Kids Love Gift Experiences

America, the toy epidemic has gotten out of control! Kids these days have more enough toys to share with the entire neighborhood, yet when birthdays come around, friends and family inevitably get them more. Because what else would they do? They love your kid and want to show them love through a gift. 

The good news? We can give kids amazing gifts, but that won’t take up any precious space in the house! Giving a birthday “experience” has been gaining traction these last few years and offers many ways to give a truly personalized gift to that cool little girl or boy in your life.

5 Favorite Birthday Gift Experience Ideas for Kids Around Grand Rapids

We’ve compiled a list of birthday gift experiences inspiration, and we hope it helps you find your next perfect birthday gift!

(Tasked with throwing the perfect kid-size birthday party? Our West Michigan Birthday Party Guide can help you find the perfect venue.)

1 – An Outing With You

Chances are, that special kid in your life would enjoy a day out with you. And the fun part? You can pick something that you would both enjoy together!

Try a family yoga session or a specially themed yoga workshop (like Superhero Night or Spa Night) with Renew Mama Studio.

Test your skills in the kitchen together with a class as Sur La Table.

Entertainment kids would dig a movie or concert tickets. (Check out T.A.C.O. Tuesdays at various Celebration Cinema locations.)

If your child likes glam, treat your kid (and youself) to manicures or pedicures together. Here are some of the best places that offer kid friendly spa services.

Love the theatre? CARE ballet is a great stage idea, as these shows are specially geared toward little kids. Musicals are great fun at The Civic Theatre.

Everyone loves bowling, and with bumpers, any age can get a strike! Hudsonville Lanes is a family-friendly place that my kids have begged to return to.


Fun at Hudsonville Lanes

Hudsonville Lanes is more than just your average bowling alley. Not only do they accommodate younger bowlers with bumpers and ramps, but they also offer cosmic bowling, an in-house ice cream shop, fundraisers, parties and school outings. Hudsonville Lanes also boasts a family-friendly atmosphere where no alcohol is served and the facility is 100% smoke-free.

5775 Balsam Dr, Hudsonville, MI 49426 | 616-669-9380

2 – Memberships to Museums and Attractions

A museum membership doesn’t take up a lot of space at home, but it sure does take a lot of energy out of that busy kid! Many local museums or attractions are either catered to kids or have kid-friendly aspects to them, and they offer different membership plans. If a family membership isn’t in your budget, simply getting them a one-day pass for them and their family would be fun.

The Grand Rapids Children’s Museum is a magnet for little kids, as well as the Children’s Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens. My kids loved the Grand Rapids Public Museum, where they could ride the carousel after walking around in the “Old World Grand Rapids” exhibit.

No matter their age, there always something fun to do at John Ball Zoo, whether exploring outdoor play areas, watching a favorite animal, or tackling their ropes course, it’s sure to be a hit. We always have to pack a lunch when we go to the zoo, because we are having fun all day!

I let my daughters loose with my phone camera at the Grand Rapids Art Museum and we had a lot of fun talking about the things they saw and what it reminded them of, and what kind of art THEY would like to make.


Explore at John Ball Zoo

John Ball has everything you’d expect in a zoo and more. Offering camel rides, a funicular, lions, tigers & bears, monkeys, and a petting zoo, there is something for everyone. A membership to the zoo is the gift that keeps on giving year round, or you can purchase single day passes for the birthday kid to enjoy.

3707 Northridge Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49544 | 616-336-4301


3 – Classes, Classes, Classes

Crafty kids in your life? Stitched Studio offers Kid’s classes for beginner sewers.

If your kid aspires to be the next Master Chef (Junior or otherwise even), check out cooking and baking classes, or even simmer camp at the Downtown Market.

Have an aspiring computer coder? Check out STEM-based courses offered through Sylvan Learning.

Swim Classes. This is what I gave my nieces for Christmas! I learned the name of their favorite swim facility and gave them money toward a class. Find ideas in our Favorite Swim Lessons Near Grand Rapids post.

Gymnastics (or Ninja Skills) is a healthy class that wears kids out. It’s easy, you don’t have to buy a lot of equipment or uniforms for it, and anyone can do it. Here’s our Guide to Gymnastics in the Grand Rapids area.

Your dramatic dancer, musican, or artist may benefit from one of the places in our Guide to Music, Theatre, and Dance Programs.


Play at R-Athletics

R Athletics is a gymnastics, cheer and tumbling center in Grand Rapids. They offer recreational and competitive gymnastics, as well as birthday parties and Date-Night Drop-Off. Other activities include a treehouse, Just My Size Trampolines, a climbing wall and more.

You’ll find events catering to little kids to teens.

2845 Thornhills Ave., Grand Rapids, MI 49546 | 616-957-4900

4 – Sports and Other Physical Activities

Kids who love to watch a good game would enjoy tickets to see the West Michigan Whitecaps in action. The Grand Rapids Griffins and Grand Rapids Drive are also great adventures. Be sure to give them vouchers for snacks, too!

Would your kid rather be part of the actionSign them up for their favorite sport!

A great one-time “athletic” idea is a trampoline park.

Would you AND your kid rather be part of the action? Sign up for laser tag at Battle GR, a new laser tag facility that offers a strategic battles to challenge every skill level.


Excitement at BattleGR

BattleGR is a great birthday outing for an exciting, action-packed afternoon or evening. The only tactical laser-tag facility in west Michigan, BattleGR is sure to give your birthday kid all sorts of thrills and chills.

4735 Lake Michigan Dr NW, Grand Rapids, MI 49534 | 616-345-0698

5 – Summer or Day Camp

This is a gift that will have mom and dad thanking you, too. (Or if you’re mom and dad, here’s your top gift idea!) Camps are great ways for kids to explore their interests without making a big commitment. Many of the places already mentioned offer day camps and if you want to learn more about other upcoming summer camp programs, you won’t want to miss the Summer Camp Fair at the KROC center.

Our Summer Camps Guide lists dozens of camps around West Michigan.

(Tip: check with mom or dad first before booking a camp.)


Tell us, what gift experiences have you given to a kid that were a big hit?

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Birthday Gift Experiences for Kids

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By | 2018-02-05T21:39:54+00:00 February 5th, 2018|Categories: Elementary, Guides, Middle School, Preschool|1 Comment

About the Author:

April H
April is a stay-at-home-working-mom hybrid who balances her time between managing a household and using her editor brain to find all the typos in her friends’ emails. In her occasional free time she enjoys reading, quilting, antiquing and photography. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and three children.

One Comment

  1. Deb Landman March 9, 2017 at 11:29 am - Reply

    13 years ago I gave Learn to Skate ice skating lessons to my daughter, now she’s working to be a professional skater. PATTERSON Ice has lessons

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