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 well-being, 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 on 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 curated some ideas to help you along the way. These ideas can be adapted for your kids, grandkids, friends kids, and you can scale the cost of the idea to your 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 are 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 or for a sports club? Often you can even buy gift vouchers for kids classes and clubs – for example Flutterbabies, Messy Monkeys and RugbyTots offer these for their baby & pre-school classes.
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 2018, by giving tickets or passes for days out.
Buy a family ticket for an attraction such as Eureka or The Deep, and your tickets let you go back all year for free.
Consider getting a family season ticket for an attraction you love, such as Harewood House, 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. (Keep an eye out for theie EXCLUSIVE MUMBLER offer on our Mumbler advent calendar in December!)
Or try Oxygen Freejumping trampoline park who offer passes which let you bounce every day for a month!
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 Everyman Leeds, or 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 sporting event. George’s Marvellous Medicine is coming up in March at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and keep an eye on Northern ballet for their Ugly Duckling tour dates – 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 the Wonky Donkey sanctuary in Knottingley you can adopt a donkey for only £3 a month, and you get invited along to special adopter’s days during the year. At Hope Pastures pony sanctuary in Leeds, you can also adopt a pony (£15) or book a private tour and pony grooming experience (£30) for your little pony fans.
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 Junior Kitchen run a variety of kids cookery classes in Morley, and Leeds Cookery School in Gipton are running some special Mumbler parent & child workshops in the Christmas holidays & February half term. (Another one to watch out for on our Mumbler advent calendar in December!)
Good luck with your shopping & have a very Merry Christmas!
Don’t forget to join our Wharfedale Mumbler Chat Group and share your thoughts and tips with other local families.