top of page
  • Writer's pictureKarla

Last-Minute Gift Ideas in Charlottesville that aren't things!

Updated: Dec 25, 2021

Let's be honest, our kids collect a lot of stuff during the holidays. Often, the things are toys or items that are picked up once or twice and are discarded to never been seen or played with again.

Keep reading to find some activities and experiences for the children in your life.

Experiences are some of the most memorable gifts

Do my kids need any more stuff? No! My girls have enough stuffed animals to fill a whole toy store and while they make great companions for make-believe tea parties, there is only so much space in their toy bins for them. For this reason, I am making an effort to gift activities and experiences this holiday season.

Check out some of the local Charlottesville activities for children that make great last-minute gifts.

Give the Gift of Music

Blue Ridge Music Together offers weekly, in-person outdoor parent and me music options in Charlottesville and Crozet. Each quarter the students are given a booklet that includes music lyrics and a CD/online streaming service to the songs in that session. The class is about 35-45 minutes in length and features sing-a-longs, dance, and an instrument exploration session. Parent participation is encouraged. Cost is $190. Purchase gift cards here.

Front Porch Charlottesville offers a variety of in-person and online music classes that range from instrument exploration to musical story time. Classes for children 0-6 are here. Classes for children ages 7-12 range from beginners in instrument exploration to intermediates in piano and guitar, find out more here. Purchase gift cards here. Use code “WINTERKIDS” for 10% off your order if you register by 12/20/21.

Give the Gift of Curiosity

Charlottesville Park and Recreation offers a large catalog of affordable lessons for all ages. Do you think that your littles would love to learn to sculpt, practice yoga or learn to skateboard? There is a class for just about every age and interest at Charlottesville Parks & Recreation. The affordability aspect allows your little one to try different things without a significant financial commitment. In addition to parent and me options, there are options for drop-in art class or parent playgroup. Purchase gift cards in person at Carver Recreation Center or by calling (434) 970-3053.

Virginia Discovery Museums is a local museum on the Downtown Mall with a mission to foster intellectual curiosity for children ages 0-8 years and that offers in person classes and drop-in events. An annual membership is $125 for 12 months from the time of purchase and is valid for 6 named people in your household. Being a member of VA Discovery Museum gets you early access to the museum, 10% off events and parties, and most importantly, reciprocal admission to over 350 locations including the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond and Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum in Winchester. Members can also get half off admission to the Children's Museum of Richmond. Guests can purchase a punch card for daily admission by calling the museum at (434) 977-1025. Purchase gift certificates here.

Wilrock in Crozet, VA is an outdoor nature play space complete with walking trails, imaginative play stations, and a creek. The littles will enjoy working together to build a fort, splashing in a stream, doing some gnome laundry or hiding in a hobbit house. When you discover Wildrock, you open yourself to the joy of free play in nature. Wildrock is offering the purchase of four visits to the play space for the price of three at $60. Each visit is $20. Purchase gift certificates here.

Give the Gift of Learning a New Skill

Rocky Top Climbing offers an introductory rock climbing program for new climbers ages 8 and up. This program focuses on introducing the joy of climbing in a safe and engaging environment. Purchase gift certificates here.

Wintergreen Resort in Nellysford, VA offers skiing lessons that help children gain confidence on the snow by grouping them together based on age and ability level. Group lessons start January 2, 2022. Programs start for children age 3 and up. The Mountaintop Mornings group meets on Wednesdays from 9-11:45am. Cost starts at $149/session, equipment rental is extra. Purchase gift cards here and allow time for mail delivery or pick-up in person at the resort.

Broohkill Farm offers horseback riding lessons for children as young as 2 with parental assistance, but children are generally 4-years-old and up to start lessons. Horseback riding lessons for young children increases their confidence, creates discipline and increases focus for school while also building fitness. Brookhill Farm offers a variety of options from private lessons starting at $95/lesson, group lessons, and summer camp. Inquire about gift certificates here.

Give the Gift of Creativity

The Hive Charlottesville is a woman and black-owned art and craft bar. Similar to a restaurant experience where you sit and and order from a menu, the Hive offers crafts and workshops for all ages as a walk-in, order bar. In addition to walk-in classes, The Hive offers camps in the summer and birthday parties. Purchase gift cards here.

The Glass Palette offers workshops where kids have fun exploring glass art through a variety of projects and through a wide range of techniques. Projects may include fused glass, mosaic, sand-blasting, stained glass and more. In addition to workshops, The Glass Palette offers birthday parties for children 5 and up, summer camp and take-home options. Purchase gift certificates here.

Pikasso Swig is a craft bar located near the Downtown Mall that offers a walk-in DIY crafts and workshops for all ages. Purchase gift certificates here.

Give the Gift of Ettiquette

Darby Farm is a local farm located in Charlottesville near Crozet, VA. Robin offers afternoon tea, farm experiences and private/semi-private etiquette classes. Purchase gift certificates here.

Give the Gift of a Day Trip

Virginia Safari Park is a 1.5-hour drive from Charlottesville in Natural Bridge, Virginia. Drive thru the 180 acre safari and feed llamas, deer, ostriches, and zebras. After your drive around the park, take a walk in the Village Safari where you can feed birds, giraffes, and goats in the Walk-thru zoo. Annual membership is $299 for a family of 4 for a full year. Purchase gift cards here.

Shenandoah National Park is a short 30-minute drive from Charlottesville and offers endless hours of hikes and opportunities to camp. The annual membership is $55 and you only have to enter the National Park twice in order to get the membership cost back. Purchase annual membership here.

Museum trip to Washington, DC is a short 2.5-hour drive, and with the exception of parking and lunch, is a free option for a day trip as the Smithsonian offers free admission. The National Museum of African American History and Culture, and the National Zoo require preregistration through their website.

Final Thoughts

I hope that this blog post encourages you and your family to try a new activity all the while helping to declutter your toy closets! This list is not comprehensive, so if you know of more class offerings, let me know in the comments. Does anything look interesting to you?




bottom of page