Nothing is more thrilling than watching a little child’s face light up with pure delight and excitement upon opening a beautifully-wrapped and carefully thought out gift. Toys tend to be the go to gifts for kids; however, another great idea is to give experience gifts. There are so many reasons why experience gifts are the way to go…They are easy to arrange, thoughtful, supportive to local businesses and rewarding to both the giver and receiver. Going to the movies as family, taking a painting class or getting a years membership to your favorite gym, theme park or museum are priceless memories to last a lifetime. I hope this gift guide helps with less packing and more memory making. Every day from December 1st through December 12th, The Playful Parent will feature a local experience gift idea and giveaway that experience gift to one lucky fan. Details at the bottom of the article. Here are this years 12 Gifts of Christmas.
DAY ONE- ANNMARIE GARDENS
Annmarie Sculpture Garden & Arts Center is my favorite place to visit in Maryland. It is one of Calvert County’s finest hidden gems. The garden itself is absolutely stunning and art work remarkable. I love that Annmarie Gardens is extremely family friendly. Ever exhibit is so well thought out; offering immersive and hands on experiences for little eyes and hands to engage in. There is always something new and exciting happening through out the year. From monthly events to weekly classes, investing in a yearly membership makes a lot of sense. Especially since members get into events discounted or free. Some of our favorites events at Annmarie Gardens include: Fairy & Gnome Home Festival, Insectival, Halloween in the Garden and Garden in Lights. I highly recommend gifting a family membership or event pass this Christmas. To learn more or to purchase passes visit there website at www.annmariegarden.org.
Day One Prize: Family of Four pass to Annmarie Garden in Lights.
DAY TWO – MY GYM
My Gym is a family favorite of ours. I think some of our earliest memorable moments were at My Gym. It is a place that nurtures children as they meet incredible milestones. I can remember tears of joy at seeing my kids faces light up at accomplishing a new skill. From learning to take those first wobbly steps, to walking across a balance beam independently with full confidence, was all done at MyGym. The staff at MyGym are one of a kind. Most importantly each one of my boys connected very well with their coaches and always felt loved and supported. I noticed it helped in their development of self-esteem and confidence. I’m thrilled that My Gym has two locations one in Waldorf and one in California Maryland to serve families in SOMD. A perfect gift to ask grandparents for is a few months classes or full years membership to MyGym. Members not only get to enjoy classes but open play times as well. MyGym offers more than just infant and toddler classes; they also have a great pre-school program, STEM club, parents night outs and holiday parties for the entire family. For information and to purchase a gift from MyGym visit their website www.mygym.com/waldorf or www.mygym.com/stmarys.
Day Two Prize: My Gym Class Pass (4 Week Class)
DAY THREE- MEDIEVAL TIMES
When winter break rolls around that is when the stay-cation begins!
Day Three Prize: Royal Package- 2 Tickets to Medieval Times (Baltimore)
DAY FOUR- IMAGINARIUM
Words can’t express my excitement when I first heard that the Imaginarium was opening up a few years ago. Our first visit did not disappoint and have enjoyed visiting regularly ever since. This indoor play space is absolutely amazing and one of a kind. Having a indoor option is just what Southern Maryland families need; especially with winter weather making outdoor options less desirable. If you’d like to get a little sneak peak into the Imaginarium, check out the guide I wrote. I know every parent is hoping that the grandparents will treat their little one to time at the Imaginarium so they can get their energy out. The Imaginarium doesn’t just offer free play; they also have a calendar full of fun events such as parents night out, laser tag, holiday parties and more. From a punch pass to a treat to a class, this is one of the most desirable gifts someone could give a little this holiday season. Check out their site to learn more at www.imaginariumplay.com.
Day Four Prize: Family Day to Play Pass for 2 adults & 2 kids.
DAY FIVE- PUMP IT UP
If there’s a place that has it going on, its Pump-It-Up! Whether tackling an obstacle course, sliding down a slippery slope, climbing a rock wall or jumping in a bouncy house; there is amusement every step of the way. If you haven’t visited the Charles County location in a while makes sure you head over and check it out. They have renovated a bit and have a few new inflatable bouncers. The staff does an amazing job with keeping this safe and clean. The Waldorf site offers private parties, open jump times and even parent night out events. Be sure to hop on over to their site to check out all the amazing options for holiday gift giving this season at www.pumpitupparty.com/waldorf-md.
Day Five Prize: Pump It Up Gift Basket with Pump It Up Goodies and One FREE Private Playdate for up to 10 kids!
DAY SIX- ARTFUL PLAYHOUSE
ARTful PLAYhouse is one of the most inventive and creative places I have ever been. I couldn’t be more excited to share about this amazing process art and creative play studio located in Leonardtown, Maryland. The studio offers classes, workshops and parties for children that foster creativity, celebrate play and promote art exploration. If you want to treat a child this season to a gift that will spark their imagination than this is the perfect present. To learn more about ARTful PLAYhouse visit www.artfulplayhouse.com.
Day Six Prize: $40 Gift Certificate and Winter Playdough Kit .
DAY SEVEN- SCARY STROKES
Scary Strokes is Southern Maryland’s one and only indoor miniature golf course. Scary Strokes is a one of a kind entertainment facility offering over 11,500 square foot of fun that features a 18 hole indoor glow miniature golf course themed with various family friendly monsters, ghosts and ghouls. At Scary Strokes you can play a round of golf under black-lights and test out your skills playing the most current state-of the-art video and redemption based arcade games.
Day Seven Prize: A family “Triple Play” package” which includes Mini-Golf, Virtual Reality Omni Arena experience, and $10 arcade card for four people. As well as a Scary Strokes T-Shirt.
DAY EIGHT- CHARLES COUNTY PARKS & RECREATION
One of the biggest resources in Charles County is the Department of Parks and Recreation. CCPR hosts so many marvelous events and manages excellent facilities that provide lots of fun. If you are looking for something entertaining to do with your littles be sure to consider getting some energy out at one of the indoor pools or open gym recreation centers. There are a numerous amount of activities scheduled on their calendar as well. A few that I look forward to this winter include: DIY Christmas Ornaments, Swimming With Santa, Winter Break Mini Camp, Art Adventure, Toddler Chef, Kids Night Out, and Pre-School Prom. Some ideas for holiday gift giving would be to purchase your loved one a rec pass or even sign them up for a couple of classes. Be sure to check out their site www.charlescountyparks.com/home-recparks for details.
Day Eight Prize: Family RecPass & Pool Pass (up to 4 members)
DAY NINE- SKYZONE
If you’re looking for a new adventure this winter that your kids will flip out over than Sky Zone is the perfect solution! Sky Zone is a great place for families to play together. You are never too old or young to jump. There are programs and open jump hours for all ages. It’s pretty neat to experience the weightlessness of bouncing, flipping and jumping on a trampoline. The Waldorf location has a variety sections to jump over to including: freestyle jump, basketball hoops, dodgeball arena, foam zone and ninja warrior course. In addition to open jump hours, Skyzone also hosts a variety of special programs such as Toddler Time and Glow Jump. Visit Skyzone’s website to learn more.
Day Nine Prize: Family Jump Pack (4- 60 minute Jump & Sky Zone Socks)
DAY TEN- XSCAPE THEATER
Family movie night is a staple. If you are looking for a entertaining gift that provides a relaxing and fun night, than a gift card to the local theater is the perfect solution. Xscape Theaters Brandywine 14 features 70-foot curved screens and plush, electric leather recliners for every seat in all of our auditoriums. Moviegoers will be captivated by the 4K dual digital projection, promising an image twice as clear as industry standards. If you are looking to enjoy a movie over the winter Holiday there a bunch of great movies to pick from: Spiderman: No Way Home, Disney’s Enchanto and Sing 2. I’m even more excited about the 2022 lineup: Sonic 2, Turning Red, Rumble, Hotel Transylvania 4, SuperPets, Lightyear and Minions: Rise of Gru, Thor: Love and Thunder, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, Spider-Man- Into the Spider Verse 2, The Flash, Black Panther-Wakanda Forever, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, Disenchanted and Peter Pan & Wendy.
Day Ten Prize: Night Out at the Movie Pack- 4 Movie Tickets, Popcorn passes and candy.
DAY ELEVEN-KINGS DOMINION
I’m excited to partner with our families favorite theme park! Kings Dominion has done an amazing job at creating a family friendly environment. It is one of the safest, cleanest and most entertaining parks I have ventured to in the DMV area. I have had the honor of writing a guide on visiting Kings Dominion with kids, so be sure to check it out for a closer look at all the park has to offer. Investing in the free preschool passes and season passes for the family seems like the smart way to go. After attending the theme park two times it pays for itself. Season passes include access to annual events, free parking, discounts on food and beverages and so much more. Be sure to check out Winter Fest currently happening at Kings Dominion. It’s a great way to get into the holiday spirit. Visit their site for specials and discounts on passes and “give the gift of fun”at www.kingsdominion.com.
Day Eleven Prize: Family Day at the Park- 4 Single Day Admission Tickets
The last partner of this years 12 Days of Christmas gift guide and giveaway is The Port Discovery Children’s Museum. If you haven’t been to Port Discovery Children’s Museum in a while you will want to to check out their new look. In June of 2019 they celebrated a grand re-opening of their museum after forgoing a huge renovation. Port Discovery did a remarkable job transforming the museum, while still holding true to its original charm. The Port Discovery Museum is pioneering the way to play by offering families a fun way to learn and grow in an environment that encourages curiosity and promoting learning. To learn more and to get a sneak peek into this museum see the full Playful Parent Guide. Be sure to visit the Port Discovery Museums page to plan out your next trip.
Day Twelve Prize: Best Gift Ever! Unlimited Admission to Port Discovery via a Family Membership for Up to 6 People!
Your little one will be all grown up before you know it. Now is the time to enjoy the wonder of childhood and create magical memories you’ll cherish forever. A membership to Port Discovery Children’s Museum provides you with unlimited admission to a fun, engaging experience the whole family will enjoy – and that will make for a day well spent each and every time you visit! Benefits that are part of the Family Plus membership include:
- Member benefits for up to 6 people (up to 3 adult cardholders)
- Free unlimited admission
- Discounts on guest admission
- Express entry
- Free member-only events and discounts on special programs
- Sneak peeks at special featured exhibits
- Discounts on birthday parties (10% discount off the base cost of any party package)
- Discounts at area restaurants and special offers from local businesses and attractions
- 50% off General Admission for up to six guests at member museums belonging to the Association of Children’s Museums
Every year The Playful Parent hosts a huge 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway. Last years 12 Days of Christmas Guide & Giveaway featured board games that promote learning through play. This year, the focus is on gifts that promote family bonding. The Playful Parent is giving away 12 awesome experience gifts December 1st through December 12th. Everyday fans can comment on the websites article or on social media via Facebook or Instagram to enter in daily prizes. Patreon members get extra entries each day for supporting our non-profit. Fans ages 18 and older may enter once each day to win prizes. Winners must be local Southern Maryland fans in order to receive prizes.
The Playful Parent would like to extend a huge thank you to the sponsors for donating all 12 gifts featured in the article this year. The Playful Parent is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides free resources which promote learning through play and encourage family bonding. The Playful Parent is not paid to work with companies and shares information with a non-biased opinion. All content and photos are property of The Playful Parent and may not be used without permission.