Great Gift Alternatives To Toys For Kids In And Around Austin

Ways to gift experiences and memories in Austin instead of toys

Toys are important, toys are fun.

Some toys are amazing and enriching to a child's imagination, learning and creativity.

But: Many toys are just something that gets wrapped up in pretty paper, so your child has something to rip into on Christmas morning, or on their birthday, or on any other gift-inspired holiday. These toys often last only for a short time, are forgotten in no time, and end up on the landfill.

Austin is an amazing city to raise kids.

The Austin area has so much to give and offers some fantastic toy-alternatives that serve your children (and your entire family) well.

Austin-Specific Toy-Alternatives

Here are ways to gift experiences and memories in the ATX instead of toys.

Animal fun and farms in and around Austin

Have an animal lover on your hand or want to teach your kid where our food comes from? Visit the zoo, the aquarium, animal rescue centers, animal shows, petting zoos, or one of Austin's animal farms or produce farms.

Art classes for kids in and around Austin 

Get arts with computer, technology, cooking, painting, drawing, photography, film, pottery, sewing, knitting, theater, acting, improv, writing classes, and more.

Computer / Technology classes for kids

Kids computer and technology classes and workshops that spark your kid's creativity, problem-solving skills, and imagination. Children learn about robotics, programming, science, technology, engineering, math, gaming, and coding.

Cooking classes for kids

Hands-on cooking and baking classes for kids taught by Austin chefs and professional culinary instructors. Children will learn about healthy food choices and creative recipes, cooking and baking terms, plating and food presentation techniques.

Painting / Drawing classes for kids

Art classes for Austin's little artists. Sign your little Picasso up for drawing or painting

Photography / Film classes for kids

Have an old camera you’re not using anymore? Give it to your child and sign her up for a photography or film class.

Pottery / Sculpting classes for kids

Does your child like to play in the sand or mud?  Then sculpting or clay building lessons and workshop might just be the right thing for them.

Sewing / Knitting classes for kids

Is your child a fashionista or has his own creative fashion style? Sign them up for a sewing class where they can put their creativity into action. Kids learn basic hand stitches and hand sewing and get introduced to machine sewing.

Theater / Acting / Improv classes for kids

Acting, theatre and improv classes in Austin allow kids to be be creative, expressive, and improve their communications skills.

Writing classes for kids

Creative writing classes and workshops, writing clubs and writing camps allow children to strengthen their writing and reading skills.

Featured businesses offering art classes and workshop for kids

14284 FM 2769, Volente, TX 78641
ArtBarnATX is a naturally-lit creative space nestled in the hills above Lake Travis with plenty of room for any project. Our goal is to provide a stimulating, laid back and enthusiastic atmosphere where artists of all ages can flourish. The studio also features a full kitchen, glow in the dark splatter paint room, kilns, separate ceramics room and an arcade room to take a break. Please visit our website for more information. Gift Certificates available.

Indoor activities in and around Austin

Membership, punch card, or admission to fun indoor activities such as bounce houses, trampoline parks, bowling, laser tag, and more.

Amusement parks

Austin fun parks with amusement attractions such as bowling, billiards, laser tag, rock climbing, mini golf, and video games.

Bounce houses and trampoline parks

Fun indoor activities for kids such as bounce houses, trampolines, foam pits, rock climbing wall, gymnastics tumble tracks, basketball dunking lanes, dodge ball, obstacle course, and more.


Kid-friendly bowling lanes that offer kids bowling, bumper bowling, youth bowling, bowling leagues, and of course fun kids birthday parties.

Games and arcades

New and classic video, arcade, and prize games for young and old including driving games, shooting games, dancing games, air hockey tables, pinball, skeeball, and more.

Indoor playscapes

Indoor playscapes, play gyms, and play areas for toddlers and big kids. Fun play structures, rides, games, slides, swings, and more.


Foreign language classes for kids in Austin

Does your child or do you want your child to learn a foreign language? Find bilingual, multicultural, and foreign language programs and schools in Austin. Popular languages are EnglishFrench,     GermanItalianJapaneseMandarinSign LanguageSpanish.

Featured businesses offering art classes and workshop for kids

La Petite Maternelle Fleur de Lys
11709 Drayton dr Austin Texas 78758 
La Petite Maternelle Fleur de Lys is a French Bilingual home based preschool located in North Austin (5 mins from the Domain) that serves potty trained children from 2.5 to 5 years old. Our hours are from 9am to 3 pm with a possibility of before school care from 8am to 9am. Option to enroll 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 days a week. For more information visit our website at or call at 512-826-6403 to schedule a tour. 

Library card

Get your kids their own library card and let them check out new books all by themselves at one of over 50 libraries in the Austin area.

Movie theater tickets

Find a movie theater near you that plays the latest kids and teen movies.

Museums, Galleries, Theaters, Ballet in and around Austin

Explore art, history, culture, nature, or science by visiting the many museums, galleries, and theaters in Austin and neighboring cities. Even better: About one third of Austin museums are admission free.

Music classes for kids in and around Austin 

Give the gift of music!

Kids and Youth Choir

Does your child like to sing? Have them join a children's choir to perform choral music including classical, popular and ethnic music and work with musicians and music educators from across the Austin area.

Instrumental lessons for kids

Music schools and private guitar, violin, piano, flute, drum or other musical instrument lessons for kids in Austin.

Featured businesses offering instrumental lessons for kids
3300 Bee Caves Rd., ste. 650-1103, Austin, 78746 is an easy, affordable way to learn music at home for kids 5 and up. Sign your child up for any lesson package - such as guitar, violin, keyboard, or singing, and receive his or her instrument for free - and Care2Rock will pair your child with the perfect teacher. All lessons are taken live and online via Care2Rock's custom live video platform.
Music & Movement for kids

Introduce your babies, preschoolers, toddlers, and kindergarteners to music by registering them for a kids-only, parent-and-child, or Mommy & Me early childhood music education program or a music and movement program. 

Music Production / DJ lessons for kids

Places and schools for the Electronic Arts teaching music production and DJing incl. Serato Scratch Live, Traktor, Ableton Live, Maschine, and more for kids.

Youth Orchestra

If your child is playing violin, viola, cello, bass, harp, winds, or percussion, have them audition for Austin's children's and youth orchestras to receive orchestral music education.

Voice lessons for kids

Find Austin music schools in Austin or hire a professional vocal coach that teach singing or voice lessons in music styles such as pop, classical, opera, jazz, rock, as well as breathing techniques, pitch production, stage presence, microphone techniques.

Featured businesses offering instrumental lessons for kids

Premier Music Academy
1400 E Old Settlers Blvd, Suite 116, Round Rock, TX 78664
Here at Premier Music Academy our lessons are individualized for you. Whether you want to learn classical,  jazz, or songs on the radio, our teachers are happy to help you become the musician you want to be. In addition to learning your favorite style, you will get a solid foundation in note reading, technique, theory, rhythm reading and sight reading. Our instructors take a special interest in you as a student and want to make lessons enjoyable and fulfilling. We want you to love your music lessons!

Outdoor Activities

Get outdoors and enjoy some quality-time with your kiddos! The Austin area has some amazing parks to go hiking or biking.
How about a camping trip with roasting marshmallows over a cozy camp fire? Like the water? Go canoeing, kayaking, paddle boarding, river tubing, rent a boat on Lake Travis or Lake Austin.
Explore Texas parks and wildlife, enroll your child in a rangers program. Take the kids rock climbing or ziplining.
Animal lover? There are many opportunities to go horseback riding or you can take them to the zoo.
Miniature golf, paintball, or train rides are also lots of fun.

Sports activities

Do you have a little athlete, want your child to get more active, experience team spirit, and make new friends? Sign them up for their favorite sport, whether it be baseball, basketball, cheerleading, dance, horseback riding, football, golf, gymnastics, hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, rock climbing, soccer, swimming, tennis, tumbling, volleyball, and so much more.

Featured businesses offering sports activities for kids

Austin Kickboxing Academy
3232 E Cesar Chavez, Austin, TX 78702
Kids Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) classes for kids ages 9 & up. First class is free. Classes offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays, view schedule here.

Avery Ranch Dance & Music by Dance Discovery
10526 W Parmer Lane, Ste 505, Austin, TX 78717
At Avery Ranch Dance & Music we create a positive, fun learning environment for students of all ages. Our college trained instructors provide personalized training for kids and teens ages 2-18 in Toddler Dance Expressions, Preschool & Primary STORYTIME DANCE™ curriculum, ballet, tap, jazz, audition prep, contemporary, modern, hip hop, creative movement, leaps & turns, gymnastics, musical theatre, and music classes for infants to age 5. Our teaching team has been voted the Best Place to Learn Dance in Austin for 9 years by Austin Family Magazine Readers!

And if you do want to get some toys or books...

... visit and support Austin's local toy, craft, and book stores to get your kids the tools they need to learn and play.

Austin book stores

Reading and literacy is one of the most important foundations for success in school and life. Help your child develop a love for reading. Find children's and adult books at {16} local Austin book stores.

Austin craft stores

Get crafty with your kids or find craft school supplies at Austin's own craft stores.

Austin toy stores

Austin's toy stores have it all: preschool learning toys, children’s arts and crafts, educational toys for inside and outside play, games and electronics, science kits, and more.



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