This Local Gift Guide For Kids is made possible by a variety of local partners. All opinions are my own.
The holiday season in upon us and we have heard from so many of you that you are tired of all the stuff that comes with Christmas. After a pandemic that forced us to scale back and simplify our lives, I think a lot of us (mothers especially) are taking a long, hard look at what we want our family to be rooted in… and it certainly isn’t a plethora of hardly used plastic toys.
Local Gift Guide For Kids: Sacramento Area
So what do we do about this dilemma?
We know we want to scale back this holiday season but how do we do that without losing the magic? We have a suggestion: experiences. Experience gifts are the perfect way to get rid of the stuff, and make memories you’ll treasure as a family.
In this guide you will find a range of gift ideas that not only offer awesome experiences but also the opportunity to support local businesses. Let them know the Okayest Moms sent you!
Code Ninjas has a special place in our hearts. Harrison was a founding member and really blossomed with his love of coding because of his time there.
Code Ninjas is a game-based coding curriculum that teaches kids STEM principles such as logic, math, problem-solving, and teamwork. It is such a fun program that kids aren’t even aware that they’re learning these skills. The program is designed for kids ages 7-14 and perhaps the best part is that it makes a normally isolating activity more social. I loved watching the kids chat and show each other their games as they were working. And I won’t lie that it eased my guilt a bit about the screen time.
Check out Code Ninjas for your “experience” gifts this holiday season! Locally, there are locations in Rocklin and Folsom with other locations nationwide. Check out our previous coverage about our experience there.
Steve Wallen Swim School
Steve Wallen Swim School is an institution in the Sacramento area. With locations in El Dorado Hills and Roseville, SWSS has 40 years of experience teaching students of all ages and abilities how to swim.
The highly trained staff at Steve Wallen Swim School is just the best. We have personal experience there and I credit my kids’ swim skills entirely to SWSS. Their ribbon system is the perfect amount of positive reinforcement to keep kids interested and engaged.
Their indoor facilities are amazing with a heated pool, showers, and changing rooms. Let’s be real, this is a gift for parents, too––something to do in the dead of winter with kids? Sold.
Check out Steve Wallen Swim School for gift certificates and if you’re worried about not having anything to “open” on the big day, they do gift bags with swim essentials that are perfect!
Wit & Whimsy ToyS
Yes, this is a toy store but hear me out. Wit & Whimsy is your local toy store from your childhood. This toy store brought me an element of nostalgia that I didn’t even know I had in me. They have a variety of toys that are unique, high quality, and so fun! From holiday themed items to science kits to unique board games, you will find something for everyone at Wit & Whimsy Toys.
To satiate the ‘experience’ need Wit & Whimsy offers a Christmas wishlist that they keep on file. Bring your child in to browse and they can fill out all the favorites they want for Christmas. In an age where we are constantly browsing online, it is such a treat to walk the aisles and pick out things they love. This is the perfect option for grandparents or extended family who insist on having something to wrap!
With supply chain issues and shipping times extended, there’s no better time to shop local and support your local community. If you’re not local, you can also shop Wit & Whimsy Toys on their website.
Heroes VR Adventures
Heroes VR Adventures is the largest virtual reality arcade in the Sacramento area. If you’re a grandma like me and wondering what VR is, here’s a rundown. Virtual reality is a fully immersive, whole-body experience that you can do with family and friends!
The boys and I had the chance to check out their new location on Pleasant Grove. It was so fun! I went in thinking this was totally a kid thing but the owner, Bryan, convinced me to give it a try and I really enjoyed it!
I know that moms (myself included) carry a lot of guilt when it comes to electronics and screen time. Heroes VR is definitely an activity that will please a screen lover but it makes what is traditionally a solo activity (video games) a social event. It allows for multiplayer game play that is rooted in teamwork and connection. And the best part – it’s good for ages 8 to 100!
Definitely check out Heroes VR Adventures for a great experience gift and to support an awesome local business!
iFly Indoor Skydiving
Want the sensation of skydiving without the altitude? Well, I have the perfect place for you. iFly is a one-of-a-kind indoor skydiving experience for all ages––no really. Our instructor (who was awesome) told us about a 3 year old who did a flight!
The instructors are highly trained and very personable. It’s apparent that customer service is a top priority at iFly. Our instructor, Cole, was so great with kids. He explained things to them in “kid language” and entertained their kid humor. Our visit started with a short video explaining how to get in and out of the tunnel followed by a short demonstration from Cole. Then they got to suit up! It was hilarious to see Sully in full gear but he loved looking “sus” like an Among Us character (my fellow boy moms will understand).
Then we got to the flying part. I had trepidation that my kids might be a little freaked out by the volume or height of the tunnel but both of them jumped right in and loved it. They have been begging me every single day to go back. Not an exaggeration.
We had a wonderful experience all around and highly recommend iFly as an experience gift this holiday season.
Roseville Theatre Arts Academy
Roseville Theatre Arts Academy’s mission is to build character in children both inside and out. They teach the importance of the arts through performance, singing, and dance. Their youth and little ones program is prestigious and highly recommended.
Our personal experience at RTAA has been so lovely. Sullivan is loving the youth and little ones programs he’s been in and I’m amazed every week with how much they teach the kids in such a short time!
This experience gift can go both ways––a young actor might want to be in a show and a great gift would be one of their various camps. Or, if acting isn’t in their comfort zone, tickets to a show are a phenomenal gift. They have a great lineup of many different kids of shows. Check out their website for more information.
If you’re looking for an experience gift that shares love for the arts, definitely check out Roseville Theatre Arts Academy!
Local Gift Guide FOR KIDS
We know where you spend your dollars is important and we hope this guide helps as you put together thoughtful gifts this holiday season. We are big proponents of shopping small and local, we are confident that every one of these businesses will not disappoint as gifts this holiday season.