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Posts Tagged ‘Gifts’

10 Practical Gifts that Your Kids Will Love

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Trying to find some practical gifts the kids will love? If your kids are like my kids, they not only already have plenty of toys, stuffed animals, and gadgets but they also have a whole family of grandparents, aunts, and uncles who eagerly shower them with cool gifts this time of year. In fact, usually the gifts from relatives way outshine the gifts that my husband and I buy for the kids ourselves. And, that’s fine.

So, what are some gifts for kids that aren’t toys?

Trying to figure out what to buy though that’s awesome but yet not just adding to the pile is a bit tricky, so I’ve come up with this list of ideas that I plan to use to ensure that my kids’ gifts are packed with essential and practical items without my kids even knowing it.

This post contains affiliate links including Amazon affiliate links.

Practical Gifts for kids

Towels that Double As Costumes

Did you know that hooded towels are sold for “big kids”? And, they come in every type of character that you could imagine. I’m definitely stocking up on a new towel for both of my kids this Christmas. We already have this adorable rainbow unicorn towel as well as a superhero towel that I purchased from Kohl’s.

This Christmas I’m eyeing this Minion towel and this Elsa towel to round out our collection. Though I might just get this Yoda towel instead because it’s so cute.

And Pajamas that Double As Costumes

My little girl wears her Elsa nightgown that I purchased last year for her all the time, and I like that it’s sturdy enough to handle washing and wear-and-tear unlike most dress-up clothes. It’s also softer. This year’s version is a little different than the one I purchased and it’s even cuter!

I’m sure that it won’t ever be as popular as Elsa but I think I might get my kid this Anna nightgown this year to go with her Elsa one! Or I might just get her a long sleeve version of Elsa’s dress.

Books that Your Kids Won’t Put Down

We received two Activity Books (The Big Pink Activity Book & The Big Blue Activity Book) for review purposes earlier this year, and I can’t say enough good things about them. They literally entertained my kids for months, no small feat. The only change I would make is I would cut out the sticker pages in the back if I were to buy the books over to make accessing the stickers easier.

If your kid is an early reader, be sure to sneak some Elephant & Piggie Books into the mix. These books are so much fun that even reluctant readers enjoy giving them a try.

I also picked up The Book With No Pictures last year for Christmas and it’s still requested even now.

The Coolest Toothbrush on the Market

I received this Darth Vadar Firefly toothbrush that looks like a lightsaber at a recent blogging conference. I love that it has a timer (my kids really need that) and my kids love brushing their teeth with it. It’s not nearly as cool as the Darth Vadar toothbrush but there’s also a Hello Kitty toothbrush that I was given for my little girl. I have a feeling though that there are many little girls who would totally bypass the Hello Kitty to have a lightsaber toothbrush.

Experience Gifts

I absolutely love experience gift ideas. Not only does the gift not take up space (or collect dust) but also you can purchase an experience that encourages family time together. Some of my favorite choices for children are local memberships to museums, zoos, or science centers.

Another idea is purchasing tickets to a local event or sport. If you are on a tight budget this Christmas, don’t underestimate either the value of just promising to take your kids on an inexpensive adventure locally whether it’s park hopping on a Saturday or a low-budget outing like an ice-cream date.

Experience gift ideas for Greenville, South Carolina

You can read my full list of Experience Gifts Unique to Greenville here.

Also, I’ve heard many moms talk about how much they love Kiwi Crate’s monthly craft box subscription.

Educational Computer Games

While I’m definitely serious about limiting screen time, I do like having a couple of quality online programs that the kids can play on those crazy days and during school vacations. Two of my personal favorites are:

Starfall (perfect for preschoolers) – You can play the base level of Starfall for free, but the premium version is not very expensive and includes quite a bit more content.

Reading Eggs – This program is more expensive but it’s packed with developmentally appropriate lessons in both reading and math that are combined with incentives. My kids beg to play it!

Board Games

Board games are awesome and kids love them. I’ve purchased educational games for my kids to help them with specific skills but really almost every game has a component that will help your child educationally whether it’s logic, numbers, or language.

Richard Scarry’s Busy Town – This game is good for kids who like looking and searching for objects and don’t mind a slower pace. One great feature is that it’s a cooperative game that takes out the competitive edge for kids too small to understand winning and losing.

Cool Umbrellas

My kids both have cool umbrellas that we found at the Mast General Store. I found some similar items on Amazon: Shark Umbrella,

Dragon Umbrella, and this Princess Umbrella (one of the umbrellas we own)

With Rainboots to Match

I think that rain boots are one of the most practical yet fun gifts that you can give your kids. My kids wear their rain boots for pretend play, snow days, to puddle stomp, and just for fun. We always get compliments on the fun designs.

We have a dinosaur boot set very similar to this one and a butterfly set similar to this one.

Educational Toys

I’m eyeing this set of Snap Circuits for my older kid who loves science.

Educational Gifts for kids, and educational gifts for Christmas

If you’re looking for more science ideas, see our huge list of Educational Gift Ideas.

More Practical Gift Ideas

  • Piggy bank: Teach them to save with a cute piggy bank. My son received a cute monkey bank when he was very young and it has remained a favorite (and useful) treasure.
  • Digital camera: If your kids don’t carry a cell phone in their pocket (and mine don’t either!) they might enjoy their own camera for documenting all their adventures.
  • Musical instruments: Learn a new skill! This can be as simple as a recorder and a book or as complicated as a trumpet and a promise of lessons in the new year.
  • Practical Stocking Stuffers: These are big in my house. We do fun socks, new hair ties, a hair brush, sometimes favorite snacks, chapstick, or even character-branded teas or mugs. Like these Star Wars cups from The Republic of Tea.

I would love to hear your suggestions for practical gifts this Christmas! Let me know in the comments.

Don’t miss our list of 75+ Local Gift Ideas for Greenville and our Holiday Guide with over 75 Things to Do Over the Holidays!

25+ Gifts for Teens: Ideas For Impossible To Shop For Teens

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Do you need gifts for teens this year? If you have a teen on your gift list this year, you know that teens are not the easiest to please. They aren’t quite adults, and they are no longer children. This makes gift-giving times extraordinarily difficult if you are trying to be creative. That’s why we set out to discover what teens wish for this holiday season. The result is this list full of teen-approved gift ideas so you’ll know exactly what to gift teens in your life this year!

Gifts for teens


This piece contains Amazon Affiliate links.

What To Buy For A Teenager?

When you think of gift ideas for teens, the first thing that probably pops into your mind is something like a gift card. Let them pick out what they want or need. And that’s all well and good. But, teens like opening presents, too. And what if you want to surprise them with a gift and not a card? What do you buy that a teen will love?

We went straight to the teens and asked for their Christmas wish lists. Then, we offered some suggestions for their approval to round out the list! The result is a teen-approved wish list for gift shopping, with items for a wide variety of budgets.

Gifts Teens Want in 2023

What gifts do teens want in 2023?
Experience-gifts
Music streaming subscriptions and equipment
Gift cards
Gaming systems
Subscription Boxes
Water bottles
Decal stickers
Sports and teams items
Room decor
Board Games for Teens
More gift ideas

Teen-Approved Experience Gifts

Sometimes an experience is a better gift than a “thing.” So, that leaves the question, “What do teens want to go do?” We asked and here’s what they said.

Take them to an Escape Room!

I’m sure at one time or another, we’ve thought about locking our kids up in a room and grabbing some peace while they navigated an escape route. So, a visit to an escape room near you could be the ultimate teen experience gift. These interactive escape rooms will challenge guests with their creative puzzles and talented actors.

In Greenville, SC try Escape Artist Greenville. You can read all about several of our experiences with the different rooms at Escape Artist.

Selfie Museum

A selfie museum, like The Pixel Experience in Greenville, is a unique spot to take selfie photos in a variety of themed rooms and walls. It will have your resident TikTok’r thinking you’re the best gift-giver ever! With 20+ backgrounds to take advantage of, the aspiring Instagram influencer in your family will have months of content to post!

Ax Throwing

We know what you are thinking. Handing an angst-ridden teen a hatchet or an ax and asking them to throw it at something might not be the first thing that comes to mind. It also probably doesn’t sound like the best idea. But trust me when I tell you, they will love it!
Try Blue Ox Hatchet House in Greenville, SC.

Ziplining

Creating memories with your teenager while still being seen in public with you is a great gift to give them. But, sometimes, that needs to be disguised as an extreme activity, and you’ll need to step out of your comfort zone. Zip-lining is the perfect blend of that and safety. Plus, it won’t clutter up their bedroom.

Try The Gorge Zipline. If you feel even more adventurous, you can hop over to their sister site for some water-related adventures. Green River Adventures offers white water rafting, kayak, SUP, waterfall hikes, and rappelling.

Gifts for Music-Loving Teens

This section includes affiliate links.

Teenagers will always love music; this will never change. So giving them away to enjoy it quickly is a great gift that they can appreciate over and over! So here are some teen-approved ways to get those tunes to them.

Spotify Premium
This popular music streaming service provides premium members with ad-free enjoyment of millions of songs. Plans range from $4.99 a month for college students to $14.99 for family plans that include six accounts.

YouTube Music Premium

Ad free music streaming, plus the ability to download your favorites to listen to when you’re offline. The first month is free and then $9.99 per month.

AirPods
These slight wireless ear-bud-style headphones were super popular with the teens we polled. They work in companion with Apple brand products and can sense when they are in your ears! Prices range from $100-$200 depending on the model you select.

Bluetooth Beanie Hat
I was shocked that the kids I spoke with had never heard of this! These knit beanie hats make a great gift not only for teens but for any age child (or adult). They look like your typical beanie hat, but tucked inside are wireless, Bluetooth headphones. They will work with any Bluetooth-enabled device and are great because there are no wires to damage younger kids! Prices range from $13 to $30.

iTunes Gift Cards
I was surprised to find that my go-to teen gift idea was still trendy in this age range. Not only can they use the funds for music purchases but video games, movies, and more. Card values start at $25.

Jackson B. explained to me why he likes getting these as a gift – “iTunes gift cards because we use phones a lot and we can choose what we want to spend it on”

Apple Products
If you have the budget for it, of the hundred or so teens I spoke to, nearly all of them mentioned some Apple brand devices – iPhones, iPods, Apple watches, Mac Books. It seems you can’t go wrong with a gift from the Apple store.

Concert Tickets
A set of tickets to a concert for their favorite performer might be the perfect gift! Sporting event tickets also make a great gift, and there’s no shortage of sports teams locally to support!

Gift cards

Some of the more popular gift cards mentioned were for the following :

  • Coffee : Starbucks, Little River Coffee, Barista Alley, Bridge Coffee, and other local coffee shops
  • Makeup : Ulta, Sephora
  • Retailers : Target, American Eagle, Apple, Amazon
  • Shoes : Vans, Converse, Nike

Gaming Systems

Hefty price tag alert, but it probably comes as no surprise that gaming systems are popular among the teens also. Teens also said gaming chairs, curved gaming screens, gaming computers, desks, and headsets are also on their wishlists.

Subscription Box Gifts for Teens

Subscription services are a trend that offers everything from cooking to makeup, and teenagers want them! Some of the more popular mentioned were –

Fab Fit Fun
these subscription boxes offer up to $300 worth of items for $54.99 quarterly. Items include room décor, health and beauty items, and more.

Sketch Box
for $25-$35 a month, you will receive art supplies and a piece of art to inspire your creativity.

Escape The Crate
If your teen likes escape room adventures, then this is the perfect gift! For $29.99 bi-monthly, they’ll receive a mystery along with challenges to decipher, tools to help, and exciting objects that serve as rewards as you advance through the puzzle.

Gifts For The Adventure Seeker

The most important item to a hydrated teen is a Hydroflask. They are a brand of insulated bottles, and they start at $30 for an 18oz bottle. Try Simple Modern brand bottles; they are less expensive, look the same, and have more color and accessory options. Plus, if a decal covers up that logo, no one will be the wiser—a 32oz Simple modern starts at $18.99.

Decal Stickers

Speaking of decals, they make a great gift! Check out locally owned shops for local decals, or look on for special interest decals on Etsy.

LadyBluByrd has decals with shoutouts to local places in Upstate, SC, famous characters, coffee, and more! These make an excellent stocking stuffer and are super easy to mail to a loved one.

shop local decals
Photo Credit: LadyBluByrd

Smells Like Teen Spirit

Depending on the teen you are shopping for, a sport-related gift might be perfect. Think about a gift for either a sport they play or a team they love! Think personalized collegiate flags, corn hole set with that same team décor, hoodies, even socks or slippers in their team’s colors.

Depending on the sport your child plays, new equipment is always a great idea. Skateboards and long-boards are still a popular thing, too.

Room Decor

Let teens dress up their space! These are a few room decor items teens asked for:

We are loving these room decor ideas because they are things teens will use all year long, and many of them are very budget-friendly. LED strips, fuzzy pillows, and lava lamps can all be found for under $25.

Teens Like to Eat: Food and Beverage gifts for teens

Growing teens seem to be able to eat and drink non-stop. The food doesn’t stay in the house long, the grocery list is endless, and bugging mom and dad for those special extra items is not always an option, which makes them a pretty perfect gift.

Soda Stream

A Soda Steam lets you make sodas and sparkling waters at home. While it’s one of the more expensive gifts for teens on this list, it’s definitely unique. And, it’ll let them make any flavors of sparkling beverages they’d like.

Bubble Tea Kit

Let teens make their own bubble tea right at home!

Favorite Snacks or a Snack Box

Do you know their favorite chips, cookies, or ice cream? If not, how about a care package-type box loaded with a huge variety of snacks?

Board Games for Teens

Escape the Room: Murder in the Mafia

ThinkFun’s Escape the Room games are essentially escape rooms in a box. They come cleverly assembled in the box in such a way that you only have to follow a few simple instructions to pop the room up before you’re ready to start looking for clues and playing the game.

Throughout the game the story booklet guides you through each chapter as you solve the clues, and see if you can determine who is the murderer. And if you get stuck you can go online for additional clues and assistance..

ThinkFun Escape the Room titles include:

EXIT Games

Another fun version of an escape room board games are EXIT games. You can spread these materials out and a larger group can work to solve these games. Clues are on cards, in booklets, and hidden in the strangest places. The card and solution wheel systems help you get hints if you’re stuck and also guide you from clue to clue. These games can only be played once as solving them often requires cutting or marking up game pieces, but they are worth it for a fun afternoon with family and friends.

EXIT Games: The Abandoned Cabin

Echoes: Audio Mystery Game

Download a free app and use it to scan the cards and listen to the audio hints. Put them together in the right sequence to unlock each chapter with additional story clues. Finally, use the clues to put the story into the right order. This one is a great family teamwork game. The sounds are a little creepy, and the clues require listening carefully. But don’t worry if you get lost, the app can give you clues if you’re stuck!

Echoes: Audio Mystery Game

More Great Gift Ideas For Teens

  • mini fridges
  • loft beds
  • Beats headphones
  • Hoodies
  • Gloves
  • Fuzzy socks

We hope this helps you navigate the gift-giving season a bit easier.

Needs more gift ideas? Don’t miss our Holiday Gift Guide to Greenville. It includes ideas for experience Gifts, local gifts, ideas for teacher gifts, and much more!

31+ Educational Gifts for Kids: Put a New Skill Under the Christmas Tree

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Do you want to give educational Christmas gifts this year, giving something more than just amusement? Kids can learn loads when they are having fun, which makes educational gifts a double whammy, powerhouse, gift-giving option.



Give them the gift of fine motor skills, colors and shapes, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving skills, creativity, imagination, an inquisitive mind, and a break from screen time. Puzzles, science kits, games, learning toys, books, and building toys can do all that and more.

Ok. You’ve decided to give an educational gift, but now you need some ideas? No problem. We polled our readers and asked about their favorite gifts that encouraged learning something new. Then, we added a few of our own ideas.

The result?

This list of top-notch educational gift ideas.

Educational Gifts for kids, and educational gifts for Christmas

This list contains Amazon affiliate links.

Our Readers’ Top Educational Gift Ideas

When it comes to gift-giving, you’re going to see your kids receive a ton of toys. Some of the best gifts, though, are educational. These gifts and toys engage your child for longer periods of time, encourage imaginative play and critical thinking, and may even inspire a lifelong passion.

My favorite educational gifts for kids are ones that store easily, encourage independent play, and can be enjoyed for a long period of time (bonus points: they don’t require batteries, haha).

We polled our readers and asked for their favorite unique educational gifts for kids, and we rounded up their answers for you below.

Tonies

I’ve seen these everywhere, and to be honest, the most I see them, the more interested I am in getting one for our daughter. These are essentially audio players for kids 3+ that play stories, music, and other educational things.

The biggest draw to them is that they are screen-free and easy for little ones to play with. You buy the starter kit, and then you can buy as many extra “Tonies” as you’d like. Each Tonie character plays different things. Kidding Around readers highly recommended this.

Osmo

I had never heard of this before a couple of our readers recommended it. But after learning more about it, I’m now wanting to tell all my mama friends about it. You buy a starter kit that includes the Osmo Base that attaches to an iPad or Fire Tablet. There are various puzzle pieces, drawing pads, and games you can buy to accompany each kit. And everything is educational and fun for kids.

Hot Dots

Hot Dots is another great interactive and educational toy for kids. Kids simply take the “pen” and tap the dots throughout the books to help learn to read and get ready for school. Hot Dots come with different subjects, themes, and ages.

Magna Tiles

Time to work those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination! Magna Tiles are an ever-popular toy for kids. The translucent tiles are magnetic, allowing you to build 2D or 3D shapes. They come in a variety of shapes and spark hours of imaginative play for children. I’ve also known a dad or two to play with these to see how big a structure they can build.

If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly option, the Picasso Tiles are also very popular.

Coding Robot like the Elenco Teach Tech

One of our readers highly recommends a coding robot like the Elenco Teach Tech. These toys help teach kids how to program, code, problem-solve, and use critical thinking skills. This particular robot is recommended for ages 3+.

Learning Wrap-Ups

When one of our readers recommended Learning Wrap-Ups, I was immediately swept back to my childhood. I would consider these a classic toy and definitely an educational one. You simply wrap the string from the problem on the left to the answer on the right and self-check yourself on the back. Learning Wrap-Ups come with different topics, including math, pre-algebra, science, and vocabulary.

Kiwi Box Subscription

A Kiwi Box Subscription is an educational gift that keeps giving. Each month, your child receives a box in the mail with a new project appropriate to their age and interest. When you fill out the subscription form online, you’ll answer a few questions so the perfect box is delivered each time. There are subscription boxes for ages 0-12+

More Educational Gift Ideas We Love: Books

Books

Magazine Subscriptions: The gift that keeps on giving

Once a month or every other month, another installment of your educational gift arrives bringing fun and learning long after the holiday decor has been boxed up and put away.

Strategic Board Games

Work out your strategy and think ahead to win these games. Really get that brain working, growing, and thinking hard, and of course, have fun, too! Our readers suggest these strategic board games:

More Educational Games

Family board games

Love board games? See our HUGE list of family favorite board games for all ages. Here are a couple of our favorite educational games from that list.

Zingo

Zingo is one of ThinkFun’s most popular and bestselling games, and is the winner of an Oppenheim Gold Award and Parents’ Choice Gold Award, among others. It’s a fun pre-reading game for ages 4 and up. There are versions for learning sight words, numbers, and using letters to make words. Like all of ThinkFun’s games, Zingo is built to develop critical thinking skills. Playing will improve language skills through fun and fast-paced play.

Zingo Sight Words
Zingo Numbers

Zingo numbers bingo

Gravity Maze

We played this with kids ages 8, 9, and 11 years old and they all loved it. I tried it also as an adult and it’s fantastic because it’s one of those games where you have to focus on the puzzle and nothing else. Gravity Maze is especially great for kids who like to play by themselves, for kids who love problem-solving, and for kids who are probably future engineers.

Gravity Maze 

Gravity Maze game

Puzzles

Puzzles are great for any age. Pick puzzles with bright colors and simple shapes for younger kids, and consider more intricate 3-dimensional kits and puzzles for older kids. Puzzles will encourage your child to problem-solve. They also make a great gift that develops fine motor skills.

Gifts that Teach Science

If you have a science-loving kid, we have some tried and true classic ideas to share from personal experience! These teach things about real world, the natural world, physics, and lots more learning fun!

  • Marble runs: Try this simple wooden set called Blocks and Marbles for older elementary children. It’s a long-time favorite with wooden blocks that have holes and grooves for marbles to roll and pass through.
  • Magnifying glass, or pocket microscope
  • Backyard explorer set
  • Chemistry sets with test tubes and stoppers for an older kid
  • Rock and fossil sets
  • Science kits and science experiment kits
  • Telescope
  • Binoculars
Binoculars

More Gifts With Educational Value

  • Crafts
  • Construction sets
  • Building toys: these vary by developmental stage, from things like intricate modeling kits to building blocks, wood blocks, interlocking building toys, stacking towers, and more.
  • Legos
  • Play Kits from Lovevery
  • Letter sets
  • Stationery sets
  • Shape blocks
  • Model kits

Experience Educational Gifts

Children’s Museum Membership

A membership to The Children’s Museum of the Upstate is a WONDERFUL gift idea! I’m a big supporter of gifting experiential gifts to loved ones, and an even bigger supporter if it’s providing educational value. And TCMU is one of the best local places that offers constant and steadfast education and fun to kids of all ages in the Upstate.

If you’re looking for experiential gifts you can give to loved ones this year, be sure to read our list of experience gifts.

Don’t live in Upstate, SC? Educational experience gifts are everywhere and they make a perfect gift. Look for local options like these for educational experiences you can give as a gift near you.

  • Local museums
  • Zoos
  • Nature Parks
  • Aquariums
  • Theaters
  • Science centers
  • Sports venues

What other educational gifts do you love giving kids?

15+ Foolproof Gifts for Teachers: Plus Dos and Don’ts Tips

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Looking for gifts for teachers in your life? It can be tricky trying to find school teacher and preschool teacher gifts that they will love that are within your budget – especially when you are buying for multiple teachers! Whether you’re looking for a holiday gift, something for teacher appreciation week, or an end-of-the-school-year celebration gift, our readers came through with some thoughtful gifts and great ideas.

What gifts do teachers want?

Want to Buy Your Child’s Teacher an Awesome Gift and Skip the Reading? Choose one of these gifts!

This post contains Amazon Associate links.

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50+ Best Family Games: (2023) Parent-Tested Games Everyone Can Play

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Will you be looking for the best family games? We have gathered over 50 of the best family board games 2023 has to offer, so add these to your gift list! If you’ve exhausted your stash of family board or card games and need new ideas of things to do with your whole family, we’ve surveyed our readers for the best games for family game night. We discovered that our readers seem to be quite the board/card game experts! We took their advice and then added a few board game ideas of our own.

Best family games: board game addition

We looked specifically for games that everyone can play, including our little kids who can’t read yet. So here’s the massive list and short, product descriptions taken from the game itself. We also added our own thoughts on some games we really loved. Then, we added some tips on how to plan a family game night! Check off your gift list for the holiday, with many games having Black Friday board game deals!

In this family board game list you’ll find:

  • best family board games
  • favorite family card games
  • ideas for family game night
  • easy to learn games
  • strategy games for the family
  • games for families to play together, no matter the age range
  • board games for kids by age

If we missed your favorite board game to play with your family, let us know in the comments. 

Some products from Think Fun and Ravensburger were provided for the Kidding Around Team to review. Opinions expressed are those of our team members.
This list contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Family board games

Top Tips for Establishing a Family Game Night

  • Be consistent. Having a specific day and time that works for everyone will help make it a routine.
  • Designate a family member to plan a game night. This can be for every game night or switch off each time.
  • Turn off the tech! Put the phones on silent, turn off the TV, and tune in to your family game night!
  • Always have a backup game (or two) available. Especially when trying out a new game. This will help you see what everyone is interested in for future gameplay.
  • Bring out the snacks! Craft a kid-friendly charcuterie, break out the hot cocoa, whatever will keep your kid’s tummies full and happy while you play.
  • Most importantly, relax and have fun! When everyone is having a good time, then everyone is more likely to want to engage again next time.

Best Family Games For Families With Young Kids

Babies and Toddlers

While babies and toddlers aren’t really ready for traditional board games, they can still get in on the fun with some help from older siblings, parents, and friends!

My First Railway Light Up Rainbow Set

This simple train set uses sound and light-up colors to teach simple sequencing. To play just watch the blinking lights and drive the train on the path that lit up. Do this for each color of the rainbow and then you get a song and lights reward. While this game is marked for children 18 months and up, younger kids may still enjoy the blinking lights and sounds when they use the set with a caregiver.

My First Railway Light Up Rainbow Set


Great Family Games for Families With Kids Ages 3+

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel

Your forest friends are hungry and they need your help. Spin the spinner, squeeze the matching colored acorn with your squirrel squeezer, and place it into your log. Be the first to fill your log with delicious acorns and you win. You could also spin “pick an acorn, ” “steal an acorn, ” or “lose an acorn, ” so be strategic, little squirrel. The game is easy to understand, so my four year old enjoys playing it more than some other games. It is currently one of our favorite family board games.

Teh Sneaky Snacky Squirrel Game
Sneaky Snacky Squirrel

Sequence

It’s the classic game of Sequence made just for kids! Play an animal card from your hand, and place your chip on the corresponding animal on the board. Wild cards add excitement to the game – use a unicorn card to place your chip anywhere, or use a dragon card to remove an opponent’s chip. The first player with four chips in a row wins! This exciting strategy game helps develop logical thinking skills. Reading is not required to play

Crazy Eights

Classic card game. Easy to play for kids.

Candy Land

This adorable version of the classic Candy Land game features gingerbread men as movers, colored cards, and fun illustrations that kids love, with different destinations like Cookie Commons and the chunky Chocolate Mountain. Candy Land is one of the classic favorite board games for families, and a wonderful introductory game for kids.

Chutes & Ladders 

Climb up and slide down in the exciting game of ups and downs, Chutes and Ladders! The Chutes and Ladders board game for girls and boys has been around for over 60 years and has been enjoyed by families for generations. Players can see the square marked 100, but how will they get there? If a player lands their pawn on a good deed, they can shimmy up a ladder, but land on the wrong spot and they’ll shoot down a chute!

No reading is required to play this simple and easy game for preschoolers. 

Family Treasure Hunt Game

GoTrovo is an action-packed pirate scavenger hunt board game for the whole family.

Hi Ho Cherry O

Preschoolers can have so much fun picking fruit to fill their baskets, that they don’t even realize they’re practicing math skills, such as counting, addition, and subtraction. Players choose from two different play options and take turns picking pretend cherries, blueberries, apples and oranges from their tree. If the spinner lands on a bird or a dog players will have to return cherries to their tree.

Pete the Cat Groovy Buttons

Pete the Cat is the coolest cat ever. Based on the best-selling book series, our Pete the Cat games introduce kids to simple learning concepts wrapped up in fun games. Kids learn color recognition, counting, and decision-making skills. Kids keep on movin’ and groovin’ with Pete the Cat.


Family Games for Kids Ages 4+

Hoot Owl Hoot

Hurry little owls: In this color-coordinated matching game, players cooperate to help the owls fly back to their nest before the sun comes up. Help all the owls home before sunrise and everyone wins!

“A friend just got my 3 year old this game! Fun for the whole family to play together. Highly recommend this one!” ~Amanda

Zingo

Zingo is one of ThinkFun’s most popular and bestselling games, and is the winner of an Oppenheim Gold Award and Parents’ Choice Gold Award, among others. It’s a fun pre-reading game for ages 4 and up. Like all of ThinkFun’s games, Zingo is built to develop critical thinking skills. Playing will improve language skills through fun and fast-paced play.

Zingo numbers bingo

Zingo Sight Words
Zingo Numbers

Banana Blast

Roll the die to see how many bananas you get to pick from the tree top. One of the bananas will make Banana Joe jump, but it’s a different banana every time. If the monkey jumps, all the players must try to catch him before he hits the ground. The player who catches Banana Joe gets a bonus!

Pop the Pig

Pop the Pig is an international preschool classic that is adored by millions of children. Kids roll the die, pop a hamburger into the pig’s mouth and pump his head. The more they pump, the more his belly grows (along with the suspense!) until – pop! The player who makes his belly burst wins the game.

Children can quickly reset the game with one pump of the pig’s head and experience consistent belly-busting gameplay each and every time.

Trouble 

The excitement begins as soon as a player presses the Pop-O-Matic bubble to roll the die. In the Trouble board game, kids race to get all their game pieces around the board; but be careful! A player could get bumped and sent back to the beginning.

Hungry Hungry Hippos

You’ll have a chompin’ good time with Hungry Hippo and his pals! Be ready to join in the feeding frenzy when you release all the marbles onto the game base, because all the hippos will be chomping and your hippo will need to move fast! If he chomps the golden marble, you win! 

Giggle Wiggle

Giggle Wiggle is a cute caterpillar with several hands to spare! Race to place your colored marbles from his bottom row of hands all the way to the top as he wiggles to the music. Watch out – this wiggly caterpillar will try to knock off your marbles. If he does, just pick them up and keep on racing. The first player to get all their marbles on in a row wins! This easy-to-learn, quick-to-play game is a fun, active challenge that will have kids laughing and dancing while they play.

Funny Bunny

Funny Bunny is an adorable game that is perfect for ages 4 and older. 2 to 4 players can race their bunnies up the hill to the giant carrot on top. Players are given four bunnies, and increasingly add them to the board as they draw cards to allow them a number of spaces to move. However, there are “click” cards that allow the player to turn the giant carrot clockwise, which opens pits, lifts bridges, or knocks your bunny off the board! As you move around the board, you can “hop” over other players. This game was highly enjoyed by my preschooler.

Funny Bunny


Best Family Games We Love for Kids Ages 5+

Monopoly Junior

Welcome to the first Monopoly game for kids, where they can earn money the fun way! The Monopoly Junior game is just like the classic Monopoly game, but it’s accessible and exciting for younger players. It’s fast, simple, and full of surprises. Kids choose their favorite Junior token and learn how to pass Go, buy properties, and collect rent. Single banknotes keep transactions fast and easy.

Dragon’s Breath

Dragons and crystal collecting, who could ask for more? This collecting game is part of the wonderful line of board games by HABA. The game follows a family of dragons as they try to get the most gems out of the ice-filled rings by choosing a color gem. Then, Dad Dragon “melts” the ice by removing gems, allowing the gems to fall from the tower to be collected by the kids. The goal is to gather the most gems. The game is engaging and imaginative while lasting around 15 minutes per play, and is the perfect game for family night.

Dragons Breath game

Pumbaa Pass

Any Lion King fan will love this new, exciting, and fun family game featuring a very hungry Pumbaa! Pumbaa’s ready for some tasty grub—icky bugs to you and me! Players take turns feeding him the colorful critters until, well, he tosses his cookies, loses his lunch—you know, pukes. Then it’s time to scramble to find the bugs you need to win! To win Be the first player to match all three bugs on three different leaf cards. 

“Not a board game but got this for our 3yo for his birthday, great for colors, matching and early counting.” ~ Scott

Race to the Treasure

In this game, which has won multiple awards including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award, players try to beat the Ogre to the treasure by creating a path from Start to End. Along the way they need to collect three keys to open the treasure. Players strategize, cooperate and build a path together. If they do it before the Ogre gets there, they all win! 

Scrabble Jr.

What a great way for kids to play America’s favorite word game! Kid-sized words and colorful pictures make it fun to match letter tiles to words on the grid. Players move their funny tokens up the score track as they score points. When all of the tiles have been placed on the board, the player with the most points wins! Don’t worry, your little ones won’t outgrow this game; just turn the board over for the advanced level, where they come up with their own words. It’s going to be letter-matching fun for everyone with Scrabble Junior. 

The Grape Escape

This Play-Doh-based game allows players to create their grape character with clay, and then try to make it through the board game and past the factory contraptions to the grape launcher without getting squished in the process. The key to the game is to get your grape to the launcher and fling it out of the factory first. This game is perfect for ages 5 and up and is quick-paced so it can be played multiple times during family game night.


Great Games for Kids Around Ages 6+

Connect 4

Challenge a friend to disc-dropping fun with the classic game of Connect 4! Drop your red or yellow discs in the grid and be the first to get 4 in a row to win. If your opponent is getting too close to 4 in a row, block them with your own disc! Whoever wins can pull out the slider bar to release all the discs and start the fun all over again! 

Guess Who

Beloved 1980s version of the classic mystery face game is back! There’s a mystery person on your opponent’s card. Can you find the matching face in the crowd? Start with your game full of silly-looking characters. Then ask the right questions to eliminate the wrong faces! Does your person have blue eyes? Is your person wearing a hat? Once you’re down to a face or two – solve the mystery by guessing who! If you’re the first to identify your opponent’s mystery person, you win.

“It’s not a board game per say, but we play Guess Who a lot. We team up, since my 3 year old needs a little help, but she’s getting pretty good at it!” ~Jennifer

Sorry

Slide, collide and score to win the Sorry! Game. Kids draw cards to see how far they get to move one of the pawns on the board. If they land on a Slide they can zip to the end and bump their opponents’ pawns – or their own! Jump over pawns and hide in the Safety zone where opponents can’t go. Kids keep on moving and bumping until they get all three of their pawns from Start to Home.

Operation

In the Operation game, you get to be the doctor and make Cavity Sam better or get the buzzer! Cure him of all his wacky ailments like headphone headaches and gamer’s thumb by picking funny ailment pieces out of the game tray with a pair of tweezers. But watch out! If you touch the sides of the openings, you’ll get the buzzer and light up Cavity Sam’s nose! The player who removes the most ailments wins!

Spot It!

Test your observational skills and your reflexes with the award-winning gameplay of Spot It!, a game of lightning-fast choices for two to eight players. With dozens of awards and possible versions married to elegant gameplay, Spot It! has become a global phenomenon. Five distinct mini-games within a set of Spot It! ensure that the game will be different every time you play, and because it’s always your turn, there’s never any downtime.

Aggravation

Take a trip down memory lane with this retro 1989 edition of the fun family-favorite, the Aggravation Game! It’s The classic marble race game where 2 to 6 players compete. Opponents race around the board from base to home, disrupting each other’s marbles in the quest to be first. 

Ticket to Ride: First Journey

Players of all ages can now venture across America by train in Alan R. Moon’s ticket to ride: first journey. With a brand new map and simplified rules, first journey is the perfect way to introduce new players to the game of cross-country travel while you claim train route. Just like in ticket to ride, players collect train cards, claim routes, and try to connect cities coast-to-coast. In first journey, though, routes are shorter, train cards are drawn straight from the deck, and the game ends when one player Completes six tickets, claiming the Golden ticket as their prize. Ticket to Ride: First Journey is a wonderful starter game when delving into the Spiel des Jahres board game world.

Munchkin Wonderland

One of the many versions of the Steven Jackson Games Munchkin, this version is simplified so that kids as young as 6 can play! This card game is based on Alice in Wonderland and is full of silly jokes, treasure hunting, monster bashing, and more. The game takes about an hour to play and is great for groups of 2 to 6 players. The game is a lot of fun, and is a great starter game if you are looking to get your kids into the Munchkin universe in the future (I know we are!).


Games for Families With Kids Ages 7+

Battleship

This Battleship board game is the classic game of naval combat that brings together competition, strategy, and excitement! In a head-to-head battle, 2 players search for the enemy’s fleet of ships and destroy them one by one. With convenient portable battle cases and realistic-looking naval crafts, the Battleship game puts players right in the middle of the action. Players command a powerful fleet that includes an aircraft carrier, a destroyer, a submarine, a patrol boat, and a battleship. Each player announces the coordinates of each strike and sees if it hits. Battleship still holds its own in comparison to some of the more modern board games, and is truly a classic.

Blink

Blink is a lightning-fast game where two players race head-to-head to be the first to play all of their cards! Using sharp eyes and fast hands, players quickly try to match the shape, count or color on the cards. For instance, a card with four yellow stars could be played on any card with yellow (color), or on a card with stars (shape), or on a card with four symbols (count). Don’t be fooled by the games’ simplicity—your hand and eye coordination will be put to the test! The first player who can rid themselves of all their cards wins. 

Blokus

Stake your claim and protect your territory with the Blokus game! It takes less than a minute to learn, but offers endless strategy and fun challenges for the whole family. Each player gets a set of 21 pieces – in red, blue, green, or yellow – then takes turns placing them on the board. There’s just one rule: each piece you play must touch at least one other piece of the same color, but only at the corners! The goal is to fit the most pieces on the board. The game ends when no more pieces can be placed down, and the player with the lowest number remaining wins!

Labyrinth

Search for treasure deep within the twisting maze! The playing board constantly changes so no two games are ever the same! The cards will determine your quest. Looking for the Dragon? How many routes can you take and also foil your opponents? Try to gain the advantage by inserting the extra tile to move walls and open passages of the labyrinth. Block and advance is the strategy! The first play to reach all of their treasure wins!

“We love labyrinth. Our 5-year-old can play but needs help occasionally. My 10 and 8-year-olds really enjoy trying to beat Mom and Dad.” ~Kristen

Disney Villian Labyrinth

Labyrinth is my family’s absolute favorite board game. This version replaces the original Labyrinth characters and objects with all of your favorite Disney villains. You use the tile pieces to create a random maze on the game board. Each player has a set of cards with characters that they need to collect on their journey through the maze. The maze changes as each player takes their turn, keeping everyone on their toes.

Disney Villains Labyrinth is a 2-4 player game recommended for ages 7-99.

Taco vs. Burrito

TACO vs. BURRITO is a deliciously unpredictable card game where players compete to create the weirdest, wildest meal. Created by Alex Butler, age 7, this game is easy to learn – and not so easy to win. Fun for (and play-tested by) all ages, TACO vs. BURRITO is the ultimate Game Night Food Fight! The game is one of our favorite party games when we have younger family members over.

Sequence Dice

Roll the dice and place a chip on a corresponding number on the game board. Roll a 2 or 12 ….get another turn. Roll a 10…remove an opponent’s chip. Roll an 11…place your chip on any number. Get 5 chips in a row and YOU WIN!

Skip-Bo

Skip-Bo is the ultimate sequencing card game from the makers of UNO! Players use skill and strategy to create stacks of sequentially numbered, ascending cards (2,3,4…) until they have no more left to play. Once everyone is dealt their own personal stockpile of cards, play begins by drawing from a central pile and building up to four “build” piles. The Skip-Bo “wild” cards break up static situations and may be played as any number. Use these cards wisely, for they can really help you beat your opponents! The first player to deplete all of his or her Skip-Bo stockpile cards is the winner!.

UNO

UNO is the classic family card game that’s easy to pick up and impossible to put down! Players take turns matching a card in their hand with the current card shown on top of the deck either by color or number. Special action cards, like Skips, Reverses, Draw Twos, color-changing Wild and Draw Four Wild cards, deliver game-changing moments as they each perform a function to help you defeat your opponents. If you can’t make a match, you must draw from the center pile. And when you’re down to one card, don’t forget to shout “UNO!” The first player to get rid of all the cards in their hand wins. 

UNO DOS
We at UNO have long believed that two is better than one, and now we’re making it official! If you like UNO, you’ll love UNO DOS! In the beloved card game UNO, you (or your team) are trying to be the first to score 500 points. You score points by being the first to get rid of all the cards in your hand, and action cards let you make things more difficult for your opponents. In this twist on the family favorite game, now when you’re down to two cards, don’t forget to yell “Dos!” See why this color-coded card game has been a hit for so many years.


Best Family Games: Best for Ages 8+

Life

In The Game of Life game players choose a path and move their car tokens around the gameboard from Start to Retirement. Who is headed for wealth and fortune? Pick a path for a life of action, unexpected surprises, and dream vacations, but spend cash wisely because the wealthiest player at the end wins the game.

Rack-O

Rack-o was originally released in 1956, and since then families have enjoyed this Rack’Em & score fun-filled card game. This new addition, featuring fine-quality cards with bold numbers, will delight players young and old. Rack-o is timeless fun. Players randomly slot 10 cards on their rack. The race then begins to draw and discard until one player positions 10 cards in numerical sequence from low to high. 

Quixx

This quick-playing dice game will have you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end! Qwixx is simple to play but each decision is crucial – the more numbers you cross off, the more points you score. With no downtime between turns you’ll have a chance to gain from each and every roll. Just one round of this thrilling game and you will be caught up in Qwixx-fever!

SKYJO

The goal is to collect as few points as possible over the course of several turns as after every round every player’s points are counted and added to his score. As soon as a player reaches 100 points or more the player with the fewest points wins. Collecting the fewest points means to look for low or even negative numbers.

Rummikub

With more than 55 million units sold, Rummikub is one of the world’s best-selling and most-played games! It’s really no surprise that Rummikub is so popular – it has all the elements that make a great game: it’s easy to learn and fast moving, it’s different every time it’s played, it combines luck and strategy, and it changes quickly so every player has a chance to win until the very end.

Think Fun Rush Hour

My family went on a lot of road trips when I was a kid, and my brothers and I loved playing this game to keep ourselves entertained. Rush Hour is a logic game that uses cars and trucks on a grid to create a puzzle. Challenge cards are included to show you how to set up the puzzle. The goal of the game is to free the red car from the traffic jam. 

Rush Hour is a 1 person game recommended for ages 8+.

Rush Hour

GeoLogic

Geologic is a one-person world-changing puzzle game. With 60 challenges from beginner to expert, this game is fun for the whole family. The game is recommended for ages 8+ but my 7 year old was able to complete the beginner challenges.

Geologic includes a 30 sided Planet Core and 14 biome tiles. The challenge cards show a picture of how to set up the Planet Core to begin and has a list of which tiles are needed to complete the puzzle. The back of the cards show the answer to the puzzle.

If you’re a fan of logic puzzles, this game is for you!

Geologic

Gravity Maze

This game is just for one person and has three levels: beginner, intermediate, and advanced. The player has to arrange towers of holes and slides to get the marble to the target square. It comes with a gray board and three marbles in case you lose some of your marbles. Don’t do that. 

So how it works is that you choose what level you want to complete and take a card the game provides. On the front of the card is the gray board and it has the colors and placement of the red target block and one other color block that is used in the puzzle. On the bottom are the colors of the other blocks used in that particular puzzle – the trick is that you need to figure out where to place the other blocks in order that the marble slides to the target, red block successfully. If you Google how to play the game, ThinkFun has a YouTube video that explains it better than I am.

We played this with kids ages 8, 9, and 11 years old and they all loved it. I tried it also as an adult and it’s fantastic because it’s one of those games where you have to focus on the puzzle and nothing else. Gravity Maze is especially great for kids who like to play by themselves, for kids who love problem-solving, and for kids who are probably future engineers.


Do a Puzzle Together! Family Puzzles Kids Love

Puzzles are great for kids, teens, and adults because everyone can work on them together. So, these puzzles are getting their own category.

Ravensburger Star Wars The Madalorian Puzzle

This Ravensburger Mandalorian Star Wars Puzzle is great for any Star Wars fan, even the hard-to-buy for teens. The high-quality pieces fit together easily. The whole family can enjoy putting this one together!

Minecraft Ravensburger Puzzle

The puzzle has 300 XL puzzle pieces and will create a picture of a Minecraft scene. It says that the puzzle is for ages 9+ but younger kids who are good at puzzles will have no problems putting the puzzle together. The puzzle pieces are pretty large and fit together perfectly. They are also smooth and easy to handle – I don’t know why I like this but I do. 

If you enjoy both puzzles and Minecraft, you’ll love this one.


Games for Teens: Family Games Teens Will Love

Escape the Room: Murder in the Mafia

If you are feeling bored with some of your usual games, then you should check out an escape room game! ThinkFun’s Escape the Room games are essentially escape rooms in a box. They come cleverly assembled in the box in such a way that you only have to follow a few simple instructions to pop the room up before you’re ready to start looking for clues and playing the game.

Murder in the Mafia is ThinkFun’s newest Escape the Room game, and it’s designed for ages 14 and up, and 1 to 3 players. Solve the office crime scene clues to find the murderer before they find you. This is a cooperative game and there really is no limit on the number of players. But more than 3 people may have some difficulty crowding around the room to find evidence and solve clues. My kids ages 9-14 all participated with my husband and I and we all enjoyed this one.

Throughout the game the story booklet guides you through each chapter as you solve the clues, and see if you can determine who is the murderer. And if you get stuck you can go online for additional clues and assistance.

While other escape room games require you to mark up or cut up game materials, ThinkFun Escape the Room games can be reset to be played again. While you might not want to play it again as you already will know the solution, the game can be passed on for someone else to enjoy.

Additional ThinkFun Escape the Room titles include:

EXIT Games

Another fun version of an escape room board game are EXIT games. You can spread these materials out and a larger group can work to solve these games. Clues are on cards, in booklets, and hidden in the strangest places. The card and solution wheel systems help you get hints if you’re stuck and also guide you from clue to clue. These games can only be played once as solving them often requires cutting or marking up game pieces, but they are worth it for a fun afternoon with family and friends.

EXIT Games: The Abandoned Cabin

Echoes: Audio Mystery Game

Download a free app for Echoes: Audio Mystery Game and use it to scan the cards and listen to the audio hints. Put them together in the right sequence to unlock each chapter with additional story clues. Finally, use the clues to put the story into the right order. This one is a great family teamwork game. The sounds are a little creepy, and the clues require listening carefully. But don’t worry if you get lost, the app can give you clues if you’re stuck!

Wingspan

Wingspan is such a fun game to play if you have a nature lover or even just a teenager who loves strategy as they build their flock of birds. We played the original game, which came with North American birds, each with a quick fact on the bottom of the card that had me geeking out a little. If you like the game, you can buy different expansion packs for birds around the world.

The game has you focus on your own flock of birds, so there is less of a direct competition between players, though, of course, you want to earn points and have the most by the end of the game. The ultimate goal of the game is to have the most points, and you can gain those points by laying eggs, drawing new birds, and gathering food. Plus, you get to roll the dice through an awesome cardboard-built birdhouse that is provided.

Munchkin

A classic deck card game in our home that has been played at least 100 times over the years is Munchkin. It’s an awesome game with silly classes, monsters you’re trying to defeat, and a lot of strategy against your opponents. With curses, combats against monsters, and the opportunity to take your opponent down, there is a lot going on as you try to reach your 10 points.

The cards are the absolute best because they are hilarious and weird. With item cards like “Boots of running really fast” and “pointy hat of power”, your kids will love the silliness. There are some pretty great pictures too. Plus, they get to defeat monsters (or be killed by one if they can not defeat it, but that’s where you can come in to help save their character).

The game is recommended for ages 10 and up and can accommodate 3-6 players, with an average playtime of 1.5 hours. Munchkin has tons of additions, expansion packs, and options to make it creative and more fun over time, so you will never get bored!

What’s your family’s favorite board or card game to play together?


Educational Gifts for kids, and educational gifts for Christmas

Check out these 31+ Educational Gifts so you can put a new skill under the Christmas tree this year!


50+ Experience Gifts in Greenville, SC & Spartanburg, SC That Don’t Take Up Space

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You have found our giant list of experience gifts! Greenville, SC and Spartanburg, SC offer a lot of ideas. If your closet, toy boxes, and toy shelves are a little full, we get it. So, we’ve created a list of experience gifts available in Greenville, Spartanburg, and surrounding areas that families will love. You’ll make memories, learn new things, and they won’t take up any space in the toy box, either!

Experience gift ideas for Greenville, South Carolina

Being a mom, I hang out with lots of moms and one topic of conversation comes up pretty frequently, the massive amounts of “stuff” that our kids accumulate. Over Christmas, there is one solution that I think is brilliant: buy a gift that doesn’t take up space. Creating a memory is priceless. Spending time as a family is essential. These are experiences that will bring smiles, build up families, and won’t end up in a donation bin. You’ll also find some great ideas (Culinary Tour, anyone?) for the grown-ups in your life too!

Petting a snake at Roper Mountain Science Center
Roper Mountain Science Center

Disclaimer: This list does include advertisers, partners, in addition to other businesses that we recommend. This list contains affiliate links at no cost to you.

The Ultimate Greenville, SC Gift Guide

Find the perfect gift with our Ultimate Gift Guide!


Membership Gifts

We have some pretty amazing membership options in the Upstate. Many memberships provide unlimited visits during the year. Trust me. Parents love these as gifts for their kids! Remember, this list is just for informational purposes, and we can’t guarantee pricing. We have provided links to the original sources where you can find the most current information.

Experience Gifts: Greenville, SC Memberships

Play passes – Lots of local, indoor play places have some version of a play pass, where you get either a certain number of entries or unlimited play. Try Village Play, Kids Play & Cafe, Palmetto Proper, SkyZone Fall Pass, or Big Air PLAYer Pass,

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – TCMU is a favorite among many Upstate families and offers so many kid and family activities throughout the year that a membership would be a great gift. Also, don’t forget that in addition to their Greenville campus, they also have a campus in Spartanburg that is designed for children aged 5 and under!

Greenville Zoo – Greenville Zoo memberships include extra perks such as guest tickets and it’s a reciprocal membership which means that you can use your membership to get into other participating zoos at a discounted or free price.

Roper Mountain Science Center – RMSC memberships include admission to weekly planetarium shows, Summer Adventure, Afternoon Explorations, and discounts on other services. Memberships for a family are $95 (homeschool families can take advantage of the teacher price of $90). This membership is also reciprocal. You can read about how my family saved over $100 on vacation one year by using ours.

Greenville Water Parks Season Passes – These memberships include Greenville’s water parks.  Individual memberships for parks start at $62 and go up to $95 per person. The Rec ‘N Crew pass, priced at $155, gets the pass holder admission to all three water parks plus year-round admission to The Pavilion’s Ice Rink and Bounce House.

Flying Rabbit Adventures Annual Pass – You can get an annual pass ($395) and play on the big aerial course for 2.5 hours a day when the adventure course is open. Super fun!

Family memberships to local gyms and recreational facilities offer not just access to exercise equipment and swimming pools but also discounted prices on classes, sports, and more. Joining fees and monthly fees vary on the specific facility in Greenville.

Upcountry History Museum – A membership at the Upcountry History Museum not only includes unlimited visits but also access to their Family Fun Days, UHM Kids Book Club, and more!  A family membership is $105 for the year.

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide

Membership Gifts in Spartanburg

If you live in Spartanburg or don’t mind driving 30 minutes from Greenville, Hub City has plenty of family fun to offer!

The Children’s Museum of the Upstate – While this museum’s Spartanburg location is geared for younger children (5 years and under), the membership is reciprocal and can be used at both the Greenville museum and the Spartanburg museum.

The YMCA of Greater Spartanburg – Any kid and their parents will be thrilled with a YMCA membership because it means they have access to all the YMCA fun!

Big Air Trampoline Park – The indoor trampoline park in Greenville and Spartanburg is a super fun place to visit, but it can add up quickly. That’s why families love the monthly membership packages that include daily two-hour jump sessions.

Shipwreck Cove – Go ahead and purchase a season pass to Shipwreck Cove waterpark in Duncan and parents and kids will be thanking you for making summer wet and wild.

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide


Event Tickets as Experience Gifts: Greenville, SC & The Upstate

I don’t know about you but my kids absolutely love being spectators. Sometimes I catch them in a state of wonder or amazement when I take them to sporting events, plays, music performances, and even monster truck rallies. Not only do event tickets make a great gift for children but they can also be a great way to treat a whole family or plan for a special date for the grandparents and kids.

Ticket Gifts in Greenville

Swamp Rabbits Hockey – My kids absolutely love hockey. It’s a fun, family-friendly environment. Check the schedule for fun promotional night events.

Furman University basketball tickets – Grab tickets to the local university’s basketball games.

Clemson Tigers – Clemson football fans would love tickets to a home game.

Greenville Theatre – The Greenville Theatre features musicals, dramas, comedies, and more throughout the year.

South Carolina Children’s Theatre – The SCCT has performances for everyone. They also offer programming for younger audiences via their Tell-Me-A-Story Theatre. During the summer months, kids can take advantage of their classes and summer camps. And it all takes part in their bright and shiny theatre on Augusta Street!

Greer Cultural Arts Council – In addition to productions by the Greer Children’s Theatre, the Greer Cultural Arts Council also offers courses in the arts, dance, drama, literature, and music.

Peace Center – The Peace Center has many offerings including Broadway shows and music performances.

The Well also has a fun round-up of family-friendly events.

Here are two excellent options for tickets as an experience gift:

Get ready for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Greenville, SC and beyond

This year, you can put tickets to the circus under the tree! in February, The Well will feature the new Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus! Get your tickets now for a show from February 9th -11th, 2024 and you’ll be putting the Circus under your tree this year!

Check out our Kidding Around Review of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus!

The Well is also home to Monster Jam! You can grab tickets now for Monster Jam on April 6th and 7th, 2024. Monster Jam is always a family favorite. Here’s our Kidding Around Review of Monster Jam.

Monster Jam monster truck
Monster Jam at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena

Greenville Drive – Baseball games are always fun, especially at the family-friendly Fluor Field, where they even have a playground on site.

Greenville Triumph or Greenville Liberty– The Greenville Triumph soccer team wows fans young and old.

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Ticket Gifts in Spartanburg

Spartanburg Little Theatre – Local theatre company that performs shows for various age groups

Spartanburg Youth Theatre – Local youth theatre that performs shows for kids by kids

Ballet Spartanburg – Performs beautiful ballet at Chapman Cultural Center

Greer Cultural Center – Venue for music concerts and Greer Children’s Theatre performances. It also hosts classes in a range of arts, dance, drama, literature, and music.

College Sports Tickets – Cheer on a hometown team with tickets to a local college’s sporting events. Local schools include ClemsonUSC UpstateWofford, and Converse.

Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium – Hosts a variety of live events such as Charlie Brown Christmas and Disney Junior Live

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide


Local Classes as Experience Gifts: Greenville, SC & The Upstate

Purchasing a class is a great way to have fun learning. While this list is not comprehensive it includes several of our favorite options.

Class Gifts in Greenville

Dance Without Limits– Dance Without Limits offers dance classes beginning as young as 18 months in their Mommy and Me Dance Class all the way through advanced dance classes. Ballet, tap, lyrical, and tumbling classes are available as well as summer camps. Dance is for everyone at Dance Without Limits.

Kindermusik with Piano Central Studios – Kindermusik is a great way to introduce music to a baby or toddler.

Yellowbobbypins Art– This amazing art studio at Hampton Station offers virtual gift cards, so you can gift the kids in your life art classes and lessons!

Color Clay Cafe – This pottery studio offers painting and other art designs for both adults and children. You can also enjoy Open Studio times outside of classes.

I9 Sports – This youth sports league offers a range of different sports options for children.

Sylvan Learning – For kids who enjoy an extra challenge, Sylvan Learning provides a full range of interesting classes including classes on robotics and coding.

The Little Gym – This local children’s gym is a favorite of our readers!

Daily Bread Baking Class – Take a baking class at Bluebird Homestead or give as a gift.

bread making class at Bluebird Homestead
Rolling the amazing pizza roll at Bluebird Homestead baking class

Also, you can purchase certificates for Art Workshops through the  Greenville Center for Creative Arts, Spartanburg Art Museum, and more. Many of these workshops are excellent parent and child bonding experiences.

Acrosmith Gymnastics, Airborne Athletics, and Greenville Gymnastics all offer classes year-round. If you’ve got a budding gymnast, buying them classes for a month is a great gift.

Roller Time Skating Academy offers roller skating lessons and summer camps for beginners through advanced skaters.

Goldfish Swim School offers a holiday package deal for a gift of swim! They have gift bundles with 3 months of lessons, 2 months of lessons, or $100 gift cards.

Climb @ Blue Ridge has gift cards in just about any amount, so the climber in your family can learn how to excel at the sport.

Vino & Van Gogh has gift cards available for 2-hour classes (adult and children), summer camp, after-school camps, couples painting classes, and parent/child painting classes!

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide

Class Gifts in Spartanburg

Spartanburg Youth Theatre – Offers theatre classes for kids preschool – high school

Sylvan Learning Center – In addition to tutoring, Sylvan Learning Center also offers Robotics for Kids.

Spartanburg Science Center Lego Robotics Club – Offers after-school Lego robotics clubs for kids 6-12 years old

Musikgarten at Lawson Academy for the Arts – Offers music classes for kids 0-7 years old at Converse College

Spartanburg Art Museum – Offers art classes from preschool through adult classes at Chapman Cultural Center

For even more ideas, see our giant Activity & Classes Guide which will help you find:

  • Martial Arts Classes
  • Ballet Classes
  • Gymnastics and Cheer Classes
  • Equestrian Experiences
  • and more!

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide


Local Experience Gifts: Greenville, SC & The Upstate

Making memories through shared experiences and new adventures is always a win! Whether for yourself, you and your significant other, or the whole family, the Upstate has plenty of neat experiences to explore. Nothing is easier than handing over a gift voucher to something exciting!

Experience Gifts in Greenville

Greenville Culinary Tours – I was invited to experience the Greenville Culinary Tour myself and hands down, it’s an absolutely awesome gift idea. The price is an excellent value and I would definitely do it again. Tickets include food and a drink at each location.

Escape Artist Greenville – Our team here at Kidding Around has done three of the escape rooms and had a blast. This is a perfect date night activity or just for fun with friends.

Wine & Design – This art studio offers canvas painting classes for adults and even has an Art Buzz kids line of classes for children.

Trapped in the Upstate – This escape room in Greer will test your problem-solving skills while delivering a fun night of entertainment.

Ice on Main – Ice skating on Main Street would make the perfect treat for the kids (or a special someone).

Once Upon a Dream Parties – Did you know that you hire a princess for as little as $50?

Topgolf Greenville – Take a few swings and have a great meal together. Fun for the whole family (they even have kid clubs available).

Mad Smash Rage Room – Get out your frustrations by smashing a whole bunch of stuff in a smash room. Kids ages 8+ can participate.

Moo Cow Farm – Enjoy cuddles with cows at this farm in Simpsonville. It’s a great gift for the animal lover.

Flying Rabbit Adventures – They’ve got two huge ropes and obstacle courses with zip lines plus a pump track. This is a really fun experience for the whole family.

Denver Downs Farm – Get your family Denver Downs tickets for an awesome fall experience!

The Pavilion– You can get a 10-visit pass for the bounce house at The Pavilion in Taylors, SC for just $85. You can also get a youth ice skating 10-visit pass for only $65 and an adult one for $85!

Speed Factory Indoor Karting– With locations in Greenville, SC and Spartanburg, SC, this indoor karting place offers gift cards starting at $5.

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide

Experience Gifts in Spartanburg

Big E Gaffney – Movies, putt-putt, bowling, ropes course, and more

East Main Arts – Offers a variety of adult paint and wine parties, as well as family arts and costumed character appearances

Hearts of Clay – A Spartanburg local favorite. This is a spot to make personalized art and pottery.

Spartanburg County Historical Association – Support your local historical association by purchasing a membership, which will provide you with free or discounted admission to properties and special events

Trapped in the Upstate – Trapped in the Upstate also has a Spartanburg location with more puzzles to solve together, including Prison Break and Striking Gold.

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide


Good Gifts No Matter Where You Live

While the Upstate has plenty to offer, there are plenty of good clutter-busting and memory-making gifts to be found in almost any community.

South Carolina State Park Passport– State Park Passports are great for families who love the outdoors. The All Park Passport is $99 and gives you access to all 47 state parks, including some lighthouses. And if you’re shopping for someone who doesn’t live in South Carolina, there is surely a similar program for their home state’s park system!

Nail or Spa Gift Certificates – A spa gift certificate is another excellent choice – especially for busy moms. One of our local favorites is Drift Float! Buy a float for someone in your life who needs to relax (or yourself, no judgment here). We did it and it was awesome.

Drift Float spa in Greenville, South Carolina
Drift Spa

Pool Memberships – Even though it is too cold to swim right now, you can always plan ahead. Purchase a family pool membership so the kids can enjoy the pool all summer long.

Photography – Book a local photographer to capture photographs of your family – and don’t forget to print them out to give to the gift recipient!

Indoor Play Ideas (check our rainy day guide for a massive list of places that offer bouncing or play during the day)

Meal Delivery Services / Grocery Delivery – Help out a busy family by paying the fee for a meal delivery or grocery delivery service such as Shipt (for groceries) or Hello Fresh (for meals). Need inspiration? See how you can Get Those Groceries Delivered in Upstate, SC!

Gift cards to local restaurants – My family always loves receiving gift cards to local restaurants since we don’t eat out often. In addition to the many chain restaurant gift card options, most local Spartanburg restaurants offer gift cards as well.

Subscription Boxes – Subscription boxes are all the rage and there are a ton to choose from! Most subscription boxes allow you to choose the increment (monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly). Plus, they offer them for kids (i.e., books, arts & crafts) and adults (i.e., coffee, adult beverages, to name a few). While I’ve never tried it, I’ve heard other parents say that they love Kiwi Crate and try Tinker Crate for older children. There are also local subscription boxes you can pick up directly, like Big Play in a Box.

Streaming Services Subscriptions (Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sling) – Help a family cut the cord by paying for a subscription to a streaming TV service.

Summer Camp – Summer camp is an amazing gift. Many places will soon open their registrations. My child had a blast last summer at Conestee Camp with Greenville Rec and Space Camp at The Children’s Museum of the Upstate. If you need inspiration, check out our massive Summer Camp Guide!

Attractions Dining & Value Guide – One of my absolute favorite ideas is the Attractions Book. You can purchase them online and they are offered for Greenville, Spartanburg, and several other parts of South Carolina. It supports local businesses and the coupons are quite good. It would make an excellent stocking stuffer! Ask around as many schools and non-profits sell this book as a fundraiser.

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide


Day Trip Gifts

One of the benefits of living in the Upstate is that we’re sandwiched in between several cities that offer plenty of family fun activities–many of which are easily worth an hour or so of driving!

The Georgia Aquarium – We took our child to the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta several years ago for his birthday and he still talks about it!

The Biltmore An annual pass at the Biltmore includes not only admission to the house but also to the farm where kids can pet chickens and goats, the winery, and discounts on tickets to Dollywood and Tweetsie Railroad.

The Biltmore

Dollywood – The beloved theme park is only three hours from Greenville and is fun for the whole family, especially during special holiday events like the nightly Christmas parade or the fall Pumpkinfest. Dollywood’s Splash Country is also amazing in the summer. Plus, preschoolers can get a free season pass! (Read our review!)

Anakeesta – Also in East Tennessee, this mountaintop village is just magical. The views are stunning and you can eat dinner or watch an outdoor movie overlooking the Smoky Mountains. They have seasonal events and offer year-round passes.

WNC Nature Center – Located in Asheville, the WNC Nature Center focuses on animals and plants in the southern Appalachian mountains. The center includes lots of shade, walkways, and natural playgrounds and is perfect for a day trip with little children.

Discovery Place – A hands-on science museum located in Charlotte

Ellaberry Llama Farm – This farm in Hendersonville is amazing. You can play with llamas!

Carowinds – A theme park located in Concord (Charlotte area) with tons of rides designed for their littlest visitors!

Hands On! Children’s Museum – A children’s museum located directly on Hendersonville’s charming Main Street, the Hands On! Children’s Museum has a target audience of children aged ten and under.

Mountain Play Lodge – An indoor play space for children in Arden that features two large climbing areas, complete with steps, multiple slides, and overhead tunnels with obstacles to climb over, around, and through.


Cool Places to Stay Experience Gifts

Why not book an amazing overnight with your family or partner for an unforgettable experience gift? Here are some awesome places to do so.

Alice's White Bunny Cottage
Alice’s White Bunny Cottage

Magical Mountain Resorts in Hayesville, NC – Stay in any number of themed cabins and buses! We loved the Alice’s White Bunny cabin.

The Ridge Outdoor Resort in Sevierville, TN – Stay in a glamping tent complete with a bathroom, bedrooms, kitchen, and living space.

Getaway Cabin at Lake Hartwell, SC – Experience the outdoors while staying cozy and comfortable in tiny cabins.

Saluda Outdoor Center in Greenville, SC – Either get a head start on booking a place where you can also go tubing over the summer or just get away at these nearby cabins, just five miles outside Greenville.

KOA in Travelers Rest, SC – You don’t need to go far for a unique overnight! Stay in a covered wagon at the KOA in Travelers Rest.

Emberglow Outdoor Resort in Mill Spring NC – Stay at any number of comfortable and pet-friendly glamping accommodations.

Sky Ridge Yurts in Bryson City, NC – This is one of our favorite places to stay in the region. The yurts are beautiful, comfortable, and have great views.

Westgate Myrtle Beach in SC – The resort has pools, a splash pad, and is right on the ocean.

Wilderness at the Smokies in Sevierville, TN – With three waterparks open in the summer and the largest indoor waterpark in Tennessee, Wilderness is at the top of our travel list when planning a fun family getaway.

Back to the top: Experience Gift Guide


Holiday and Christmas events in Greenville, SC

Have a wonderful holiday with our List of Holiday and Winter Events and Things to Do.


Shop the 2023 Greenville Christmas Market at the Grand Bohemian Lodge

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Have you visited the Greenville Christmas Market at the Grand Bohemian Lodge in Downtown Greenville, SC? Beautifully decorated with a merging of a southern Christmas with a micro version of a traditional European Christmas market, this open-air market is certain to spark holiday joy.

The holiday market hosts local vendors, live music, serves holiday-themed food and beverages, and even offers the opportunity for your little one to visit with Santa to give him that very special list. You can explore the Greenville Christmas Market in Downtown Greenville on select dates from November 24th, 2023 – December 31st, 2023.

christmas market greenville
The Greenville Christmas Market

The Greenville Christmas Market at the Grand Bohemian Lodge

Located in the heart of Downtown Greenville at Falls Park, the Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville is hosting the second Greenville Christmas Market from November 24th, 2023 – December 31st, 2023. You know you are close when you smell the gorgeous Christmas tree near the exit of Liberty Bridge. Located outside on the lawn in front of the hotel, the market is open rain or shine. The market features local vendors, offering the perfect Christmas gifts, decor, and maybe even something special for yourself.

Along with all the wonderful shopping opportunities, guests can enjoy the decorations that adorn the already impressive architecture of the hotel. Vendors serve holiday-inspired food and beverages that complement the Christmas decor, making the market more of a holiday experience rather than a shopping venture. The Greenville Christmas Market is even open on Christmas Eve, in case you need to pick up a few special gifts before Christmas Day.

Shopping at the Greenville Christmas market
The Greenville Christmas Market in 2022

Meet and Greet with Santa

There is no better place to meet Santa than at a gorgeous ski lodge while sipping hot chocolate and relaxing under the mesmerizing lights of the Christmas decorations. The Grand Bohemian Lodge offers just that, but a little closer to home than European mountains. Santa will be meeting children on select dates throughout the month.

Santa will arrive by sleigh on Friday, November 24th around 4 pm, something your kids will love! Parents can snap the perfect photo to capture that special memory with the big man before doing some shopping. Don’t forget your camera during your visit, there are many holiday photo opportunities, especially in front of the brilliantly decorated Christmas tree on the market lawn.

Santa Dates

Santa will be at the lodge on November 24-25, December 2,9,16, and December 18-24, 2023. The hours vary, with most dates having a meet and greet with Santa for a two-hour window between 4 pm and 6 pm or 5 pm and 7 pm. Christmas Eve, Santa will be at the lodge from 1 pm – 3 pm. Be sure to check the times before heading to the market so you do not miss him!

Kid’s Corner

The Kid’s Corner will be open:

  • Saturday, November 25th – December 23, 2023, from 4 pm – 6 pm
  • Sunday, November 26th – December 24th, 2023, from 1 pm – 3 pm
  • Week of Christmas, December 18th – December 22, 2023, from 3 pm – 5 pm
Greenville Christmas Market scenes
The Greenville Christmas Market

Other Holiday Happenings in Downtown Greenville

After checking out the market, there are a lot of other Downtown holiday happenings to enjoy! You can walk on over to Ice on Main, located at the Courtyard Marriott near the Peace Center. There is also the wonder-filled Festival of Trees found in Embassy Suites, Courtyard Marriott, and The Hyatt Regency Greenville which features festive trees decorated by dozens of organizations throughout Greenville County.

While you are walking down Main Street, be sure to look for all of the delightful window wonderland displays. You can even vote for your favorite holiday display. You will also find dozens of free holiday things to do in Greenville, making the season a little more merry and bright!

When You Can Visit the Greenville Christmas Market

The Greenville Christmas Market at the Grand Bohemian Lodge will run from November 24th, 2023 to December 31st, 2023 on select dates. The market is open on Christmas Eve. The market opens on weekends at 10 am with the exception of Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve at 12 pm. The week of Christmas, the market is open daily from Sunday, December 17th, 2023 through Saturday, December 24th, 2023.

Greenville Christmas Market
Grand Bohemian Lodge Greenville
44 East Camperdown Way
Greenville, SC

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