be physical.  We have opportunities everywhere to give them the gift of experiences. You have the opportunity to help your kids understand that experiences, just like “stuff” shouldn’t be an expectation, but rather a gift.

Some of my favorite gifts as a girl centered around experiences – even one’s that weren’t directed at me.  I still remember the year, my parents gave my sister horseback riding lessons.  It was so much fun to sit on the fence and watch her at her first lesson.  It was a magical experience, not only for her, but for her sisters as well. Why?  Because experiences were valued as precious; because my parents cultivated the mindset that we were each individuals with particular interests – enabling us to appreciate what other’s received even if we didn’t get the same thing.

The opportunities are endless.  Today, I just want to share a few ideas to get you all thinking creatively so you can find ideas that fit within your family and your particular children…  You can give a creative card explaining the experience and/or pair it with a small gift to help build anticipation.

Think LOCAL! 

Let’s start by thinking local.  What kinds of interests or potential hobbies interest your child?  Giving the gift of special lessons or a trip to a local place could be a whole lot of fun.

Horse Back Riding Lessons

  • Classic Horse book, like Black Beauty
  • Boots (or any other essential that the riding instructor doesn’t provide)

Zoo Membership 

  • Animal Crackers – In our home crackers are a big treat.  I consider them at best mostly empty calories.  But announcing a zoo membership gift along with each child having their very own box with string handle has always been a big {frugal} gift hit in our home when announcing a zoo membership gift! You can pick them up at just about any grocery store!
  • Animal Lunchbox – so they can pack a lunch for the excusion(these were a big hit from a great-aunt a few years back).


Baseball Little League (or any other sports)

Giving the gift of a team sport!

With multiple kiddos and a tight budget, we don’t sign our kids up for team sports often.  In fact, they’ve only done it once.  But that year was a huge hit.  My parents gave them a card announcing the opportunity to play little league baseball/teeball and then presented them with a glove and ball so they could start practicing!  The boys were so excited and savored each and every game. My littlest insisted on wearing his history costume knickers to each and every game…

Dance or Gymnastic Lessons


Vacations CAN count as gifts.  Vacations are a privilege, not a right.  Giving the gift of a special vacation makes for a beautiful gift full of memories and learning opportunities!

Grand Canyon or other National Park

Disney Land/Disney WorldGiving the Gift of Disney!

My in-laws took the whole family to Disney World as our Christmas gift one year.  It was AMAZING!  I didn’t miss the opportunity to incorporate a little learning into the adventure. (In addition to learning about Walt Disney himself, my poor children needed to learn about Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and other classic Disney characters…)


 The opportunities are endless.  With a little creativity, you can give the gift of memory making experiences!

I’ll be stepping back from blogging in December after this week, but you can keep up with us over on Instagram

To check out the whole series:31 days of gift ideas that will spark and foster your children's love of learning and feed the imagination!

5 Great “Faith-Building” Chapter Book Series for Boys

Here are 5 series that will inspire your kids in their Christian faith, books that they'll want to read again and again.

Books make such wonderful gifts.  But for active boys, the element of adventure is paramount. These books are certainly not for boys only, but for any child that loves adventure! Finding good books that inspire our children is high on my priority list.  I can remember the countless hours I spent reading adventure books as a girl and especially loving the one’s that encouraged me to live radically and yet practically for the Lord.  My desire is to encourage the budding faith in each of my children and inspire them to pursue God whole-heartedly.  It’s easy to get a hold of books at the library, but for my home library I prefer to buy a few classics and then plenty of out-of-print living books in addition to books from a Christian worldview.  These kinds of books are becoming increasingly harder to come by at the local library and these are the books that I want my children to reach for again and again.  So here are 5 wonderful series that might bless your family as much as they’ve blessed ours!

  1. Imagination Station Series - (aimed at 6-12 year olds) I mentioned them in my general post on books that inspire faith last week. There are 14 fun books in this series that follows two cousins as they travel back in time via the Imagination Station to witness various events in history.  They are exciting, full of adventure, and have seamlessly woven in faith lessons.  We read the first book for a boys book club and were hooked.  We’ve gradually been building up our collection and currently own the first 9 books.  You can buy them individually or in sets of 3 (books 1-3, 4-6, 7-9) or buy the whole set at once.
  2. Sugar Creek Gang Series – (aimed at 9-14 year olds) Amazing lessons of courage, faith, & friendship are tucked into each of these adventures.  We own the first 16 books and my 10 year old has read them all at least twice.  Now my 8 year old is working his way through them.  I love how they weave everyday Christian thoughts and messages into it from a young boy’s perspective. You can buy them in groups of 6 books, or just start with the first one and see if your kids like it.
  3. LightKeepers Set: 10 Boys Who…  (aimed at 9-14 year olds) I want to raise world-changers, children who are inspired to do whatever it is that God has in store for them.  Stories have an ability to inspire our kids to do just that and this series is no exception.  (I love the girl set too!)  Our children need real-life heroes and these books showcase several of them.  Each book features a biographical sketch about several amazing boys/men and how their faith influenced what they did.  They are not only interesting to read just for fun, they are wonderful to have on hand to go along with our homeschool studies.  The set includes:
    Ten Boys who Changed the World, Ten Boys who Made a Difference, Ten Boys who Made History, Ten Boys who Used Their Talents, and Ten Boys who Didn’t Give In 
  4. Chronicles of Narnia – (aimed at 8+) Do you own this classic series?  If not, I think it deserves a place on everyone’s bookshelf.  My parents owned a paperback set and we wore them out reading and re-reading them.  She ended up upgrading to a hardcover set.  While the kids won’t grasp the allegory without discussion, once they do the depth tucked into this delightful series will continue to grow and deepen the more they read them.
  5. Cooper Kid Adventures – (aimed at 10-18) Don’t be fooled by the word “kid” in the title.  This is an action packed series that is probably too intense for younger kids. I love how this reviewer summed them up:  “Combine the Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew with Indiana Jones, make them Christians in search of Biblical artifacts, and you’ll get the gist of these novels.”  The series follows Dr. Cooper a biblical archaeologist (and widower) and his two kids as they head out into the field.  They are full of action, adventure and showcase faith and a loving family in action.  My mom read these aloud to us as girls and we had many lively discussions about the Bible, archaeology, good vs. evil, and the spiritual realm.  I then went on to read them multiple times by myself. You can purchase them individually, buy the first four books in the series or you can buy all 8 at once.  Once you’ve read the first book to set the stage and establish the characters, each of the remaining books can really be read in any order.

This is post 30 in the series. To check out the rest series31 days of gift ideas that will spark and foster your children's love of learning and feed the imagination!

Related Posts:
10 Adventure Books to Build a Boy’s Faith
11+ Books that Inspire a Girl’s Faith

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