When I read this post about giving experiences instead of toys, I knew it was something I wanted to adopt for my family. I already try to limit the number of gifts we give the kids at Christmas (by following the 4 gift rule) but this takes it to another level.
This family gives their children one toy but the rest are gifts of experience. The idea is that experiences make us more happy than things. Experiences become part of who we are. I especially love the tip about getting family on board by gifting experiences to them as well!
It got me thinking... what would make good experience gifts in Ottawa? Why not create a list in case other people are tired of the piles of toys (not that we aren't all grateful that so many people love our kids!) This is a list of things for kids, but a lot would be great for adults too (I'm looking at you, Skyzone and Funhaven!)
Please let me know in the comments if you can think of anything to add. Here we go!
Memberships or passes to the city's museums are such a great idea!
Museum of Nature
National Gallery of Canada
History Museum, Children's Museum and the War Museum
Science and Technology, Aviation, Agriculture
Little Ray's Reptiles
Valleyview Little Animal Farm
Not all kids can sit through painting a mug or want to learn to sew, but lots do!
Color Me Mine (Nepean and Trainyards)
Gotta Paint (Kirkwood Ave.)
The Mud Oven (Bank Street)
The Pottery Play House (Stittsville)
Pop Up Painters
Fabrications (Sewing classes for kids)
Stained Glass Stuff
City of OttawaI would go to the facility you're interested in and ask there.
National Arts Centre (NAC) - they have both packages and gift cards
Centerpointe Theater (Nepean) and Shenkman Arts Center (Orleans)
Gymboree Play & Music (Orleans)
Monkey Rock Music
Most gyms have drop ins especially for young kids.
Precision Gymnastics (Barrhaven)
Corona Gym (Nepean)
Ottawa Gymnastics Centre
Tumblers Gymnastics Center (Orleans)
Monkey Around (Bank Street south)
Kids Kingdom (Kanata and Orleans)
Altitude Climbing Gym (Gatineau)
Midway Fun Park
Xtreme Trampoline Park (Kanata)
Kids Fitness League
Tubes and Jujubes (Gatineau)
Little Lotus Yoga Classes
Disney On Ice
Putting Edge (indoor mini putt, Nepean)
Pirate Adventures (Mooney's Bay)
Alight at Night (Upper Canada Village)
West Park Lanes
McArthur Lanes (Vanier)
Top Karting (Gatineau)
Amigo Karting (Gatineau, 8+)
These races all have a family run or short distance, except the Mud Hero which would be for older kids. Run or walk with your kids and in a lot of cases, raise money or awareness for a cause at the same time. Great for combining activity and charity.
TriKids Race Series (Triathlons)
Ottawa Race Weekend (May)
Army Run (September)
South Ottawa Race Day (October)
Rattle Me Bones (October, CHEO)
Canada Day Run (July, Kanata)
Manotick Miler (May, Manotick)
The Color Run
Mud Hero (June, Navan)
- movie passes
- ski/snowboard passes
- gift card to a restaurant
- dance lessons
- drawing class
Maybe you're looking for a day- or weekend trip. Toronto, Montreal, Montebello and Brockville aren't too far and have some pretty fun stuff!
Ripley's Aquarium (Toronto)
Parc Omega (Montebello, Quebec)
La Ronde (Quebec)
Montreal Science Center
Spending time together at Christmas is what's important. Here are some ideas for activities you can do with your kids.
Write and mail letters to Santa
Sing Christmas carols
Make a gingerbread house
Make Christmas Rice Crispie squares
Make dipped marshmallows using red and green sprinkles
Watch Christmas movies/shows
Make ornaments (Ninja Turtles, salt dough ornaments)
Christmas crafts (check Pinterest for ideas)
Santa Claus parade (complete list of parades around Ottawa here)
Visit Santa at the mall
Pick a gift to donate
Put up the tree and decorate
Put on red, green and silver nail polish
Let me know in the comments of any other ideas and I'll add them to this post!