There's one type of gift that can't be lost, broken or forgotten. In fact, it will probably be remembered and cherished for much longer than the latest plastic toy.
It's the gift of a fun experience.
Gifts like music lessons or parent-kid dates create treasured memories and skills that children will hang onto forever. Museum memberships or subscription boxes give them something to look forward to all year.
And as a bonus, there's no added bedroom clutter or risk of toy-inflicted pain. If you've ever stepped on a LEGO, you know what we mean.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. One-on-one outings
What's better than one-on-one time with mom or dad? Not much in our book. Plan a day doing something fun together. Here are some ideas:
Round 1 Entertainment
Spend the day playing arcade games, bowling, singing karaoke and eating at the new Round 1 Entertainment center at Park Place, prices vary based on the different activities you choose. Learn more here.
Wander the Old West
Make a date to go to Trail Dust Town, 6541 E. Tanque Verde Road. Eat dinner at Pinnacle Peak (wear a tie to make it extra fun), watch a stunt show, get old fashioned pictures taken together and ride the train through the town.
Broadway Princess Holiday Party (Sponsored)
Brush off your tiara and unleash your inner princess with Broadway's original Anastasia, Belle, and Jasmine as they celebrate the season in this hit concert, direct from NYC! Hosting the show are: Christy Altomare, Anastasia in Broadway's Anastasia; Courtney Reed, Jasmine in Broadway’s Aladdin; Susan Egan, Belle in Broadway’s Beauty And The Beast alongside their Fairy Godfairy (musical director extraordinaire), Benjamin Rauhala (Broadway's Fiddler on the Roof) and special guest prince Adam J. Levy (Waitress).
Your every dream will come true as they sing the petticoats off every princess and holiday song in the book, sharing hilarious and heartfelt stories of their royal antics backstage, on stage, and beyond. Dress in your best royal attire and you may even win a prize.
When: Sunday, Dec. 15, 3 p.m.
Where: Centennial Hall, 1020 E. University Blvd.
Cost: Tickets start at $29
Find more info here.
Play miniature golf or go on bumper boats
Golf N' Stuff, located at 6503 E. Tanque Verde Road, has two beautiful courses to play some putt putt. There's also an arcade, bumper boats, laser tags, go-karts and batting cages.
Golf is $10.25 per person. Go here for more details.
Creative Juice, 6530 E. Tanque Verde Road, will walk you through painting your own masterpiece. The studio offers family-friendly classes on Saturdays for $25 per person. The next few weekends feature holiday-themed paintings.
Each session is two hours and the cost includes supplies and instruction.
Go here for information and a class schedule.
Does your child love the zoo or the children's museum? Maybe she's into science or art. Tucson has a handful of great places where you can buy a membership that would make a great gift. Here are three ideas to get you started.
Get $20 off a Children's Museum Family Fun Membership (Sponsored)
Not only do members get free admission every day, they also enjoy other great benefits, including: members-only hours and events at your member museum; four one-time-use guest passes good for both locations; 20% off birthday parties; 10% off facility rentals; monthly email newsletter; and members-only guest admission discount, available when member is present
An $80 family membership gives unlimited entry to the zoo for two named adults and up to four children under the age of 18 for a year.
Go here for info.
A family membership can be purchased for $105 and includes unlimited entry into the Science Center exhibit halls and Mineral Museum during regular hours, 6 free planetarium/laser shows, and discounted admission ($3) to additional planetarium/laser shows for two adults and up to four children ages 17 and under. Plus. your membership gives you free or discounted admission to 250 science and technology centers across the world.
Go here for more details.
3. Subscription box
Getting something fun in the mail is such a treat for kids. There's a Tucson-based monthly subscription box called Girls Can! Crate that inspires girls to do and be anything by introducing them to amazing historic women. It comes with an activity book with a real woman's story, plus games, experiments and more, creative play props and STEAM activities (with supplies) that relate to the featured woman's life.
Monthly subscriptions start at $27.95 for the Original Crate, but there's also a smaller version called a Mini-Mailer for $18.50 per month. The ordering window is from the 15th of one month to the 15th of the next. Find info here.
Kiwi Crate is perfect for kids ages 2-16 who like to make stuff. They even have a discovery crate for babies and a design and engineering crate for teens 16 and over.
Every month they'll receive all the supplies and instructions to finish STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) activities based on a theme. Plus, they send a magazine for early readers. The cost varies depending on the crate you choose and the length of time you subscribe. Go here for more info.
4. Adopt a cat or dog
If your child is old enough for some responsibility and your family is ready, adopt a furry friend. There are so many pets that need families that you'd not only be giving your child the best gift ever, you'd be doing a good deed.
Here are three places to do that:
5. Sign up for classes
Has your son always wanted to learn how to paint? Or maybe your daughter wants to play guitar. Sign them up for classes. They'll be excited to try the thing they've always wanted and their confidence will soar as they perfect their craft.
Tucson Village Farm, 4210 N. Campbell Ave., offers a hands-on learning program called Lil' Sprouts for kids ages 2-5 and their accompanying adult. Programming consists of investigation, discovery, exploration and fun. Classes meet once a week for four weeks. You can purchase a four-week session as a gift for $40. Keep an eye on the TVF website for details about upcoming sessions.
Tucson Parks and Recreation offers a variety of classes in arts, sports and fitness, cooking, music and more all around town. And they're reasonably priced, making it a great way to test the waters in new subjects.
Go here for details.
Schoolhouse of Rock offers kids' music lessons on a variety of instruments. Weekly lessons start at $120 per month.
Go here for details
Flor de Liz Dance offers ballet classes to kids starting at age 4. Tuition is $162 for an 18 week session. Classes are once a week.
Go here for details about their spring 2020 classes.
Skate Country has skating lessons! Classes will be for six weekends and start on Jan. 4, 2020. The price includes a half hour lesson, plus admission into the 10 a.m. skate session each Saturday. The cost is $65. Go here for details.
6. Sign up for team sports
If your son or daughter has been itching to make new friends and learn a sport, sign them up for soccer, baseball, cheerleading or any other team sports they'd be interested in.
Monsoon All Star Cheer at Old Pueblo Gymnastics Academy is a competitive team sport for children ages 4-18. There are full-year competitive teams as well as half-year prep teams. Go here to learn more about it.
7. Update their look
You know how you feel when you get a new do? Kids feel that way, too. If they've been wanting to try a new style or color or maybe even get their ears pierced, get it done as a gift. They'll love being pampered.
DIY - Pick up some color for less than $10 at the nearest Sally Beauty supply and color it yourself. Employees at Sally's are great at helping you out and giving suggestions. Click here for a map of locations.
Claire's, located at Tucson, Park Place and Foothills Malls offers free ear piercing with the purchase of a starter kit that includes your first pair of earrings and a bottle of solution. Go here for info.
For ear piercings with a needle instead of a piercing gun, check out Straight to the Point, which offers ear piercings for kids starting around age 4.
8. Event tickets
So many Tucson venues offer concerts, performances, sports games and films that are family-friendly. Event tickets would make a great gift and give the kids memories to last a lifetime.
The Daniel Tiger Live! stage show is coming to the Tucson Convention Center on Feb. 26 go here for more info. And, check out the Tucson Convention Center website for all upcoming family-friendly events here.
The University of Arizona also offers family packs of tickets to most sporting events that includes admission to the games or matches, plus concession items. See ticket info and a schedule of events here.
9. Magazine subscription
Kazoo is a quarterly magazine for girls ages 5-12 that was created to celebrate girls for being strong, smart, fierce and true to themselves. Stories are either created by or inspired by women doing great things from Olympic athletes to astronauts. A subscription costs $39.99 for four issues. Go here for more info.
National Geographic Kids Magazine is perfect for kids ages 6 and up. It's chock full of info about scientific discoveries, animals, technology, pop culture and our planet. A subscription costs $15 for one year. Go here for more info.
10. Play passes or gift cards for local places
Defy Tucson, 4861 N. Stone Ave., is Tucson's newest indoor trampoline park that also has a ninja course, trapeze, silks, foam pits and a zipline. Admission varies depending on the time of day you visit, age, and the length of time you want to play. Go here for more information.
Our Play Place, 3951 W. Costco Drive, is an indoor interactive space that encourages imaginative play with playhouses, dress up clothes and more. You can get a month of unlimited play for $45. Go here for info.
The industrial space at 330 S. Toole Ave. offers two-different attractions for adventurous kids:
Get Air Tucson, is an indoor trampoline park with dodge ball, an obstacle course, basketball hoops and party space. It's great for younger and older kids. You can get a gift card for whatever amount you want. Keep in mind it costs $11.99 per hour for big kids and $6.99 per hour for kids under 46 inches tall. Go here for more info.
This story was updated from a 2018 story written by Angela Pittenger.