Here are a few ways to replace material gifts with experiences, some shared as a family and some for your child on their own.
Take a trip to a place you’ve never been. Whether it’s close to home or further afield, just having a new experience together in a new place will create wonderful memories.
Being in a large theatre or stadium is an exciting experience for most children, especially if they have never seen a live production before. Seeing a live show such as Disney on Ice, a favourite television character performing live or an acrobatic show will be something they’ll talk about long after the show ends.
Visit one of the many child-friendly museums and animal parks close to home – top picks include the Queensland Museum, Sciencentre, Sir Thomas Brisbane Planetarium, Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA), The Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich Art Gallery, Australia Zoo, UnderwaterWorld SEA LIFE Mooloolaba, Queensland Maritime Museum and Queensland Police Museum.
Board a boat for a whale watching cruise or a day trip to feed dolphins at Moreton Island. For more ideas, check out our top animal experiences.
Try a new activity as a family by signing up for canoeing or rock-climbing lessons – the key here is to choose something that all family members are able to participate in and are keen to learn.
For a quieter alternative, attend an arts class together. Many local art supply stores offer classes such as sewing, scrapbooking or learn to draw. Or attend a mummy and me dance class!
Head off at dawn and experience the wonder of a hot air balloon ride over the beautiful Scenic Rim south of Brisbane. Top the experience off with a tasty cooked breakfast at a child-friendly venue.
Most animal and nature parks offer a special children’s program where you can go behind the scenes with a real life keeper or trainer to see the work they do as well as meet the animals up close. Australia Zoo, Queensland Zoo, Underwater World, Seaworld, Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, David Fleay Wildlife Park and Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary all offer fantastic children’s experiences ranging from a couple of hours to a full day. Most programs have an age requirement and often book up in advance so remember to secure your spot early if you would like your child to have their experience on a certain date.
Do you have a master chef in the making? Find a cooking school that specialises in classes for children to help them gain confidence in the kitchen and learn a recipe or two. At Cutie Pies Baking School in Greenbank, Brisbane, children aged 2–10 years can learn how to make mini apple pies, mini quiches, cupcakes and much more.
Horse mad children will be beside themselves with excitement when gifted with some horse riding lessons. If they are not in love with horses, consider guitar, surfing or skateboarding lessons – whatever activity your child has been pestering to learn!