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.

Featured farms and businesses offering animal fun for kids

Austin Aquarium
13530 U.S. 183, Suite 101, Austin, TX 78726
Spend a day at the Austin Aquarium. Feed a shark and feel the smooth skin of a ray. Marvel at the brilliant colors of tropical fish and the otherworldly beauty of gently floating jellyfish as you share your love with these beautiful animals! Enter the rainforest, where hundreds of reptiles roam, along with with the aquariums newest furry friends, ringtail lemurs, black and white ruffed lemurs, kinkajous, and otters. Then, step inside the aviary, where lorikeets fly overhead!

Austin Zoo
10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin, TX 78736
Embark on an exciting adventure where children and adults can enjoy an up-close experience with our rescued animals. The mission of Austin Zoo is to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. Pack a picnic to enjoy in our Picnic Grove and bring a cooler full of lots of cold drinks. Be sure to attend one of our Zookeeper talks happening daily. As you stroll through our Zoo, you will delight to the sights and sounds of animals such as African Lions, Wolves and many more!


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.

Featured businesses offering computer and technology classes for kids

American Robotics Academy - Austin West
11117, Rio Vista Drive, Austin, TX 78726
American Robotics Academy (ARA) aims to excite, inspire, and motivate children about the importance of robotics technology in today’s world. Our program offers an introduction to mechanical engineering and design concepts that are easy to understand and learn. Classes teach “how things work” through hands-on activities using special Lego technic pieces and parts. Students work in small age appropriate teams and learn how to design, build, and test remotely controlled miniature robots. ARA offers After-school classes, Saturday workshops (at ChampionsTx, Lakeway), team building/educational workshops, birthday parties, and summer camps throughout Austin Central and West areas. For more details please visit www.RoboticsAcademy.com or call 512-743-5155. 

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.

Featured businesses offering art classes and workshop for kids

ArtBarnATX
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 ArtBarnATX.com for more information. Gift Certificates available.

Austin Creative Reuse
www.austincreativereuse.org
Create a unique and colorful masterpiece in our 3-hour kids' workshop. Age range for these Workshops is 3-15.
Through games and fun material exploration, we'll incorporate reuse materials to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. Each month we focus on a variety of different techniques and materials.  This workshop includes all materials necessary to make fantastic masterpieces.
Drop off kids and go to the center to shop or you're welcome to stay and watch (hands off for grown ups!)
Our Kids Art Workshops are held on the first Sunday of each month, we hope you can join us soon! Use coupon code LIVEGROWPLAY at checkout for a 10% discount on workshop tickets!

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.

Featured businesses offering theater, acting, and improv classes for kids

kidsActing Studio 
Center Stage Theatre, 2826 Real St. Austin, TX 78722 (15 additional locations in the Greater Austin area)
ACT OUT! PLAY HARD! with kidsActing's award-winning theatre program! Join a semester-long class or school break camp where you'll get a chance to be creative, feel confident, and develop new skills, all while having fun and making new friends!  
Spring full-scale production classes include: Matilda and The Phantom Tollbooth
Semester classes include: Hamiltunes: A Show Choir, Triple Threat musical classes (including: Little Mermaid, Wizard of Oz, High School Musical, Annie, Beauty & The Beast, &  Descendants 2), Adventures in Acting classes (Pirates of the Caribbean), and our Imagination Friends musical classes for students ages 3-5. 
Plus, we offer Winter and Spring Break camps that are still enrolling! For more info, go to www.kidsactingstudio.com.

Writing classes for kids

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

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.

Bowling

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.

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. 

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. 

Featured businesses offering music & movement classes for kids

Mi Casa Es Tu Casa®

2110 White Horse Trail Ste B Austin TX 78723
Austin’s best-reviewed music cases are offered by Mi Casa Es Tu Casa® with over 100 five-stars reviews online they have created a new standard for the baby and toddler classes industry. Mi Casa Es Tu Casa® creates high-quality music that is enjoyable for the whole family to introduce and reinforce Spanish, use sign language, learn about early childhood development and even parenting! Their mission is to raise the best generation yet by nurturing children with love, respect, empathy, and responsible parenting. Learn more, try a free demo today.
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.

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
3905 Warehouse Row, Austin, TX 78704
Austin Kickboxing Academy's Kids Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) program is designed to instill a well-rounded mixed martial arts skill set with emphasis on lifelong values of self-confidence, discipline, respect and mental focus. Our kids learn Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Kickboxing, Wrestling, and Judo and learn how to combine the different martial arts effectively. We also introduce kids to an active, healthy lifestyle that builds character, self-esteem, and the interpersonal skills necessary for peaceful conflict resolution. First class is free! Visit www.atxkickboxing.com for more information!

Avery Ranch Dance & Music by Dance Discovery
10526 W Parmer Ln, Austin, TX 78717
7729 Burnet Rd, Austin, TX 78757
At Avery Ranch Dance & Music Dance Discovery  Give the gift of dance to a special child in your life! Our teaching team has been voted the Best Place to Learn Dance in Austin for 10 years by Austin Family Magazine Readers! We create a positive, fun learning environment for students of all ages. Our college trained instructors provide personalized training for children and teens ages 2-18 in Toddler Dance Expressions, Preschool & Primary STORYTIME DANCE™ curriculum, hip hop, ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, modern, creative movement, leaps & turns, and a full Musical Theatre Program. 

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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Featured businesses offering instrumental lessons for kids

Care2Rock.com
3300 Bee Caves Rd., ste. 650-1103, Austin, 78746
Care2Rock.com 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
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!
Featured farms and businesses offering animal fun for kids

Austin Aquarium
13530 U.S. 183, Suite 101, Austin, TX 78726
Spend a day at the Austin Aquarium. Feed a shark and feel the smooth skin of a ray. Marvel at the brilliant colors of tropical fish and the otherworldly beauty of gently floating jellyfish as you share your love with these beautiful animals! Enter the rainforest, where hundreds of reptiles roam, along with with the aquariums newest furry friends, ringtail lemurs, black and white ruffed lemurs, kinkajous, and otters. Then, step inside the aviary, where lorikeets fly overhead!

Austin Zoo
10808 Rawhide Trail, Austin, TX 78736
Embark on an exciting adventure where children and adults can enjoy an up-close experience with our rescued animals. The mission of Austin Zoo is to assist animals in need through rescue, rehabilitation and education. Pack a picnic to enjoy in our Picnic Grove and bring a cooler full of lots of cold drinks. Be sure to attend one of our Zookeeper talks happening daily. As you stroll through our Zoo, you will delight to the sights and sounds of animals such as African Lions, Wolves and many more!

 

Featured businesses offering instrumental lessons for kids

Mi Casa Es Tu Casa®
2110 White Horse Trail Ste B Austin TX 78723
Austin’s best-reviewed music cases are offered by Mi Casa Es Tu Casa® with over 100 five-stars reviews online they have created a new standard for the baby and toddler classes industry. Mi Casa Es Tu Casa® creates high-quality music that is enjoyable for the whole family to introduce and reinforce Spanish, use sign language, learn about early childhood development and even parenting! Their mission is to raise the best generation yet by nurturing children with love, respect, empathy, and responsible parenting. Learn more, try a free demo today.
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