Giving Experiences

I’ve heard this term being thrown around parenting circles: “giving experiences” instead of gifts. Meaning, instead of giving toys, parents want to give (and receive) “experiences” to their children — instead of a book about animals, a day pass to the zoo, instead of a ballerina doll, ballet classes or tickets to a local ballet.

In the spirit of full disclosure, I think “giving experiences” is a lame-o, haughty term. However, I completely love the idea.

A few weeks before Christmas I was having a harder time than usual with the kids. All the disobeying and fighting and disciplining culminated in a room-wide evacuation of toys. As I was loading up boxes and boxes of toys and books out of the play room and looking for high places to store them, it occurred to me how soon Christmas is coming. And I shuttered.

Our friends and family are so generous and thoughtful in the gifts they choose for our kids. Most of the kids’ favorite books and toys have been Christmas and birthday gifts. We would not have been able to give our kids the amount or quality of toys and activities they’ve received as gifts. We are always thankful to our families who are so generous toward our kids.

This year, however, we are overrun with toys! We have a steady stream of hand-me-downs from Evangeline, to Felicity to Reuben, plus new things they’ve each gotten over the year. It’s so much! Plus we still have gifts in the closet waiting for a rainy day.

The Great Boxing Day Toy-Purge (not even all the toys...we found more later)
The Great Boxing Day Toy-Purge (not even all the toys…we found more later)

We asked for more “experience” gifts for Christmas. The kids got a picnic table for outside, a family subscription to the local Arts and Science museum and Evangeline got a three month subscription to Kiwi Crates. Each month for three months, she’ll get a box in the mail with 2-3 different crafts or experiments and all materials needed related to a central theme.

We got her first crate (themed Antarctic Adventure) and sat down this morning to do one of the crafts. She learned about the Southern Lights — in that penguins come out of their house at night and look at the pretty sky; the sky is full of colors, but it isn’t loud like fireworks. She then used pastel crayons and watercolor paints to color her own Southern Light scenes.

Evangeline's of these may have been done by mom...
Evangeline’s artwork…one of these may have been done by mom…
Evangeline painting the Southern Lights
Evangeline painting the Southern Lights

Later, we  decorated penguin cutouts to use for Penguin Bowling and once the penguin ice cubes finish freezing, we have some neat science experiments to do with ice! It’s such a neat idea and even though Evangeline is at the lower end of the age recommendations, she’s already having so much fun with it.

Penguin Bowling
Penguin Bowling

In a few weeks we’ll receive a new box, which I am told is themed Polar Expedition!

(I am also told, that they have a $10 credit offer for anyone who would like to buy a subscription through my referral link. If you’re interested in the Kiwi Crate, you can follow this link or contact me personally.

The “experiences” we were given this year are going to go a long way in making this year more fun! When Ryan has a day off from work and school, we can go as a family to the museum. On rainy days when we’re all going stir crazy, we can open the Kiwi Crate and do the next craft. And when the sun is bright and I need some peace and quiet, the kids can spend all day outside playing, and even have their lunch served under an umbrella at their very own picnic table.  Thank you to all of our family who gave us gifts to last the whole year round!