Toy and Experience Gift Ideas for Kids

Let’s start by saying I’m not a real minimalist and I’m definitely not a maximalist. I’m somewhere in the middle and that’s a thing I like to think of as balance. So when it comes to gifts of any sort, I want my kids to feel loved and special, not overwhelmed or entitled. Isn’t that what we all want?

I’ve been a parent for more than 10 years and in my experience, a ton of toys get played with for a short time and then ditched. Only a few stand the test of time, which is part of the reason we like to give our kids experiences whenever possible, including Birthday and Christmas Gifts.

I hope that we’ve found a happy medium where the kids still get something to play with, but also that we savor the time we have together celebrating what really matters. At Christmas we celebrate Jesus and on birthdays we celebrate the child.

This list includes the Christmas gifts my kids will get from family members, as well as us. You might think it’s a short list, we are giving them an experience this year and suggested toys, books, and games to family members.

Let’s go in age order. Our kids are 10, 8, 6 & 3

gift ideas for 10 year old boy
10 year old


This is the oldest. He’s 10. He loves reading, math, computer programming, tennis and ping pong (it’s a thing at our house). Here are some of his absolute favorite gifts within the last year:

  1. Adventures in Odyssey Books (he has everyone and eagerly awaits each new release)
  2. Technic or Batman Legos
  3. Drone
  4. Lego Mindstorms (he saved his birthday money for 2 years to purchase)
  5. Tickets to Six Flags
  6. Tickets to Kid’s Science Museum

Here’s what he is getting for Christmas:

  1. New pool stick for our game table
  2. Sleeping Queens card game
  3. Ninjago Lego set
  4. The Wreck & Rise of Whitson Manner (book)
  5. Adventures in Odyssey membership (he loves listening to these stories in the car, as he does dishes and all over. This membership gives him access to every episode, plus extras, and a magazine for just $10 a month.)
  6. Gift card to local Ninja Gym and Rocking Climbing
gift ideas for 8 year old boy
8 year-old boy

Gift Ideas for 8-year-old Boy

Next up is our sweet guy who just turned 8. He has been a Lego master since age 2! As much as he loves Legos, he now also loves origami and crafts. Music is in his bones; he just feels it. Some of his favorite gifts from the last year:

  1. Legos – technic sets are now his go-to, especially pull back cars/trucks and anything with a motor or remote control
  2. Magnatiles – buy the real ones, worth every penny
  3. Origami Paper
  4. Hot wheels tracks
  5. Trip to Chicago to visit The Lego Store & The Bean

What he’s getting for Christmas:

  1. New pool stick to go with our game table (originals broke)
  2. Lego Bash!
  3. Kiwi Crate (Tinker box)
  4. Hot Wheels Carrying Case Slot Track
  5. Waterproof Origami Paper & book
  6. Gift card to local Ninja Gym & Rocking Climbing
gift ideas for six year old girl
Six-year-old girl

Gift Ideas for Six-Year-Old Girl

This is our spunky six-year-old. She likes music, dancing, horses, and being active. She doesn’t play with a lot of toys unless someone else is playing too. She recently discovered Playmobil at a friend’s house & that’s all she wants for Christmas! Here are her favorite gifts in the past year:

  1. Tea party at American Girl Place
  2. New bike
  3. Sequined jacket (exact one no longer available)
  4. Washer/dryer for dolls
  5. Date with Dad to see local play

This is what she’s getting for Christmas:

  1. Playmobil Hospital
  2. Playmobil Family Picnic
  3. Playmobil Horse Stable
  4. The Amazing Idea of You (book)
  5. Frozen Lego set
  6. Gift card to local Rock Climbing and Activity Gym
gift ideas for 3 year old girl
Three-year-old girl

Gift ideas for a Three-Year-Old Girl

This is our baby girl. She recently turned 3. She’s witty, sweet and knows what she wants. She loves her babies, horses, singing and tagging along with the big kids. Here are some of her favorite gifts within the last year:

  1. Wellie Wisher Doll
  2. Calico Critters
  3. Doll washer/dryer (it was a shared gift for both girls)
  4. Tea Party at American Girl Place
  5. Membership to local Children’s Museum

This is what she’s getting for Christmas:

  1. Playmobil Lucky & Spirit
  2. Playmobil Horse stall
  3. Pink unicorn keychain (this is her very specific request)
  4. The Water Princess (book)
  5. Doll bathtub and stroller (purchased used)
  6. Gift card to local activity gym


We are big fans of getting family or group gifts for the kids. Higher quality items last longer and typically get the most use. Here are the group gifts we have loved, are on the wishlist and that we are giving this year:

  1. Game Table
  2. Nugget Comfort
  3. Swedish ladder


  1. Florida (we got plane tickets for $105 round trip, rented an Air BnB and spent $1600 total on the entire trip)
  2. Minneapolis (a five-hour drive for us and the kids loved the Mall of America with all of the rides & things to see)
  3. Chicago
  4. Wisconsin Dells (waterpark capital of USA)


We always try a new game for Christmas break. Here are some of our favorites, plus a few that we are going to get:

  1. Qwirkle (best family game ever for strategy lovers)
  2. Zingo (great for young kids 2+)
  3. Qwixx
  4. Spot it (we have multiples versions)
  5. Sleeping Queens
  6. Dizios
  7. Memory (all of our kids have loved this game)

That’s it! A gift guide for kids that includes toys and experiences is just what we love! We will put little things in their stockings like mystery Lego mini-figures, a couple sweet treats, playing cards and socks.

experience toy gift ideas for kids

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