The Ultimate List of Experience Gifts for Kids in Toronto and Area instead of Giving Toys

Toys are fun for kids to open on birthdays and holidays, however I feel that experience gifts for kids are much better as they create lifelong memories. I love giving experience gifts and have for years to my spouse so last year with many things closed I found it super challenging to choose a non-experience gift. This year, I am excited to give the little ones in my life some experience gifts that will create memories they will never forget. From babies to teenagers, here are the best experience gifts for kids in the Greater Toronto Area..

Think back to your memories of holidays as a kid, do you remember the toys that your parents bought... not likely. However I definetly remember family day trips and family vacations as they memories are full of experiences that create long last family memories. The Exploring Family is known for exploring new destinations and events so it seems like a natural fit for us to focus on local activity gift ideas for kids. 

Keep reading to learn all about experience gifts, the benefits of experience gifts, and some local experience gift ideas. Research even shows that when kids are provided with less toys they engage in play for longer periods of time and show more focus and creativity.

Why Experiences are Better than Gifts:

Picking out the right toy can cause unnecessary stress during the holiday season as there are so many options in the marketplace. Instead of buying toys for the kids on your Christmas list, think about investing in unforgettable experience gifts. The Greater Toronto Area has several gift experience for kids, from indoor adventure to outdoor exploration, and it is easy to find a local experience for kids and create memorable experiences. Many companies also offer incentives or promotions around the holiday season making the experiences even cheaper than normal. Research shows that children often forget about tangible gifts within months but will remember experience days for alot longer. Toys can be exciting in the moment when kids are opening them but they are easily forgotten. 

  1. Less Cluter
  2. Family Fun and Experiences
  3. Creates a Stronger Relationship

What are Gift experiences for kids?

Experience Gifts are a gift certificate or a pass towards a future experience that allows kids to try a new activity, location or even restaurant. It can be hard for young kids to understand the gift without the immediate excitement of a tangible item so often you can pair the gift certificate with an item such as a new towel if giving a waterpark giftcard, or maybe a set of Wolf Ears if doing something like Great Wolf Lodge.

Benefits of Giving Experience Gifts for Kids (Non-Toy Gifts):

We were gifted a Season pass to the Toronto Zoo for my daughter's third birthday and it was the greatest kids experience gift as we created family memories and memories with friends on each of our 4 visits so far and we still have 6 months left on our membership, we even get a discount at affiliated zoos so plan to visit Miami Zoo on vacation in February. Here is a list of a few experiences for kids that can be daytrip ideas or simply provide kids with the chance to try something new or visit somewhere new.

  • Zoo tickets or Yearly Membership (Toronto Zoo)
  • Museum Passes or Membership (The Royal Ontario Museum)
  • Indoor Mini Golf (Putting Edge)
  • Outdoor Mini Golf 
  • Indoor Water Parks (Americana, Great Wolf Lodge, Fallsview)
  • Treetop Treeking (Treetop Trekking)
  • Outdoor Waterparks (Bingeman's, Wet n Wild, Wild Waterworks)
  • Bowling Passes (Brunswick Bowl, Classic Bowl, Champs)
  • Aquarium Passes (Ripley's Aquarium)
  • Petting Zoos and Local Farms (Downeys, Andrew Scenic Acres, Chudleighs)
  • Animal Encounters (Reptillia)
  • Bowling passes
  • Ice skating passes 
  • Swimming passes 
  • Indoor Trampoline Parks
  • Indoor Playgrounds
  • Amusement park passes
  • Water park passes
  • Indoor rock climbing passes (The Hub, 
  • Sporting event tickets
  • Event Tickets (Disney on Ice, Cirque Du Soleil, Medevil Times)
  • Escape room tickets
  • Movie theater gift cards (Cineplex)
  • Tickets to a local ski mountain (Horseshoe, Hockley Valley, Glen Eden, Blue Mountain)
  • Snow Tubing (Chicopee)
  • Children’s theater tickets or memberships (Mirvish, Ossington Theatre, Rose Theatre, Living Arts Centre, Milton Centre for the Preforming Arts)
  • Pottery painting studio visit (Crock-A-Doodle, 4 Cats)
  • Kids Spas or Pedicures (Happy Baby Spa - not just for babies)
  • Arcade (Playdium)
  • Go Karting
  • Conservation Area Seasons Pass (TRCA, Halton Parks)

Upcoming Events in Toronto:



Disney On Ice is back with a magical adventure for the whole family! Audiences will discover what it truly means to be a hero as Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and friends from around the Disney Kingdom come together to take families on a journey through timeless tales when Disney On Ice presents Find Your Hero skates into Toronto from February 3-5, 2023 at Scotiabank Arena

Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy set the stage for an adventure filled with tales of heroism from your favourite Disney stories in Disney On Ice presents Find Your Hero. See how far Moana will go when she embarks on an action-packed voyage with mighty demigod Maui in a quest to save her island, become a wayfinder, and find her own identity.  Journey alongside Anna and Elsa and the hilarious snowman, Olaf, on their quest to protect the kingdom.  Dive “Under The Sea” and test the power of true love with The Little Mermaid.  Get tangled with Rapunzel as she dares to explore the world outside her own.  And be there as Belle boldly tames the fearsome Beast.  Discover that courage, determination and heart are all part of the hero in you!

Disney On Ice presents Find Your Hero brings beloved characters to life through cutting edge figure-skating, eye-catching costumes and stunning set designs. Innovative lighting, thrilling special effects, high-flying jumps and breathtaking skating make Disney On Ice presents Find Your Hero an experience the whole family will treasure forever!


Paw Patrol - Heroes Unite - Adventure Bay Image Gallery

PAW Patrol Live! “Heroes Unite” - Nickelodeon and VStar Entertainment Group proudly present PAW Patrol Live! “Heroes Unite.” This brand-new production is an interactive live stage show, where members of the audience get to be heroes unleashed, helping the pups solve puzzles as honourary members of the pack, while they navigate the globe to make it back to Adventure Bay in the nick of time. Featuring stunning visual effects, captivating storytelling and a vibrant musical score that will have guests dancing in their seats and singing along, this staged extravaganza is jam-packed with action and fun for the whole family!

PAW Patrol Live! “Heroes Unite” is based on the top-rated animated preschool series PAW Patrol, airing on Nickelodeon and produced by Spin Master Entertainment. Tickets for all 6 Toronto performances are on sale and may be purchased at

Gift Cards for Teens:

Teens can be super challenging to purchase Christmas gifts for as they often prefer to buy their own clothing, and electonics. Gift Cards make a great option for tween and teens 

 Local Experience Gift Ideas for Kids that have Holiday Promotions:

Merry Christmas it's time to stretch that dollar a little further this holiday season! It’s Christmas Gift Card Deals Time of the Year. Lots of businesses provide extra gift card bonuses during the holiday season. If you are buying gift cards or gift certificates here are some bonuses you can look forward too! Christmas experience gifts are the perfect solution for every kid on your holiday gift list.

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Please Note: 

We do our best to ensure the information on The Exploring Family is accurate, however information and events are subject to change. 

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