A father and son running through the Prairie exhibit at the Children's Museum of South Dakota.


Give the Gift of Play

November 6, 2017

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Whether for a holiday or a birthday, finding gifts that are thoughtful, personal, and add value to the recipient’s life can be a challenge.

Sometimes, the thought of adding more “stuff” to the playroom can seem overwhelming, too. Perhaps this is the reason that experience-based gifts such as tickets to museums and events have been gaining traction as a popular way to celebrate.

Research published by San Francisco State University found that people who spend their money on experiences rather than material items felt happier and believed their money was better spent.

Additionally, researchers attribute spending time with loved ones a direct correlation to happiness. With sporting events, homework, and the general day-to-day activities of family life, carving out time to be together can be difficult if families are not intentional about it.

“Families who spend time playing together build memories that last a lifetime.”

“More and more, we see families coming through the door as part of an experienced-based gift,” says Kati Hanson, director of guest services at the Children’s Museum of South Dakota. “Families who spend time playing together build memories that last a lifetime.”

Experience-based gifts give families a chance to try new things, and they don’t have to cost a lot of money. Take a stay-cation camping trip in your own basement. Go for a winter hike and make hot cocoa outside. Stay up late and play a new board game. Day trips to local tourist attractions can also make a great gift.

Wrapping an experience gift may seem tricky. So here are a few ideas on how to give a gift that is an experience:

  • Make the “giving” part an experience in itself. Send the gift receivers on a scavenger hunt with multiple stops and clues.
  • Creative packaging. If the experience is a ticket or membership card, wrap it in multiple packages starting with a big box, moving to smaller boxes until you get to the gift itself. If there isn’t a ticket, create a homemade certificate.
  • Pack up small items needed for the experience. For example: pack snacks, toys, and books if your experience gift requires a car ride. You don’t need to buy new items, often items you already have can be repurposed.
  • Head off to the adventure on the fly! Get in the car with bags packed. It will be fun to have your family guess the destination.
    Give an empty photo album or scrapbook. Journal during or after your experience to be sure it will be remembered for a lifetime.

Gift certificates or memberships to the Children’s Museum of South Dakota can be purchased online. Or, stop in or call (605) 692-6700.

Give the gift of play!