Mom-Approved Gift Ideas for the Holidays

Need ideas for what to share when someone inevitably asks you what they can get your kids for the upcoming holidays? Or how about for you to get your own kids who have it all?  Look no further–below you can find some great experience gifts and personal recommendations from your team here at IC moms!


Get someone tickets, passes or gift certificates to any of these local favorites–sure to be a hit! Bonus points- offer to take the kids, too, and let the parents have a break!

  • Marcus Theaters
  • Film Scene
  • Colonial Lanes
  • SpareMe Bowl & Arcade
  • The Children’s Museum
  • Wilsons Orchard & Farm
  • Colony Acres
  • Local Pool Passes
  • Defy Trampoline Park
  • Music Lessons at West Music
  • Ice Skating Lessons or passes at Coral Ridge Mall
  • Brush and Barrel Painting Classes
  • Passes to Hawkeyes Sporting Events
  • Xtreme Arena tickets
  • Hancher Auditorum tickets
  • The Englert Theater tickets

Experiences Outside of the Local Area

  • The Fun Station (Quad Cities or Cedar Rapids)
  • Mississippi River Museum (Dubuque)
  • Blank Park Zoo (Des Moines)
  • Niabi Zoo (Coal Valley, IL)

At-Home Experiences

  • TV streaming service subscriptions
  • Masterclass or other online learning platforms
  • Radish Subscription Box
  • Language-learning programs like Duo Lingo
  • Bug Kits- grow your own butterfly from a caterpillar
  • Craft supplies (from an ICM team member: “my kids both got these cool craft kits from target last year and they were a hit!”)

Food Experiences

  • Heyn’s Ice Cream
  • Molly’s Cupcakes
  • Scratch Cupcakes
  • Cookies and Dreams
  • Yotopia Frozen Yogurt
  • Aspen Leaf Yogurt Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
  • Cookies & more
  • Deluxe Cakes & Pastries
  • Dairy Queen
  • McDonalds
  • Hurts Donuts
  • Donutland


  • Legos
  • Magnatiles
  • Play Kitchen & accessories
  • Wood train track and trains
  • Anything Melissa and Doug
  • Dress-up clothes
  • Marble Run
  • Magic tricks
  • Scooters ( another ICM team favorite- “these scooters have been awesome!! Both kids have used these for years! They ride smooth, turn well, have brakes and are adjustable.” )
  • Nugget- “On the pricier side, but a Nugget! This play couch has been played with daily in our house since we bought it over 2 years ago. It’s wonderful for all ages 0-teen!”


Baby/toddler books

  • Little Blue Truck
  • Chicka, Chicka Boom, Boom
  • Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?

Preschool/younger grade school books

  • The Pout-Pout Fish
  • The Little Excavator
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
  • Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls


What are YOUR favorite gifts to give for the holidays?



Megan, an Iowa native from West Branch, shares her home with husband Cody, their three kids (Charlie-8 Gwen-6 & Ben-2) and 2 dogs (Dottie- lab-basset mix & Ham-all basset). When she is not smooching on them she is trying to change lives as a social worker, taking walks around their Iowa City neighborhood or cruising in Rita her minivan looking to score deals at local thrift stores. Check our her finds on her Instagram page @megthethriftingqueen.


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