This article appears in our December 2015 issue of Indy’s Child Parenting Magazine. Flip through it here or pick up a copy today at your local Marsh or Kroger store, YMCA, public library or community center.
How many kids actually remember the “must have” toy they got last year? Think outside the proverbial (gift) box this holiday season and place a more memorable present underneath the tree. Try giving the gift of an experience, lessons to learn something new or a memorable activity to share. Here are nine ideas that will have the children on your shopping list appreciating your special gift all year long.
Swimming doesn’t have to be synonymous with summer. Make splish-splashing a winter activity by purchasing swim lessons at the IUPUI Natatorium this season. Classes are offered for infants and toddlers, preschoolers and children ages 5 years and older. A great gift for novice swimmers, lessons are designed to teach skills for independent swimming, underwater safety, floating and introductory freestyle strokes. Older children will work on more competitive strokes too. Find a class.
Climb on! Rock climbing passes make for an epic holiday present at EVO Rock and Fitness Climbing Gym. Kids will love the Youth Climbing Club, a program that helps to advance climbing skills in a non-competitive setting. Introductory classes are also great for those hoping to learn the ropes! Find the right program.
Open the door to the world of art appreciation and gift a membership to the spectacular Indianapolis Museum of Art. World-renowned collections and exhibits, as well as special classes for kids and families, truly make IMA a magical experience. Become a member and enjoy perks that include free general admission, access to educational programs and discounts in the Museum store. Art awaits here.
Play as a family this winter and purchase classes to Gymboree Play & Music. These sessions, which include Family Music, School Skills and Gymboree Play & Learn, provide an active learning environment that inspires imaginative play. Classes are designed with young learners in mind, helping them develop their physical, cognitive and social skills too. Become a member and visit.
Unwrap adventure this holiday season with a family membership to the Indianapolis Zoo. Check out the wild exhibits and walk the stunning White River Gardens. Open year-round, a membership to the zoo provides endless hours of wild fun with benefits that include free admission and parking during regular hours, as well as use of the exclusive members-only entry gate. Register online.
For the passionate thespian, tickets to a theatre production are the ultimate, uber-exciting stocking stuffer. The Indiana Repertory Theatre offers a variety of fantastic productions for their 2015-2016 season. Kids hoping to jump behind the curtain will love the acting classes offered at IRT too. Reserve tickets or register for a class.
For the mini explorer, a membership pass to The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is just the place to learn and play! With so many exhibits to discover, from Dinosphere to the Playscape, Science Works and more, kids will love uncovering the multitude of interactive dimensions and hands-on activities. A membership to the museum includes free admission for a full year, unlimited carousel rides and members-only hours. Learn more.
Nothing builds excitement more than the planning of a mini-vacation. And Conner Prairie, Indiana’s only Smithsonian affiliate, is the perfect travel gift to bestow on the family this holiday season. Explore all the areas of this historical site, including the 1836 Prairietown, the 1863 Civil War Journey, the Nature Walk, Craft Corner and more. Spend the day re-living history, while also dabbling in great food, shopping and interactive fun. Open year-round, visit here to find out more.
Drop a beat this holiday season and make music a yearlong treat with lessons at the Meridian Music School. From piano to banjo, electric guitar and more, Meridian offers instruction for most musical instruments. Both private and group lessons are available for children starting at 18 months and older. Hit a high note and register today.
Skip the crowded shopping centers and sweat-inducing cyber sales to wrap up a different kind of gift this year. Live in the present this holiday season (no pun intended) and give a memory that will last all year. Happy Holidays!
Lauren Lawson is a freelance writer passionate about all things parent-related. A transplant from Buffalo, New York, she now happily resides in the Cincinnati area with her husband and two young boys.
Watch for more of Lauren’s work in upcoming issues of Indy’s Child Parenting, Cincinnati Parent and Dayton Parent Magazines.