Gifting Local Experiences! SKC’s 2021 Guide to 21 fun + doable Gifts for Kids!

Again this year, we’ve included many experience gifts to our holiday list. It allows our family to decide when to use the gift, and also reduces clutter in the house. While it’s probably not always practical to give 100% of your gifts in the form of experiences, even switching a few over will help spread the holiday cheer throughout the year while adding something fun to look forward to as a family. In addition, do we even need to mention how imperative it is to support local area businesses? These nearby family owned gems help us make the lifetime of memories so it’s a huge win for everyone! Here are some ideas from SKC’s 2021 experience gift list:

  1. Kids love the promise of ice cream. Gift a card to a favorite local ice cream shop. A few of our favs in Portsmouth are Red Rover Creamery for an artisanal treat and Izzy’s for frozen yogurt. We love going to Stillwells when we’re close to any of their locations in the area and don’t forget Lago’s in Rye, NH. Lickees & Chewy’s in Dover is a real experience when it comes to a unique and custom ice cream experience plus there’s so many additional treats to choose from!
  2. Admission pass or better yet a year’s membership to the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire. Seacoast Science Center offers day passes and memberships as well and it’s fun to visit here anytime throughout the year. Looking for more indoor museums to explore? Check out our full list here!
  3. Bowling fun for everyone! If you are looking for candlepin Exeter Bowling Lanes is your place! Bowl-O-Rama is a great family friendly establishment and Pinz in Portsmouth offers bowling and ax throwing for kids 16+.
  4. State or National Park passes. State Park passes include parking for many area lakes.
  5. Have a child that loves to bake and decorate? Wrap up some sprinkles (we found unicorn sprinkles), some mixes, a fun spatula and/or bowl. Sweetened Memories in Durham and Cherry Bomb Cookie Co in Exeter offer cookie decorating kits. Also check out Wicked Mini Cafe and ask them about donut decorating!
  6. A subscription box – pick your kid’s passion and gift it in a monthly box! There are so many to choose from these days!
  7. Magic Lessons! Virtual options available with Sages Entertainment. They offer hands on experiences with balloon sculpting, virtual magic shows, various STEAM topics, and the art of magic…Ta-Da!
  8. Promises of the beach. It may not seem like it now, but beach weather will be here before we know it! A pail, a shovel, a new bathing suit and a promise of a day at your favorite beach when the weather warms up. If you’re feeling like an adventurous day out over the seacoast waters check out Hampton Beach Parasail and book a paddleboard or parasailing experience!
  9. Gymnastics classes – complete with a new leotard. Atlantic Gymnastics is a trusted gym to start with introductory gymnastics classes. We also hear great things about Tri-Star in Dover. Junior Gym is a wonderful space for safe gym play, classes and drop off open gyms for the younger children. flippityflop offers lots of gymnastic classes for the littles as well as open gyms.
  10. Dance classes – with a gifted tutu or new ballet slippers. Find a studio near you with a variety in dance class offerings to choose from. Most have classes for ages toddler – adult! Dance Innovations Dance Center in Greenland. Musical Arts in Exeter and BKS Dance and Aerial in No. Hampton.
  11. Seeds and seed boxes to get them started on their own little garden. Our preschooler loves this yearly gift!
  12. A gift card for mini golf – Captain’s Cove is one of our favorite seacoast spots! Or a par three golf course depending on the kids’ age and skill.
  13. Have an animal lover on your hands? Grab a gift certificate to Wildlife Encounters Ecology Center & Farm School and use it towards visiting with the animals at an event, do a private tour at one of their locations, or a birthday party.  You could also consider a donation by letting the child choose! Donations to National Wild Life Federation have symbolic animal adoptions with a stuffed animal as a thank you gift.
  14. Indoor plays! Perfect for this time of year or on those really uncomfortably hot days in the summer. The seacoast is lucky to have the all new Off the Wall Kidz in North Hampton! Itszy Bitsy Zone in Salisbury has a wonderful indoor playground for the littles and they offer music classes too!
  15. Art + Crafting! Have you heard about the new Seacoast Artspot studio in Portsmouth? Our very creative 8yo loves what they offer for all kinds of craft classes. If it’s pottery and pottery painting you are looking for be sure to head over to Firefly Pottery in Portsmouth.
  16. A musical instrument & the gift of lessons. Portsmouth Music and Arts Center (PMAC) offers a wide variety of music and art classes! Musical Arts in Exeter isn’t just for dance they offer instrument instruction too! For the younger kid crowd check out the music classes at Music Together of Newburyport and Music Together of Portsmouth.
  17. Plan a camping trip and gift the supplies needed for the trip – a new tent, lantern or camping chair are always big hits in our house. Local campgrounds here.
  18. Kids love being able to experience shopping and budgeting for themselves. Consider a gift card to a favorite local toy or book store like Whirligigs, Water St. Book Store in Exeter or G. Willikers Books & Toy Shop Portsmouth. Make a day out of it enjoying walking throughout the downtown areas. See our full list of nearby children’s shops & bookstores here!
  19. Outdoor winter skating fun at Strawbery BankLabrie Family Skate.
  20. Summer will be here before you know it. Why not give a new camp experience? Check out SKC’s recommendations for all ages and interests: Portsmouth Music Art Center (PMAC), Seacoast Science Center, BKS Dance and Aerial, Pine Street Players, Gundalow Co., Camp Invention, Strawbery Banke, Seacoast United, Rochester Opera House (RPAC), LetgoYourMind, American Yacht Club Newburyport, The Rim Sports, Ogunquit Playhouse, Acton Seacoast Academy, Seacoast Hoops Labs, Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains and more!
    Stay tuned for our 2022 Summer Camp Guide coming soon!
  21. Monkey Mind Escape Rooms makes for a really fun experience gift for the tweens and teens in your life! Let them enjoy this unique adventurous experience with friends or join them as a family. Monkey Mind is also really fun for Birthday parties. Check out more Birthday party ideas here!

SKC has so many more ideas for experience gifts. Just poke around our site and check out the daily calendar for more inspiration.

What experiences do you like to gift?

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