When you ask children what makes them happy, they don’t often talk about material things. They prioritise spending time building relationships with their family and friends and having lots of stimulating things to do, especially outside. These measures contribute to a child’s wellbeing, and worryingly the UK are currently 16th out of 21 countries for child well-being according to UNICEF research. (You can read more about this in the UNICEF report into Children’s wellbeing in the UK, Sweden & Spain: the role of inequality and materialism).
So, if you’re thinking about moving the focus more towards gifting time and memories this year, we’ve collected some ideas to help. These ideas can be adapted for your kids, grandkids, friends kids, and there’s something for every budget.
Make your own gift experience vouchers
Why not create your own little book of coupons for special treats that your kids can redeem and enjoy throughout the year? You can personalise it to include the things that your kids love doing with you.
If you’re feeling crafty you can make them yourself (see image, have a look on Pinterest for some ideas!), or you can download & edit a digital version online and just print them yourself.
Give the gift of kids classes
There’s so many classes available locally for kids of all ages to get involved in – and if your kids are like mine, they want to do it all!
Why not gift a term of music lessons, dance classes, sports coaching or gymnastics. Check out our listings of baby & pre-school classes, or school-age classes for loads more ideas.
Plan some special days out
Make plans to create some fantastic family memories in 2019, by giving tickets or passes for days out.
Buy a family ticket for an attraction such as Eureka, The Deep, or Yorkshire Wildlife Park and your tickets let you go back all year for free.
Consider getting a family season ticket for an attraction you love, such as such as Lotherton Hall, Grasshopppers at Tong Garden Centre, Harlow Carr Gardens or the National Trust.
Get yourself a copy of the Purple Vouchers book to get discounted entry to hundreds of local attractions throughout the year.
Oxygen Freejumping trampoline park offer passes which let you bounce every day for a month and at Go Ape In Temple Newsamyou can gift a session on one of the 3 different high rope course, depending on the height of your child.
If you’ve got a little thrill seeker in the family, why not head for a day out at a local theme park. Light Water Valley and Flamingo Landare both within a 90-minute drive of Wharfedale & Craven. Or if you’ve got younger children, why not try Sundown Adventureland near Retford. It’s specifically for children under 10 years old and annual passes are available.
Take in a show
If your kids love the big screen you could give them a special ‘date’ trip to the cinema just one on one with you to see a film of their choice.
Snuggle up on a sofa at the Ilkley Cinema or at Everyman Leeds, relax in a recliner at the Odeon Luxe Leeds-Bradfordor why not check out the new Cineworld at the White Rose centre?
If they are fans of live action & performance, why not think about tickets to a show at the theatre, the ballet or a sports event. Around The World In 80 Days is coming up in April at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and Disney On Ice returns to the First Direct Arena in March – perfect for younger kids.
Enjoy an animal experience
If your little ones love their furry friends, you could plan a trip to a farm, the zoo, or the wildlife park. If you want to get a bit more hands on, Yorkshire Wildlife park run animal experiences where you can go behind the scenes with the keepers to feed the giraffes or enjoy playtime with the baboons!
At Hope Pastures pony sanctuary in Leeds you can a adopt a pony (£15) or book a private tour and pony grooming experience (£30) for your little pony fans.
Or if you’re thinking about an adoption package, Guide Dogs For The Blind have a lovely sponsorship package which allows you to support a puppy’s training to become a qualified Guide Dog. They’ll give you regular ‘Pupdates’ following your puppy’s journey and lots of photos to keep.
Cook up a storm
If you have a budding MasterChef at home, why not plan some 1:1 time running your own home cooking sessions? Find some family favourite recipes and help your child build some skills in the kitchen. They will love getting messy and feel proud of sitting down to eat what they’ve made.
However, if you don’t fancy cleaning up the mess, you’re in luck as Cook Stars run a variety of kids cookery classes in Skipton.
Take in some sport
If your child is more of a sports fan why not consider a ticket for Leeds United, Leeds Rhino’sor Yorkshire County Cricket? Some offer half season tickets too, if you’d like to take in more than one game but don’t want the cost of a full season. Or if they’re a true sports fan, what about a stadium tour?