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25 Things Every Kid Should Experience

By Lori Garcia |

We all want to give our kids the richest childhood experience.

When I took my kids to the snow for the very first time a few weeks ago, their sheer delight and enthusiasm made me equal parts happy and sad. Happy because I have never, ever seen them happier and sad because I hadn’t allowed them to experience it sooner.

When I think back on my own childhood, I have treasured memories of Girl Scout camp, hunting for sea shells on the beach, horseback riding, and yes, even those sucky piano lessons. The good, the bad, and the totally awesome childhood experiences made me the woman and mom that I am today.

There are so many rich experiences to share with our children and the best part is, they don’t have to cost a lot of money. Let’s check out the 25 things every kid should experience. Please feel free to offer your suggestions in the comments below!

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25 Things Every Child Should Experience

Being part of a team

"The way a team plays as a whole determines its success. You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don't play together, the club won't be worth a dime."
~Babe Ruth

Teamwork, the sweet taste of victory, and the bitterness of defeat are just a few of valuable lessons children can learn from team sports.
[Image credit: Shutterstock]

What else should every child experience?

Click here to see 25 MORE things every kid should experience!

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About Lori Garcia


Lori Garcia

Lori Garcia is a writer and mother of two living and loving in Southern California. When she's not fussing with her bangs, you can find her shaking her groove thing on her personal blog, Mommyfriend where she almost never combines true tales of motherhood and mayhem with her degree in child development. Read bio and latest posts → Read Lori's latest posts →

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42 thoughts on “25 Things Every Kid Should Experience

  1. Suzanne says:

    What a great list! I am feeling pretty good about myself too, since I think my kids have done all of these except ride a horse. I can think of other things I might want to add, but most kids would be very happy with the 25 you have.

  2. Scatteredmom says:

    I think this depends on your family and what they consider valuable. While I’d never take my kid camping (because I don’t like it), mine has stood in the middle of Canyonlands National park in a remote area, been in the bowels of Carlsbad Caverns, gone on an 8000 km road trip, seen the races at Bonneville, learned how to ride a motorcycle, and far more.

  3. Jeff says:

    I never had children, but recall my own childhood. It’s not so much doing things like these 25 (very good) activities. Nurturing a child while (s)he explores is much more to the point. From personal experience, I did 9 of these things as 1 kid vs. the world. The memories are hollow, empty and many times painful. So lovingly guide your children in their youthful pursuits.

  4. H.T. says:

    I bet this list is great, but I really wish Babble’s multi-page slideshows weren’t so slow! I generally bail after 2 or 3 photos. I’m commenting here because I don’t know where else to complain. Sorry about that, it just bums me out how g-d long it takes.

  5. Zelde says:

    Why should only fathers teach their sons to fix things? Teach the girls too!!!

  6. wendy says:

    I am a parent of 4 adult children and 1 infant and remembering how much fun it was to experience those things with my adult children makes me so giddy about doing it all over again with my infant. Every child should be able to experience these things at least once. You will find one child will be more willing than another based on their personalities.

  7. Petunia says:

    I agree with H.T. I’d rather have them all listed on one page.
    The list is great, but what about ‘kids’ games? Hop Scotch, Kick the Can, Hide ‘n Seek, attending an old-fashioned picnic with three-legged races, pie or watermelon eating contest (churches and local communities still have these), selling Girl Scout cookies or Boy Scout candy, going to an Art or History museum, taking a tour of a factory to see where our food/items come from, and the list goes on and on. I did all the things on the list as a child, but the horse thing, I wasn’t too crazy about. I thought it was mean to sit on the back of an animal and kept on apologizing to the horse! What memories!

  8. Cindy Crebbin says:

    I’m not sure you had this, but how about catching fireflies in jars in the summer or just watching the magic of them glow at night, and also ice cream- going out for ice cream as well as getting a new book of their own from a bookstore to read with the ice cream was a classic part of my daughters childhood. Now they are grown- so enjoy all these wonderful activities and more!

  9. Carol Schwimmer says:

    Wow, this picture looks like my daughter and her teammates. She was part of a team called the Orange Crush for a team in Irvine, CA. Please let me know if I am correct. Also, I loved the article!!!

    1. mommyfriend says:

      Oh my goodness! I don’t know, it is a stock photography image from Shutterstock.

  10. Kim Kradolfer says:

    Catching a frog!

  11. FDBRATT says:

    There are several important ones missing here but the list is great. Another is going to a funeral. Not to be morbid, but children need to learn and understand that we are only here for a short time.
    Another is running and jumping into a pile of freshly raked leaves in autumn.
    Another is climbing a tree as high as you can and feeling it sway in the wind beneath you.
    Another, along with fishing, is spending a few days eating only what you catch. (this teaches a LOT) (grin)….
    Another is staying out playing with your friends until it is dark and getting in “trouble” for being out that long. (grin).
    Somehow we need to get children to quit being inside and get back outside and play, and fall down, and skin knees and all that stuff. We are becoming a nation of shut-ins, and that’s WRONG..

    1. mommyfriend says:

      All so true. Thank you for adding to the list!

  12. Dru says:

    Fathers, teach your daughters how to fix things. I have every intention of teaching mine. That way they won’t have to marry some brawny idiot like their mother did.

  13. Alicia says:

    Love the list! I would also add: looking at the night sky through a telescope, cloud watching, going to the zoo (mine had never been to one before I adopted them), playing in the rain (no lightning), and I’m sure there are a ton more ideas out there!

  14. Adela says:

    This is a good list. I would add music experiences – the ones I had as a child completely changed my life.

  15. Margaret says:

    If I had children, I would try to get them at least some music, drawing or painting and dance or ballet exposure in the form of lessons. Pre-teens shouldn’t miss at least one canoe-camping or hiking trip without family if you can afford it. Troubled kids get sent on these trips because they are incredibly character-building.

  16. Ken Durocher says:

    Sharing and Giving – share the gift having the ability to walk the trail, to fish, to bowl, to visit a farm and/or to do chores. Whether it’s by captuing a picture or video while executing these 8 / 25 experiences. Sharing your abilities by working projects raising awareness or monetary value for an individual or group. Every child (kid) should experience reaching out for those who may need a hand. These experiences aren’t limited to themselves but for others. I’ve experienced by the one who stated ” It’s not over until the fat lady sings” ~ leo durocher

  17. Danyael says:

    While this is a good list, it left out the important aspects, such as, NOT being picked first for a team, spending time alone, the ups and downs of friendship, and all the other character building negative situations that aren’t pleasant.

  18. markwalter says:

    Hmm., riding a bike? Idiots.

    1. mommyfriend says:

      Mark, someone has a case of the grumpies! Indeed riding a bike is valuable, just ask my husband on a cycling team. Good news for you, I’m compiling a list of even more things for a follow up post. Thank you for pointing out the oversight.

  19. TCD says:

    I cant belive building a fort is not on here!!

  20. Channie says:

    I am proud to say that all three of my kids have experienced each and every one of these items (except my 6 y/o son and the wedding thing but he is still young lol)

  21. ThatFaceBookGuy says:

    Awesome, broght back some really happy memories. Here are some from my childhood:

    (1) The sense of new freedom that comes when you learn to ride a bike and you go beyond your normal limits. I remember thinking, wow how far can I go now that I have a bike while feeling the breeze and warm sun on my face.

    (2) Playing in the rain and stepping on mudd with your naked foot.

    (3) Getting chased by a dog and laughing because you got away.

    (4) Getting tucked in to bed my mom

    (5) Getting bit by a dog or stung by a bee for disturbing their peace

    (6) Seeing farm animals have sex. Sooo weird but amazing at the same time.

    (7) Having a crush on someone that doesn’t even know I exsist despite sitting close to them during school year.

    (8) On swimming, Jumping off a higher point and diving head first into the water. This was such an amazing feeling when I finally did it in a local river.

    (9) Making a pebble skip in water.

    (10) Playing hide and seek, and your the last to be found cause your hide out is so freaking cool.

    (11) Attending the first day of class in a new school and seeing some of your budies from the old school sitting in the same classroom. Fewww what a relief this was for me to know that I didn’t have to walk around the school alone.

    1. mommyfriend says:

      What a great list! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Peggy says:

    I think the message is Do things with your kids. Get to know your kids LISTEN to them. Take the time out to have fun with what they want to do too.

  23. Trent says:

    Milk a cow by hand. Anyone know how many things are made with milk?

  24. Snugglemom says:

    Ok how about painting…and danciing..making your own play and performing in your livingroom..laughing till your belly hurts and playing hide and seek in the forest with friends…

  25. Angie says:

    Great list! Wish I didn’t have to click to get all the way through it.

  26. Cherry says:

    I’m 19 and I experienced every single one of those! I’m grateful for my parents and my childhood :)

  27. Diane says:

    Let’s add “attending religious services.”

  28. Apryl says:

    Playing in the mud. Learning to skate. Picking wildflowers. Feeding the ducks. Jumping on a trampoline. Learn to dance. Perform in a talent show or recital. Learn to do a cartwheel. Visit a nursing home.

    So many experiences that shaped my life.

  29. Jana Shea says:

    Having a water balloon fight

  30. Chrystine Collins-Blums says:

    Definitely agree with attending religious services. Also, learn about other cultures, experience different cultural events. Spend inter-generational time; much can be learned by spending time with the elderly – not everyone has older family members. I also agree with everyone who stated it is most important to pay attention to children, spend time engaging them in activities that get them involved in their community, the outdoors or anything beside the computer & video games.

  31. Michelle says:

    The only one I would drop from the list is being in a wedding. It’s nice if you have the opportunity, but it’s not something that even the most dedicated parent can manufacture just for the sake of the experience. I would add going to church as, although most children do at least occasionally, every child should have the opportunity to be exposed to some kind of faith practice, even if the parents have chosen differently.

  32. tangyterp83 says:

    I think this list sounds fun, but I think the most important thing is spending time with your kids and being “fully present” in the activities. I don’t do camping or fishing, so my kid will not experience these things. we do disney, universal, and san francisco often since we live in Orlando, and have lots of family in Cali. I think camping is overrated I never went camping as a child and I don’t think that I’m missing anything in my life.

  33. Burke says:

    So sad to see all the people out there who dont believe they are missing anything by going camping. I realize we get our kids involved in the things we enjoy, but I feel it is equally important to let them find activities they enjoy and participate and learn with them. My three boys have exposed me to music, acting, wrestling and the arts. Those are things I never did as a child and had no interest in them. I now get to watch my children learn and I enjoy that. I want my kids to be well rounded and have my values, but I dont want them to do and like everything I like. I believe camping gets you in touch with nature, youre forced to eat food with a little dirt in it, find natural activities, but most importantly you spend time with loved ones without the distraction of everyday life. As a child I enjoyed Hunting with all of my family, I know a lot of people will not agree that it should be on the list, but to me it was a huge part of my childhood. Only one of my boys has shown an interest in it, and I watching the excitement of him get his first big game animal this past year is in the top 5 happiest moments of my life.

  34. Dave Stanton says:

    Three from NZ you’ve missed ;
    1) Fire Works, – Esp on a dark night and sparklers

    2) Frost esp Hor Frost which turns the world into a winter wonderland.

    3) An Arora Ustralis ? – Where the sky changes colour over the spetrums of a rainbow.

    All these things create a wonder in our hearts and minds for the world God has created for us to explore. We do a lot of this at our Farm Stay in the centre of the South Island, NZ so if you feel your children are missing out and you want to tick a few boxes what better place than an adventure farmstay like ours -Check it out on

  35. Reena Cobb says:

    The list was great, and the added thought was interested too. By the way, horse back riding is great and its not about looking at an animal and saying your sorry because now he/she has a friend that he/she can communicate with and play with. Riding a horse is like getting to know the other side we all are one.

    I haven’t experienced camping but I really want to. And I totally agree spending time in church is an experience children need, and I am not just talking about one type of church because the parents like it or believe in it. Let them experience different belief and see what they think.

  36. Katie B says:

    It’s a great list – one of the most awesome memories I have as a child is putting up a lemonade stand on the corner almost every weekend in the summer. Unfortunately, the government is no longer allowing children to do that. Not a government-hating liberal or anything, but I think that’s a little ridiculous! Let the kids have fun and learn how to earn!

  37. emma says:

    I never went camping as a kid, and I don’t regret it.

  38. JohnHenry says:

    42 years of teaching has shown me tha some parents now seem to want to buddy up with their children and not allow them to have consequences. This is not a majority, but still how do they think children will fare in the big bad world\? They may call mommy when they get a ticket for not stopping at a stop sign, and see what that will do.. That is how clueless some will become. Its truly amazing and happens much too often to the detriment of the child

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