It’s that time of year again, where we start making our lists of everyone we need to buy presents before. Before you run out and buy more “stuff” think about giving an experience gift this year. There are plenty of fun things to do in and around Westchester County. Check out some of these experience gift ideas! Below are links to past posts that offer a comprehensive list of Westchester County experience gift ideas! Even though some of the posts are a few years old, the ideas are still relevant. Only the prices may have changed. Please check websites for the current pricing. If you know of any experience gift ideas that we have not included, please let us know!
As the holidays quickly approach, holiday shopping is at the top of many of our to-do lists. As someone who doesn’t like “stuff” I prefer to both give and receive experience gifts. Here is a collection of some great experience gift ideas in Westchester County and the surrounding area.
SUNY Purchase Campus
735 Anderson Hill Road
Purchase, NY 10577
*youth (ages 7-11) gift card $54, adults (ages 12+) gift card $59
Although the park is closed now for the season, gift cards can be used anytime throughout the 2019 season.
Read about our visit!
Great for: adventure lovers, families
Escape the Mystery Room
(various locations including West Nyack at the Palisades Center and Yorktown Heights at the Jefferson Valley Mall)
*gift vouchers are location specific. Each $20 voucher is good for one entry.
Read about our visit!
Great for: families with older children
The Holiday Train Show at the NYBG
2900 Southern Boulevard
Bronx, NY 10458
now through Monday, January 21, 2019
*tickets start at $10/kids and $23/adults
Read about our visit!
Great for: train lovers, families, grandparents
Phantom at the Westchester Broadway Theatre
One Broadway Plaza
Elmsford, NY 10523
now through January 27, 2019
*tickets start at $59/kids, $62/seniors, $69/adults
Although we have not seen Phantom at the WBT, we have seen other shows at the theatre. There isn’t a bad seat in the place and the performances we’ve seen have been amazing. You can buy gift certificates to the theatre that can be used at a future performance, if Phantom doesn’t appeal to you or your gift recipient.
Great for: theatre fans, families, grandparents
Thunder Ridge Ski Area
137 Birch Hill Rd.
Patterson, NY 12563
Gift Cards can be purchased in any amount and can be used towards tickets, food and/or items in the gift shop.
Great for: ski enthusiasts, families
Westchester Winter Wonderland
Kensico Dam Plaza
One Bronx River Parkway
Valhalla, NY 10595
*now through December 31, 2019
Tickets: $20/person (ages 3+)
Great for: families
Movie Tickets – Depending on the number of tickets you buy, this is a gift that can be enjoyed throughout the year.
Memberships – If you want your family to enjoy fun all year-round, memberships are a great family gift idea. Memberships to the Bronx Zoo, Historic Hudson Valley, Hudson River Museum or the NYBG will provide enjoyment all year long!
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I think preschool children are some of the easiest to shop for. At this age they are into their favorite television characters and toy manufacturers are very aware of this! They are also at a great age for starting to learn to play games and do crafts. Although there seems to be unlimited options, here are some of the hot holiday toys for preschool children this holiday.
Disney Junior Doc McStuffins All-in-One Nursery – Doc McStuffins helps your child take care of their baby dolls in this all-in-one nursery set. It comes with a cradle and a scale. Included in the many different doctor accessories are a light-and-sound stethoscope and a laptop that has a light-up screen, makes sounds and plays music. This is a preschool toy of the year finalist. The laptop and stethoscope each require 3 x AAA batteries, not included. Recommended for ages 3+. Retails for $79.99.
Go! Go! Smart Wheels Race & Play Adventure Park – Watch as Gavin the Go-Kart races down the track and off the jump ramp! This set includes a ferris wheel that spins, a tumble-down carnival game and a swinging gate. It plays 40 songs, melodies, sounds and phrases. Requires 3 x AAA batteries, not included. Recommended for ages 1 -5. Retails for $39.99.
LeapFrog LeapStart – This is LeapFrog’s new interactive learning system. Using the stylus, children use one of the 25+ books (sold separately) to engage in over 30 different learning activities. Recommended for ages 2-7. Retails for $39.99.
Moonlite – Moonlite is a children’s storybook projector that attaches to almost any phone. Using the flashlight function it projects story images onto the wall or ceiling. Recommended for ages 3+. The projector retails for $24.99 and each story reel retails for $7.99. Available stories include Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Ugly Duckling, Duck & Goose and more.
Luvabella – Luvabella is an interactive baby doll. She moves, talks and plays, learning as kids play with her. She comes with four interactive accessories including a spoon, bottle, pacifier and stuffed animal. 4 C batteries are required, but not included. The doll is available with blond hair, brunette hair or dark brown hair. She retails for $99.99.
Paw Patrol My Size Lookout Tower – Paw Patrol fans will love this 2 1/2 ft.+ tower. It has interactive lights and sounds and comes with a Chase figure and vehicle, 2 Chase pup packs, one Marshall figure and 2 Marshall pup packs. Requires 2 x AAA batteries, not included. Recommended for ages 3+. Retails for $99.99.
Paw Patrol Sea Patroller – For Paw Patrol fans, Spin Master’s newest addition to the collection is the Sea Patroller. This boat makes sounds, has flashing lights and comes with a detachable anchor. The set comes with a Ryder figure and Ryder’s rescue ATV vehicle, an octopus and two lifesavers. This is a preschool toy of the year finalist. 3 LR44 button cell batteries are included. Recommended for ages 3+. The set retails for $59.99.
Rusty Rivets Rivet Lab – Fans of Rusty Rivets will enjoy this transforming playset. This set includes real lights and sounds from the show and comes with an exclusive Rusty figure. There’s a moving crane, elevator and blaster. You can add to the lab with other Build Me Rivet Systems sets, that are sold separately. Requires 3 LR44 batteries, included. Recommended for ages 3+. Retails for $39.99.
Soggy Doggy Board Game – In this game players move their piece around the board, taking turns bathing the doggy. But the dog likes to shake himself dry. If he shakes himself on your turn, you get wet and have to go back to the start. Requires 3 x AA batteries, not included. Recommended for ages 4+. Retails for $19.99.
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As kids get older, it gets harder to buy gifts for them. As a parent of an 11-year-old daughter, I can tell you that she still enjoys creating things. Activity kits are great presents because kids have to spend the time making something before they can enjoy it. They can then take ownership of their project and have pride in their work. It ends up meaning a little more to them. Every year, new activity kits are manufactured. Here are some of the newer activity kits for tween girls. Maybe one of these will interest the tween on your shopping list this holiday season! Please note, we have not personally tried any of these products yet, so cannot attest to the quality and ease of use.
1. Just My Style Flavored Lab Lip Gloss – As much as my daughter wants to wear makeup, since she’s only eleven, we only allow her to wear lip gloss. She would love making her own flavored lip glosses with this activity kit. This would also make a fun activity to do with a friend when they “hang out.” The kit comes with four lip glosses (3 flavored, 1 shimmer) that kids can layer and mix to create a customized tube. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.97.
2. Alex Toys Knot-a-Mermaid – Mermaids continue to be popular. With this kit, kids can make their own mermaid blanket, just by tying knots. After the blanket is completed, they can stitch the shell appliques on. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $19.99.
3. YOUniverse Crystal Growing Jewelry – Kids learn the science behind growing crystals and then make jewelry with their crystal creations. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $12.97.
4. Just My Style Glitter Roller Perfume – Kids mix and create their own fragrance with this kit. There are also stickers in the kit to decorate the bottles. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.97.
5. Just My Style Sparkling Fashion Plates – Do you have a budding fashion designer? This kit includes 15 different plates that kids can mix and match to create more than 100 designs. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $14.97.
6. ORB Doll Designer: Strawberry Sweet – With this kit, kids design their own doll. They create an outfit for their doll by layering different pieces of fabric and decorating it. Each kit comes with a doll stand and a pet. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $12.99.
7. Plush Craft Personalized Pillow – Tweens love any type of room decor and personalization. Initials are a big hit with this age group. If your tween isn’t into a personalized pillow, Plush Craft makes all sorts of different pillow designs including, animals, a peace sign, an ice cream cone, an XOXO design and more. Kids follows a legend and use a special stylus to punch fabric strips into the pillow. Recommended for ages 5+, retails for $16.99.
8. ORB Fluffables – With these kits, kids create their own fluffable. Using a stylus, kids push fluff into the form to create their animal. They can follow the enclosed pattern or create their own design. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $9.99.
9. YOUniverse Galactic Bath Bombs – My daughter and her friends love bath bombs. With this kit, they can make their own by mixing compounds and adding color and shimmer. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $12.97.
10. Project Mc2 H2o Nail Science Kit – In this kit, kids will use hydrographic printing to create unique nail designs. 3 AA batteries are required, but not included in this kit. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $24.99.
11. Project Mc2 Smart Pixel Purse – Using an app, kids program their own designs which they can then show off on their purse. Or they can use one of the pre-programmed designs. Recommended for ages 6+, retails for $59.99.
12. Gel-a-Peel Accessory Craft Kit – Kids can design and create their own color changing accessories using the templates provided. 3 gel tubes, 16+ templates and 5 designer tips are included in this kit. There are different kits including neon, color change, sparkle and more. Recommended for ages 8+, retails for $19.99.
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This is the first in a series of gift guides to help you complete your holiday shopping. These are gift ideas for creative tweens. These gifts are great for both girls and boys in the 8+ age range and allows them to use their imagination and creativity. Many of these toys are brand new to the market this holiday season!
1. ORB Molecules – ORB Molecules is the newest product from ORB (formerly ORB Factory). It is the world’s first creation compound. The molecules are brightly colored and come in different sizes. They stick to themselves, but not anything else! The ORB Molecules are sold in kits so that kids can make their own creations. These will be hitting shelves in approximately two weeks and will be sold exclusively at Michaels stores. These kits retail for $14.99. (Recommended for ages 5+)
(photo courtesy of ORB)
2. ORB Morph – Orb Morph is not a new product to the market. Morph is a lightweight, “shape-shifting fluff.” It’s a building compound that kids can mold, that can also bounce and float. As kids play with the morph, it gets softer and fluffier. The material doesn’t dry out and can be reused over and over again. The Morph comes in six different colors and retails for $14.99. It can be found at Walmart, Michaels, Target and Amazon. (Recommended for ages 3+)
3. STiKidotz – STiKidotz are the world’s first 3D pixel art sticker. Projects start with a square base. Kids create a design on the base using the dotzPIXELS to create a design. Once the design is complete you can cut it out with scissors, take off the paper backing and stick it to the surface of your choice. There are creative kits where kids can come up with their own designs. STiKidotz also sells pre-designed kits that kids can follow to create characters and pictures. These kits are available on the dotz company website and beginning November 7, Amazon. A starter pack is $12.99 and includes 2 bases and 36 dotzBLOKs. (Recommended for ages 6+)
Check out the above video to see STiKidotz in action! To learn more about them check out the STiKidotz website!
4. E-Blox Circuit Builder – E-Blox manufactures three different circuit builder kits. The Circuit Builder 115, pictured above, contains 37 pieces which kids can use to create 115 different projects. They will learn about electricity, alarms, motors and more as they create. An instruction booklet is included. These kits require 3 “AA” batteries. The kits retail between $19.99 and $44.99. (Recommended for ages 8+)
5. Oonies – Made by Moose Toys, Oonies are small balloons that you can play with and customize. Use the inflator to inflate the pellets to the balloons. Then customize with the accessory stickers. The starter pack comes with the inflator, 36 pellets and accessories. The balloons stay inflated for approximately five days before deflating. Kids can make their own designs and creations or use the available theme packs. The Oonies site has all kinds of games, challenges and more. The starter pack, which you need for the inflator, retails for $19.99. You can find Oonies at Target, Walmart, Amazon and Toys R Us. (recommended for ages 5+)