Often as the gifts for Christmas pile up beneath the tree, parents wonder if there’s something better to give kids than the newest toy or next trendy electronic. Often what children really want is the gift of our time and attention. Here are some simple ideas for how to give a gift that truly keeps giving all year long.

12 Ideas for Giving Time

  • Coupons for a date with mom or dad. These can be simple: ice cream or a walk in the park.
  • Annual family pass for the zoo. A great gift for the family who loves animals! Enjoy the zoo all year long with an annual pass. Passes often come with extra perks like viewing special feedings and other experiences.
  • Tickets to a show. Kids like the movies and a gift card to the cinema is always a treat. But you could also consider tickets to a local theater production or research the Broadway shows touring your way this year. For example, Finding Neverland, hailed as “the best musical of the year,” is coming to Austin in January.
  • A trip to a kid-friendly museum. The Austin and San Antonio areas abound with fun and educational museum opportunities. Spend the day learning, and top off the trip with a favorite family restaurant.
  • A day at the big water or amusement park. Or turn it into a weekend of family fun with any of the excellent offerings from Galveston to San Antonio.
  • Need something more budget friendly? Make a homemade coupon for a local splash park and picnic on the first day of summer.
  • State park pass for the year. At only $70, this is a great value. The state park pass gains you entry to any of Texas’s 90 state parks and also offers discounts on camping and equipment rentals. Use it all year long to adventure together.
  • Tickets to watch your favorite team. From the NBA to the NHL, Houston Astros to Texas Rangers, the area isn’t lacking in sports teams. Attend the game you love–soccer, football, baseball, basketball, even hockey–and make memories your kids will talk about all year long.
  • Take a class together. Many home improvement stores offer free workshops one Saturday a month. The library is often a great resource as well. Check out local art stores and shops. You might be surprised by the talents you’ll discover!
  • Put together a family movie night in a box: copy of an anticipated movie, popcorn, jumbo candy, and hot chocolate packets. When the night comes, spread out the pillows and blankets and enjoy the show!
  • Plan a new family experience such as camping. You can gift each child something needed for the trip, if you want, but the real gift is the time spent together learning something new.
  • Family memberships are often great investments in your health and well-being, both mentally and physically. Consider a membership to a local pool, gym, YMCA, or other activity center.

Share your favorite family experiences with us! We’d love to hear!