The Gift Of Experiences

The Gift Of Experiences

Giving the gift of experiences is something others have written about. I’m joining the bandwagon because giving experiences is good for the relationship between the giver and the receiver. And, of course, memories are created that usually last longer than a toy or any gift you might give.

Children who have positive shared experiences with parents and other adults who care about them have fewer behavioral problems. They have more security and a stronger, healthier identity. They’re usually more successful academically and less angry, aggressive, and violent.

Why would all of these positive outcomes result simply from experiences? Because adults and children talk during the experiences. Children will be known. They are able to share meaningfully with their parents and others. We also have something positive to look back on and talk about.

There’s nothing wrong with giving toys, games, books, clothes, and the like. In fact, last Monday, I listed games categorized by the 8 great smarts that you might want to purchase for children you know.

We can do the same thing with experiences. Think about your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and friends and what they’ll most enjoy and benefit from. Categorizing experiences by the 8 great smarts is very helpful.

A children’s smarts are often awakened because of new experiences. I know of a child’s nature-smart inclinations that were discovered during a family’s first visit to a botanical garden. I know of a boy who was more interested in some sections of a hands-on science museum than his parents thought he would be. The experiments awakened the logic-smart and self-smart intelligences. Repeating favorite experiences strengthens the smarts.

What could you give for Christmas that would last into 2019 that would awaken and strengthen the way children are smart? Your smarts will be influenced, too! What a powerful and important opportunity this is!

For example, here are some things I’ve thought of:

Word Smart – We think with words.

  • A trip to a bookstore to choose new books rather than choosing them for your kids and wrapping them for under the tree.
  • A language learning app or software.
  • A new notebook and special pen or pencil to encourage your children to write and tickets to a writing seminar or invite a friend over for dinner who enjoys writing.
  • Tickets to hear someone in town give a speech about a topic a child is interested in.
  • A trip to a library so they can get their own card and enjoy checking out books. Attend read-aloud story times and author visits together.

Logic Smart – We think with questions.

  • Cooking class for kids.
  • Museum membership.
  • Family friendly escape room experience.
  • Commitment to family game night at least monthly. (Depending on the games you choose, you could be awakening and strengthening all the smarts.)
  • A scavenger hunt in town that you create so you’ll see new things. Depending on the clues and the places you include, this will benefit other smarts, too.
  • Tour of a local factory/business.
  • Plan a geocaching excursion. (Good for nature smart, too.)

Picture Smart – We think with visuals and pictures.

  • Children’s theater season passes.
  • Pass to an art museum.
  • Pottery making or painting classes.
  • A camera.
  • Movie Pass for the local theatre.
  • Craft supplies to make something together to give to someone special.
  • Attend local craft/activity classes (usually available at Home Depot, Lowe’s, Michaels, etc.)

Music Smart – We think with rhythms and melodies.

  • Season tickets or one ticket to your city’s orchestra concerts.
  • Musical instrument and lessons. Do you know about my favorite Christmas gift of all time? Last year I wrote about getting my viola when I was 12 years old. Why is giving an instrument a good idea? Here’s how I ended my post: “The gift wasn’t special just because it was expensive. It meant a lot to me because having my own viola, rather than renting one which we had been doing, meant my parents believed in me. They believed in my growing talent. They believed I was mature enough to take good care of my own viola. Their trust inspired me.” [I’ll post this entire blog on Wednesday. Watch for it.]
  • Dance classes and the right clothes for lessons if this child is also body smart or needs to become more body smart. (If you know my story, you know my parents did this for me.)
  • “Mommy and me” music classes.

Body Smart – We think with movement and touch.

  • Summer camp for a new sport or to strengthen skills for a sport a child already enjoys.
  • Tickets to enjoy sporting events together (e.g., football, soccer, volleyball). Attending college games might be an enjoyable experience.
  • Swim lessons. Maybe you know your son will take them this summer. You’ll pay for them anyway. Give them as a Christmas gift.
  • Indoor rock climbing experience.
  • Passes to a local water park.
  • Miniature golf tickets.
  • Tickets to go bowling as a family once or more.
  • Build a simple obstacle course in the backyard.

Nature Smart – We think with patterns.

  • Zoo membership.
  • Day pass or annual membership to a local aquarium.
  • Passes to local, state, and national parks.
  • Give an archaeology, gardening, or similar club membership.
  • Flower, vegetable, or herb seeds to plant a garden.
  • Horseback riding lessons.
  • Camping gear for a weekend away.
  • A hiking experience.
  • Field guides for trees, plants, birds, and such and then spend time together finding out what’s in your neighborhood.

People Smart – We think with other people.

  • Summer camp registration. This gift fits many other smart categories, too.
  • Gift card to restaurant for the family. Talk while eating together. No technology!
  • A day at a local amusement park.
  • Tickets to a local cultural festival.
  • Tickets to a comedy night and dinner out to really connect.
  • An opportunity to volunteer together. Not only will you help others, your family will be closer, character will be strengthened, and more. You might be able to find a volunteer opportunity that matches other smarts to make it even more successful and enjoyable. For example, if some of your children are nature smart, you can plant gardens, weed gardens, and shovel snow together. You could serve on your church’s landscape committee. Of course, these are good activities if your children aren’t very nature smart yet. Body-smart children can teach athletic skills to younger children.

Self Smart – We think with reflection.

  • A train ride to somewhere they’ve never been. You might be surprised to discover this is affordable and fun. For instance, where I live, we can take a train from Fort Worth to Dallas. We can stay for a meal, concert, or sporting event, or just return. I listed this as a self-smart activity because it will give kids lots to think about. I could have listed it in all of the smarts for different reasons.
  • A hobby kit for the child to work on something alone.
  • Registration for a seminar about journaling or something else that self-smart children enjoy.
  • Jigsaw puzzles or puzzle books that you commit to work on together.

I trust this list got you thinking. Is there something you’ll commit to? What did you think of that I didn’t? I’d love to know.

Love your kids well! Share experiences!