If you’re looking for experience gifts for teens, you’re in the right place!
Whether it’s the gift-giving season, the holiday season or a birthday, these experience gift ideas are perfect for older kids, including teenage girls and tennage boys.
If you’re not sure what experience gifts are, the benefits, how to give them and how to afford them, I cover that all here.
I have all the ideas broken down by interest so you can find some ideas that are most likely to interest the teen. But don’t be afraid to push them outside of their comfort zone a little so they try new things. This is a list of experiences after all!
Since teens can be hard to shop for, a lot of people will resort to giving a gift certificate so the teen can pick out what they want. This year you can upgrade those gift cards with the perfect experience gift card.
The best part is these ideas will put a smile on a teens face, not just when they open it, but as they’re experiencing it too.
There’s no way you won’t find something to give on this list of great experience gifts. It’s not just more video games, material things and other physical gifts, it’s about living life and creating new skills and memories.
Alright, let’s get into the best experience gifts for teens.
Art Based Experience Gifts for Teens
If you have an artsy teen, some art based experience gifts may be the perfect fit.
Some of the great teen art experiences gifts you can consider are:
#1 Arts and crafts supplies
Art supplies are a great gift for the crafty teen and it lets them use their creativity as they can make whatever they want with their new supplies.
#2 Art kits
Trying to figure out what your teenager may need for a specific art project can be frustrating, which is why I tend to lean towards just picking up an art kit that comes with the project idea, all materials and instructions.
Take this DIY wall collage for example.
This way I know they will have everything they need and be able to figure out what to do independently.
I signed my daughter up for pottery classes. They did a mix of hand sculpting and using the pottery wheel. It completely piqued her interest so her next gift was her own pottery wheel.
We found this fun sculpting kit with modeling clay and tools.
If you don’t think your teen is ready for a wheel or hasn’t taken a class, this pottery kit is a good one to start with.
There’s so much kids can do with sewing. My daughter was introduced to sewing by her grandmother and has since made doll clothes, a travel neck pillow, lavender door hangers, pillow cases and so much more.
To make sure she was really interested, we signed her up for sewing classes near us to see if she wanted to continue afterwards. When she did, we bought an inexpensive sewing machine.
Although that didn’t last long as it was horrible and frustrating which quickly took the fun out of it. We ended up buying a higher quality sewing machine and she has made so much with it so it was definitely worth the purchase.
#5 An Art / Learning Subscription
Since teens can do so much independently, a subscription to an art site that has access to unlimited how-to videos and classes on so many art topics is something so fun for any artsy teen.
My daughter started a subscription as a pre-teen and continues her subscription with Creative Bug. We’ve also tried SkillShare as well which is great for art and other types of classes as well.
It’s easy to pick up a calligraphy kit, calligraphy pens and paper.
Many teens love to be able to capture pictures of their friends and fun things they do. Scrapbooking can be a really fun way for them to use their creativity to organize their photos and memories.
Theatre and Live Shows
#8 Live Shows
Live shows are great experiences for teens as it introduces them to a different art form.
When I take my teens to shows, we also talk about the many different roles that go into the production so they can understand the work that goes into it and see the types of roles they may be most interested in from lighting, to directing, to costumes and actual performing.
#9 (Family-Friendly) Comedy Show
Teens don’t typically have the opportunity to visit comedy shows as most of them are not at all kid or teen friendly. Between the language and the topics, comedy shows aren’t always the best option.
There are more and more comedy venues that are holding family-friendly comedy and improv shows that the whole family can see. So check the comedy venues near you to see if they are available in your area.
Typically these shows are held a little earlier in the night before their adult-only shows so you don’t have to worry about getting them home too late either.
#10 Concert tickets
Concerts make for a great time for teens, especially if you pretend to (or actually do) enjoy the music they like. This is a good way to connect and give them a new experience.
Animal Experience Gifts for Teens
If you want to put a smile on your teens face (yes, even those who won’t crack a smile often), put them around some animals.
Animals have a great way of relaxing people and putting a smile on their face.
These are some of the animal experiences we love to give:
#11 Animal Encounters or Experiences
There are so many awesome animal encounters and experiences that let you not only learn about them but get up and close with them.
Take your local zoo for instance. They likely have “behind the scenes” or “VIP” experiences. These give you a private tour to specific enclosures to meet certain animals and learn about their care. These are truly some amazing experiences. But it’s not just zoos, look at other animal farms, sanctuaries and rescues as well.
You can also do unique experiences like goat yoga, an alpaca visit or a ranch / sanctuary tour.
#12 Visit a Farm
There are so many ways to visit farms from some of the larger, well-known farms in your area, farms with petting zoos, baby farm animal visits in the spring and smaller, lesser known farms with all kinds of animals.
Sometimes it’s the smaller farms that end up surprising us the most and we have the most fun visiting.
#13 Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is one of my teens favorite things to do. Whether we find her a place she can ride a horse herself or go as a whole family, she loves the experience.
I think it’s something about connecting with such an animal while at the same being outside and taking in the fresh air and scenery.
Sports Experience Gifts for Teens
If you have athletic teens, there are so many fun sports experiences for them. It’s always good to introduce them to something new or something they may not think of on their own to try as well.
And even if your teens aren’t athletic, you just may be surprised and some of these experience gift ideas may end up interesting them.
Let’s have a look at some options…
#14 Archery classes
#15 Trapeze lessons
#16 Ninja warrior gyms
With the excitement around the American Ninja Warrior show, there have been more and more Ninja Warrior gyms popping up.
My son signed up for a membership to the ninja gym closest to us and he was able to go to a weekly class and more open gym times during the week.
This is a great way for teens to strategize, communicate, exercise and build muscle.
They also have open gym even if you aren’t a member so you can just pay for the sessions you want.
Some gyms even have ways for the teens to join competitions as well.
#17 Golf Passes or Classes
Whether it’s a golf range, mini golf or a game-inspired venue like Top Golf, this is a different sport many teens don’t try. Especially with places like Top Golf or similar venues, it can be something they are surprised how much they like.
#18 Tickets to a Sporting Event
Attending a sports game is a blast even if you aren’t a sports fan or aren’t athletic yourself.
Sometimes they have special themed nights or even family nights which can be extra fun (or even offer a discount).
Add some extra tickets for their closest friends and you just may become mom or dad of the year!
#19 Rock Climbing
Rock climbing is a great way….to get some exercise, have fun and spend time together.
A lof of teen and tween boys especially love jumping and climbing so this is often a hit with them especially.
There are a lot of indoor rock climbing facilities these days that offer safe ways for teens to climb without you having to worry about them.
#20 Work With a Personal Trainer
Teens can make a lot of progress working directly with a personal trainer and it makes them feel kind of grown up too!
Whether they have sports, strength or weight goals, there are so many great reasons to work with a personal trainer.
#21 Yoga Classes
#22 A Gym Membership
This can be a regular gym membership, climbing gym membership
#23 Sign-Up for a Race
We’ve done several as a family including a 1K (when the kids were younger), a 5K and even a mud run and foam run that came for a limited time near us.
#24 Fitness or Yoga Classes
Sometimes kids don’t want a gym membership for weight training and cardio but may be very interested in some of the fitness classes offered at these gyms (or even a gym dedicated to a specific type of fitness).
You may be able to find:
- And other types of fun fitness classes
Music Experience Gifts for Teens
#25 Music Lessons
Music lessons, like guitar lessons or piano lessons, are a great way to get teens involved in something that they can enjoy and music just makes you feel good.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box and get them music lessons in lesser played instruments like the ukulele or the djembe.
Note: check the theater section above for more musical experience gift ideas
Action Experience Gifts for Teens
#26 ATV Rental or Guided Tour
#28 Axe and Knife Throwing
Educational & Skill Based Experience Gifts for Teens
I love giving educational and skill based experience gifts, especially when the learning is wrapped in fun so they don’t even see it as learning.
Let’s look at some of these educational based gifts that will keep teens engaged (and secretly learning).
#29 Museum Passes
Or if you know your teen really enjoys a particular museum or type of museum (like the local science center for example), a great option is to consider an annual pass so they can enjoy the activity all year long.
#30 Language course
These could be online or in-person.
Educational Streaming Service
A lot of teens love their screen time so why not replace their current screentime with some educational based shows. Curiosity Stream, a documentary streaming service, is a great option and comes with seemingly unlimited options covering a wide variety of topics.
#31 Workshop for New Skill
My son had been asking for a pocket knife for awhile and also was interested in swords (from his karate class). While I wasn’t in love with the idea of him having one of those, I found a local blacksmithing class where he could make his own sword.
#32 Let Them Test Their Knife Skills
Speaking of knives, I got my son a book on whittling along with a whittling kit and wood to try carving small wood pieces.
He absolutely loved it! It was a great way for him to do a more teen activity, kept him busy and he felt accomplished as he progressed.
#33 Take a Recreational Class
Looking at your local city or county recreational facilities is a great place to find a variety of classes, workshops and experiences.
I like to use these to introduce something new they haven’t tried before and then if they are interested, we can buy more materials they need at home or enroll them in an advanced course.
This is a great way to test out a new skill!
#34 Photography Kit
With cell phones, teens are taking more and more pictures. Getting them a teen camera or signed up for an intro to photography course is a great way to help them feel like they can take better pictures.
Photography can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. For a long time my teen was happy with this little photography kit they could use with their cell phone. It was inexpensive and she used it all the time.
Tip: check with your local library. Our library even had a small DSLR kit the kids could check out for a week to try it out. If available, this is a great way to save money before splurging on your own kit.
Outdoor & Nature Based Experience Gifts for Teens
This is my favorite category of experience gifts for teens. There are so many studies that show how important sunlight and being in nature is for kids, teens included.
And there’s such a variety of ways to get them outside (and dare I say…trick them to go outside if you need to). Here’s some outdoor gift ideas to get you started…
#35 Hiking Gear
#36 Camping Trip
Whether you have your own camping gear or can borrow some from a friend, planning a camping trip around your teen (even though you all will go), is fun.
You can plan on visiting their favorite spot or going to a campsite near an attraction that would excite them.
Want to get them a camping specific experience gift? Here’s a whole list of camping gift ideas.
#37 Garden Supplies
We have a tiny backyard. So much so that we really don’t do anything at all back there. I really wanted my teens to use the space so we’ve slowly started to set-up games and areas they will enjoy spending time alone or with friends.
We decided to plant a small garden. We didn’t know anything about gardening, and still don’t, but we started with some really easy plants, like these fast growing seeds for kids, and since they’ve started to see some of the fruits of their labor, it has been rewarding.
And perhaps the biggest benefit is they like to eat what they grow. Yep, my teens are eating some of the veggies she grew voluntarily!
#38 Get a National Park Pass (& This Book)
Visiting some National Parks closest to you, is a great way to get teens outdoors and letting them see some of the beauty this world holds.
To keep them engaged and hopefully wanting to visit more parks, as an added bonus, we picked up this National Park Passport Book.
If you plan on visiting several parks, it may make sense to purchase an annual pass so you don’t have to pay at each one.
You can always surprise them with a surf board of their own, rent one or just sign-up for the lesson. Just depends on how invested they’ll be. But getting them something to use during the experience can really make the gift giving experience fun.
#42 Cruises or Boat Tour
When someone says cruise, your first thought is probably the huge cruise ships, but that’s not always the case. You may be surprised at what smaller cruises or boat tours are available in your area.
#43 Rent Kayaks, Canoes or Paddleboards
For awhile we would rent kayaks at least once a month from spring to fall and then we finally decided to get our own paddleboards (<< these are the ones we got). I’m so glad we did as we now go even more often and we don’t have to pay everytime now or worry about being back at a specific time.
This is really the best way to get out on the water inexpensively.
#44 Visit a Cave / Cavern
After visiting my kid’s first cave in Virginia, despite feeling nervous at first, they ended up loving it and we’ve been to several since, which is why we stopped at Kartchner Caverns in Arizona on a recent trip.
#45 Adventure / Nature Book
There is nothing like getting teens out into mother nature to have them feeling good, happy and positive. Give them a good book like this that has them creating their own experiences.
This is a little bit sneaky way of getting them outside but we do what we got to do!
#46 Fishing Gear
My son loved to fish when he was little but I never took him as I had no interest in putting the bait on or touching the fish when he caught one.
Now as a teen, he’s perfectly capable of doing it himself so I got him the basic fishing gear he needed to do it on his own.
#47 Indoor Skydiving
Indoor skydiving is one of those wow gifts that the teens will never forget! This is all the fun without all the danger.
#48 Adventure Rope Course
A high rope adventure course is typically done in the trees and is a great way for teens to be outdoors, challenge themselves and have a total blast in the process.
You can participate right alongside them or let them go on their own. My son can’t get enough of these courses!
#49 White Water Rafting
#50 Jet Skiing
#51 Water Balloon Fight
Make sure to get this water balloon pack so you can fill up a bunch of balloons all at once. Do it with them or invite a few of their friends.
While this may seem like an activity for the younger kids, just watch how much fun the teens have with this too!
#52 Water Park Tickets
Travel Experience Gifts for Teens
Travel is something I am passionate about and as my kids grow I have loved sharing my passion for travel for them.
There is nothing like letting them experience new places, foods, people, culture and activities.
There are so many ways to let them have these experiences and I’ll share some of what we’ve done here.
While I always love traveling as a family, some of my favorite memories are when we’ve had a Mommy & Me trip with just me and my teen. It gives us time to bond, do fun activities together and helps us feel closer when we return.
#53 Visit a New City
This is one of my favorite ways to explore on a budget. No one said that travel has to be far from home.
You can be surprised how much there is to do so close to home.
#54 City Pass
Especially if you live in or near a big city (or plan to visit one soon) like New York City, picking up a City Pass is the perfect way to experience a city without breaking the bank.
#55 Take an International Trip
#56 Family Road Trip
#57 Take a Cruise & Enjoy an Excursion
Food Experiences Gifts for Teens
While food is an essential part of life, it’s easy to let teens slide and not have to participate in the kitchen. But since this is a life skill, I love finding fun ways to get them into the kitchen so they can find something they enjoy doing.
I have a teen who enjoys some cooking and one who is only willing to bake but with a little trial and error, I’ve been able to get them excited about some food based experiences.
Here’s some good food experience ideas to get you started.
#58 Baking or Cooking Classes
Baking or cooking classes, whether one-time or a series of classes, can be the perfect gift.
These are available online or in-person. You can also pick-up a membership to SkillShare which has lots of cooking and baking classes that are broken down into bite size steps.
#59 Cake Decorating Class
#60 Make Something Special / Unique
When my daughter and I go out just the two of us, we often get sushi. It’s something we don’t do any other time so it’s kind of special for us.
So to get her into the kitchen, I picked up this easy sushi making kit. She was thrilled and ready to make it as soon as she opened it.
We’ve since used it several times, although we stlll go out for sushi on our special days out. So far it’s felt like we’re able to have more of those special times at home too doing this.
#61 Food Tour
Many cities have food tours or even chocolate tours.
#62 Try Different Foods from Different Countries
We don’t go out to eat too often but when we do I like to make it an experience. Maybe because I feel like we’re getting food and a new experience. This is why when we go out, I like to try restaurants with food from different countries.
If you really want to get creative, you can pick a country each month, visit a restaurant with food from that country and bake a dessert from that country at home.
Or try this around the world cookbook.
#63 Take a Chocolate Making Class
There is nothing better than real chocolate made from real cocoa beans. It’s a fun (& delicious!) process to try.
Different / Unique Experience Gifts for Teens
Sometimes teens just need a little something different to get them out of their everyday routine.
It gets them feeling inspired and happy trying something new and different.
Here are some unique experiences you can help arrange for them.
#64 Blacksmith Class / Workshop / Experience
#65 African Drumming
#66 Attend a Drive-In Movie
Just like they did in the good old days!
#67 Glow Bowling
Many bowling alleys have glow bowling hours at night, although typically on the weekends. So if your teen wants to be able to stay out late and you want to know they’re doing something safe, this is a really fun option!
#68 Improv Classes
When my son was a young teen, I signed him up for Improv Classes on a whim. It’s not actually something I thought he would want to do long term but I was hoping it would help him come out of his shell a bit.
As expected, he didn’t stick with it after the series of classes but it really helped his confidence and I’m so glad he did it!
#69 Behind the Scenes Encounter
If there is something your teen really enjoys, see if they can get more of a behind the scenes or VIP encounter.
For example, if they love the zoo, many zoos and rescues offer a behind the scenes ticket where you can gain access to otherwise unseen parts of the zoo and some extra animal encounters.
#70 Hot Air Balloon Ride
#71 Aviation Class
#72 Circus or Fire Classes
Yes, they definitely have them, they’re definitely fun and it’s definitely unique!
#73 A New Cultural Experience
Many cities have international, as well as culture specific festivals so you can try new food, see dances and performances. These are great ways to experience new cultures.
See the theater category above for ideas too. You can always look for shows with international flair. Those have been some of our favorites!
#74 Take a Train Ride
No, not the kiddie ones at the local park, a real, adult one that takes you on a scenic ride or to a new city. Couple this with exploring a new city and you’ll really got a great experience ahead of you!
Fun Experience Gifts for Teens
Teens just want to have fun so these are great ideas to have them out and having fun.
Here’s lots of fun activities they can go out and try!
#75 Escape Rooms
Escape rooms are a great gift the whole family can participate in or your teen can take one or more of their friends.
It gives them a challenge, tests their communication and problem-solving kids and they have a blast while doing so.
This is also a gift you can give multiple times as most escape rooms have different themed rooms to choose from.
Definitely check here for discounts on escape rooms.
#76 Amusement Park or Theme Park Tickets (or Season Passes)
I love giving tickets to amusement parks because it’s already an activity we’ll do in the summer and it’s also a great way to get them happily leaving the house and spending time outdoors.
You can go with just the teens or even bring along the younger children if you’d like so the whole family has fun together
Plus, you can even get them a season or annual pass that will give them unlimited access to the park for the summer.
Game & Book Gifts for Teens
While books are still technically a “thing,” I’m happy they can be engaged. I like to get DIY books, recipe books, travel or language books, art books, etc. as this create good discussion and help peak interest in new things.
You never know what will stick and we’ve found some great ideas inside books.
#78 Card or Board Games
Sometimes it’s hard to get my teens to the table but recently we’ve gotten in a groove with playing some games during or after dinner together and it’s been a lot of fun!
During dinner, we’ll often use these teen conversation starter cards which has created some fun discussions and helped keep communication open.
#79 Legos or Wood Puzzles
#80 Mom or Dad and Me Journal
Parent – child/teen journals are great for the teens who don’t want to talk much. They prompt both parent and teen to write things about themselves.
My daughter and I have gone through a couple already and after we each fill our part out, we leave it on the other ones nightstand.
Ticket & Admission Gifts for Teens
There’s a couple of great things about purchasing tickets for teens. First, it’s super easy to do, it gets the teens out of the house and they have a lot of fun.
There’s lots of different types of tickets or admission you can buy for them like:
#81 Bowling Passes
#82 Tickets to a Local Festival
#83 Attending a Summer Camp
#84 Seeing a Show at the Planetarium
#85 Factory tour
Factory tours are not only a fun way to experience something new, they show teens how things are made, how machines function and the whole production process of food or materials.
#86 Trampoline Park Passes
Some trampoline parks even have dedicated hours for teens or older kids which they’ll enjoy even more not having to watch out for the little kids.
Trampoline parks often offer discounts on Groupon so always a good idea to check before you go.
#87 Visiting State Parks
State parks are great places to hike the trails, visit nature centers, attend programs and see new places.
#88 Geocaching Membership
When my son was young he loved to go out geocaching with me and now that he’s older he likes going geocaching on his own too. Of course now he wants to find the harder and more excited ones so we got him a geocaching membership for his birthday.
#89 Ice Skating Tickets
#90 Roller Skating Tickets
#91 Go-Kart Tickets
#92 Virtual Reality Tickets
#93 Skiing Tickets
Many ski spots also offer a scenic chair lift ride and other activities during the summer which are fun options too!
#94 Family Fun Entertainment Center Tickets
These are the places that often have a variety of activities like mini golf, bumper boats, arcade, etc.
#95 Laser Tag Tickets
This makes for a really fun night for teen boys or even a mixed group of boys and girls.
#96 Zipline Tickets
There are some retro arcade options or more popular one’s like Dave & Busters.
Financial Gifts for Teens
While your teen may not be overly thrilled by a financial gift that isn’t cash in their pocket, they will appreciate it in the future. Here are a few financial gift options to consider:
#98 Start an Investment Fund
Better yet, create an investment fund that the teen can contribute money to that they earn from allowance, a side job or even money they receive for their birthday.
Learning how to maintain an investment account and invest money when it’s received, is a great skill to learn early.
#99 A Teen Friendly Debit Card
Start a teen with their own debit card where you can give them money for tasks they do, help them save, monitor their spending and more. The Greenlight Debit Card is a great option.
#100 Make a Donation to Their Cause
If there is a cause your teen is passionate about, how about making a donation to the cause. You can choose the organization or better yet, let them choose.
Other Experience Gifts for Teens
If you’re still looking for more gift ideas, here’s some more fun experience gift ideas to consider.
#101 Monthly Subscription Box
There are so many fun and even educational monthly subscription boxes. This is a great opportunity for your teen to have something to look forward to every month and gives them something they can do with their hands. A few good options are Stitch Fix, Universal Yums and Rocksbox.
#102 Special Day Out
For many teens (even when they don’t act like it), the gift of time is special for them. A special day out with mom, dad or even a best friend is always a hit.
#103 Scavenger Hunts
Yes, teens like scavenger hunts too. You can create one yourself or if you are close to a bigger city, there are hunts like Let’s Roam.
#104 A Little Pampering
Many teen girls will appreciate a little pampering like getting a manicure or pedicure, a facial or even a cut & style.
#105 Yes Day
We read this book when my kids were younger and did this so now that they are teens, they’ll love to do it again.
#106 Photo Shoot
Whether with a photographer or doing glamor shots, a fun day out doing a special photo shoot is something a teen with remember and cherish for a long time! It will be fun to look back at the photos when they are an adult.
Experience Gifts for Teens
These teen and tween experience gifts are great for those middle ages which can be hard to shop for.
Experiential gifts are a great way to get them more engaged, exploring new places and potential hobbies, which is much more likely to put a big smile on their face.