By giving kids the gift of an experience, it teaches them delayed gratification (I'm still trying to learn this) and ensures fresh fun after the holidays are over. Plus, you can still toss a gift card or tickets in a big box and wrap it up for extra anticipation, humor and the element of surprise.
So let’s mix some real life into our kids’ techno-based holidays with one of these experience gifts.
Membership to a cool place
Betty Brinn Children’s Museum
For more than two decades, the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum’s mission has been to inspire children to wonder and explore their world through play and innovative, hands-on learning experiences. A one-year family membership with a parking discount is $115 for the year, but there are numerous other levels. Go here for more info.
Discovery World is Milwaukee's only science and technology museum and dedicated to inspiring the next generation of STEM majors through curiosity and creativity. Numerous levels of annual membership are available, starting at $55. Go here for the deets.
Milwaukee Art Museum
The Art Museum has myriad programming for kids including Kohl’s Art Studio events, Story Time in the Galleries, Play Date with Art and more. Family memberships are $95 and include email communications about all kid-and-family-friendly events. Check it out here.
Milwaukee Public Museum
A membership to the Milwaukee Public Museum includes not only free admission to the museum and planetarium for a year, but also free admission to special exhibits and more than 300 museums worldwide. A family membership is $135 and can be purchased here.
Milwaukee County Zoo pass
The zoo is open all year 'round and a great place for kids to burn off steam while learning about animals, science and empathy. Zoo passes start at $140. Go here to get a zoo-tiful stocking stuffer.
Overnight waterpark trip
Booking a wintertime weekend or overnight at one of the Dells' resorts or waterparks will extend the holiday spirit and offer up a taste of summer in the warm, indoor water facilities. The Wilderness Resort is a great choice for the holidays with its visits from Santa, holiday-themed crafts, a new Polar Express Ride and more. Check it out here.
Blue Harbor in Sheboygan
Want a get-a-way that's a little closer to home? Blue Harbor Resort’s Breaker Bay waterpark is an hour from Milwaukee and has good deals this time of year on indoor waterpark fun.
Learn something new
Climbing builds confidence and strengthens young bodies and Adventure Rock, Turner Hall Climbing Gym and Bounce MKE all have open, indoor climbing with instruction. Get kids excited about moving more in 2023 with climbing lessons.
You can also splash into 2023 with the gift of swimming lessons. The Goldfish Swim School at Bayshore has lots of options for all ages and levels. Memberships are also available for open swim time. Find out more here.
Kids can learn to make deep dish pizza in this mid-January class at the Milwaukee Public Market. Buy today, wrap soon and enjoy later! More info here.
Solve the Rubik’s Cube
Give your kid a gift certificate to learn how to solve the Rubik’s Cube from Cubing MKE. (Full disclosure: my 19-year-old son runs this.) Ideal for kids at least 8 years old who are ok with sitting through an hour or so of one-on-one, hands-on interaction. Go here for more info.
Milwaukee /Metro Milwaukee Rec Classes
Wrap up your neighborhood Rec Guide – or the guide of winter activities from your neighborhood – and let your kid pick a class from the many choices. More info right here for those living in the city of Milwaukee.
Bucks – Take your kids to see Giannis live and in action. Get tickets here.
Brewers – Baseball will be back in the blink of an eye. Get tickets to opening day or for a game in the 2023 season here.
Packers – There are still a couple of home games left in the season, so scoop up tickets for gifts right here.
Concert tickets – Look ahead at concert schedules. Here’s Fiserv Forum’s. Buying concert tickets for kids will lead to life-long memories – especially if it's their first concert.
First Stage Children's Theater – Give the valuable gift of theater appreciation to your kids with tickets to a performance in 2023. Family packages and memberships are also available here.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.