We love the idea of gifting experiences, even when it comes to the kids. 

Toys are great, but sometimes they end up with so many they don't even know what they have anymore. 

Gifts like music lessons or mommy-son dates create treasured memories and skills they'll hang onto forever. Museum memberships or subscription boxes give them something to look forward to all year.

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 three ideas:

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. 

Play miniature golf or go on bumper boats


Diego Garcia 8, is locked in a rowdy water fight on the bumper boats at the first Putt-ing Kids First Mini-Golf Tournament and Family Fun Night at Golf N Stuff.

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 $9.75 per person. Go here for more details. 



Kathy Bhatt and her son, Kyle Bhatt, 19, concentrate on lining up both parts of their painting at Creative Juice on May 26, 2016. The mother and son thought painting together would be a good way to spend time together and bond.

Creative Juice, 6530 E. Tanque Verde Road, will walk you through painting your own masterpiece. The studio has a few kid and family classes planned during the holiday season for $25 per person. 

The cost includes supplies and instruction. 

Go here for information and a class schedule. 

2. Subscription box


Each box comes with information about a historical woman, activity book and supplies needed to do activities based on the woman's achievements. 

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 $25.95. 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 two to STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, mathematics) activities based on a theme. Plus, they send a magazine for early readers. Subscriptions are $19.95 per month. Go here for more info.

3. Adopt a cat or dog


Due to overcrowding, Pima Animal Care Center is offering a weekend adoption special.

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 3 places to do that:

4. Memberships

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.


Sol Barajas, 5, watches as her brother Efrian Barajas, 8, dumps a cart load of groceries on her checkout stand in the grocery store room.

The $120 Family Fun membership is good for two named adults and four named children for unlimited entry into one location for a year. Dual memberships good for both locations are available for an additional fee. 

More info here.

The Reid Park Zoo is located at 3400 E. Zoo Court and has hundreds of animals in naturalistic exhibits, making it a great gift for any animal lover. 

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.

Flandrau Science Center & Planetarium, 1601 E. University Blvd., is perfect for your science-loving kid. It has hands-on exhibits, a huge collection of minerals, rotating exhibits and laser shows. 

A family membership can be purchased for $105 and includes unlimited entry into the Science Center exhibit halls and Mineral Museum during regular hours, $3 admission to Planetarium/Laser shows for two adults and up to four children ages 17 and under. 

Go here for more details.

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 to and their confidence will soar as they perfect their craft. 


Family Fun Fridays at the Tucson Village Farm in 2012, Tucson, Ariz.

Tucson Village Farm, 4210 N. Campbell Ave., offers a hands-on learning program 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 session as a gift for $40. Go here for details. 

The Drawing Studio, 2760 N. Tucson Blvd., offers youth classes for kids ages 9 and up. Prices depend on what class you take. Go here to learn more. 

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.

Skate Country has skating lessons! Classes will be for six weekends and start on Jan. 5. The get 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.

USA Youth Sports is a sports league for kids ages 3-13 and offers soccer, basketball, baseball and flag football. Go here for info.

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.

National Youth Sports offers baseball, basketball, cheerleading, flag football, soccer and volleyball for kids ages 3-15. Go here for info.

7. Get them a new 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.

Gadabout does kids' hair too with prices starting at $25. There are several locations to choose from. Go here to find the one closest to you. 

Tullia Salon and Spa, 1825 E. River Road, also does kids' hair. Prices start at $25. Go here for info. 

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 an $18.99 starter kit. Go here for info.

8. Event tickets


Driver Rod Wood, a Tucson native, powers the McGruff monster truck over a jump during the speed and skill time trial at Monster Jam.

Concert, theater, UA sports, monster trucks or Disney on Ice tickets would make a great gift and give the kids memories to last a lifetime. 

Check the Tucson Convention Center website for upcoming events here

Tucson Symphony Orchestra has a family series of shows. Go here for dates.

Monster Jam is happening March 1 - 3 and features famous trucks such as Grave Digger, Alien Invasion and more. Go here for ticket info.

Go here for University of Arizona sports tickets. 

9. Magazine subscription

Kazoo is a quarterly magazine for girls ages 5-10 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 $50. 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

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 $55. Go here for info. 

Get Air Tucson, 330 S. Toole Ave., 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. 

Jump Family Entertainment Center, 5120 S. Julian Drive, is an indoor playground full of inflatables. There are jumping castles, obstacle courses, a jumping pillow, a section for toddlers and more. You can get a monthly pass for $75 or 10 individual passes and divvy them up for $95. More info here.

Angela Pittenger | This Is Tucson