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Think Outside the (Gift) Box: Unique Holiday Experiences for Kids

The holiday season has arrived, and chances are, your kids already have a long list of gift ideas. And who can blame them? Gifts rock! At the same time, this year’s persistent inflation is likely adding even more stress to your annual gift anxiety. Like most parents, you want to make your children’s holiday as special as it can be, but when budgets are tight, the need to measure up can feel overwhelming.

Don’t despair! We have a fun, customizable, and easy-to-implement solution— nontraditional, experiential gifts. All it takes is a keen knowledge of your child’s likes and dislikes, a bit of creativity, and a willingness to think outside the proverbial gift box.

Gifting an experience might even inspire you to step back, take a breath, and be intentional about enjoying a simpler, more genuine, and less pricey holiday. The exciting part is that experiences can cost less and have a greater impact on kids because they’re steeped in special meaning. Current research shows that a growing number of young people value experiences over material things. In addition, they can be designed to entertain, educate, and make lasting memories.

Here are some ideas for the Littles, Middles, and Teens in your life:


  • Slime Fest. Set aside an entire afternoon to create all kinds of slimy fun. With careful planning and proven recipes, your little one can explore all kinds of colors, textures, and scents!
  • Vouchers for a Yes Day. Craft homemade coupons for everything from dinner with dessert first and staying up past bedtime to more elaborate activities like thrift store scavenger hunts and backyard movie nights. Set a budget, lay down some common-sense ground rules—nothing that will land anyone in the ER—and you’re good to go!
  • Bowling Alley Adventure. Bowling is a great way to introduce young children to friendly competition—especially when bumpers and kid-sized balls are available. And remember—winner buys ice cream!


  • Backyard Obstacle Course. Using everything from pool noodles and hockey sticks to empty boxes and ladders, build a creative, challenging course that amazes (and exhausts) your youngster.
  • Day of Baking. Set a budget, choose your recipes, and take your middle schooler shopping for ingredients before turning your kitchen into a bona fide Food Channel set. When you’re done, share the goodies with friends and family.
  • Zoo Membership. Answer the call of the wild and gift your tween a handful of single-day visits or go big on a year-long pass. Some memberships even include discounts and behind-the-scenes perks.


  • Live Music. Give your teen concert tickets to one of their favorite artists, and don’t forget to throw in a little extra for some merch! 
  • Ropes Course or Zip-Lining. Build confidence and a sense of adventure with aerial activities found at many outdoor centers, zoos and even some local and state parks. Make sure the place requires helmets and harnesses, and don’t forget to take photos!
  • Gym Membership. Young people are more health conscious today than ever before, and regular access to a gym can help build lifelong healthy habits. Here’s a helpful guide for choosing the best membership for your teen.

As you’re finalizing your gift list, don’t be afraid to envision your child’s educational future and start laying the groundwork with a Florida Prepaid College Plan or Florida 529 Savings Plan. These flexible plans can serve your student at one of Florida’s 12 public universities and 28 state colleges or even at an institution out of state. You can open an account in only 15 minutes. Beats standing in a long checkout line on Black Friday, right?!

And the experiences you build today with your child will be even more treasured after they leave the nest and start their college journey as young adults.

Have questions? We’ve got answers! Explore our Frequently Asked Questions to learn more about our Prepaid Plans and Savings Plan. And click here to start your savings now!

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