Giving the gift of experience, not just stuff

Vasilije’s 3rd Birthday

My not so baby anymore turned THREE last Friday May 12th! Well, first I cannot believe he is THREE – cue all the mom feels right now! I mean, I technically have a preschooler and I can’t handle that.

I don’t know about you guys, but I am over the kids parties, the whole planning, the invitations, the set-up, the party favors and just the random stuff they get as gifts… blah blah blah (not to offend anyone) but I do believe that giving them an experience is more valuable than the party they may have or the gazillion gifts they may receive. We did have a party for each one when they turned ONE.

A little tradition that we have started is giving our boys the gift of experience not things. YES – we did buy Vasilije a bicycle which to me has another meaning. My parents bought me my first bicycle and I thought it would mean a lot if we bought Vasilije his first bicycle. I felt that his third birthday was the perfect timing to get him one. I mean, they don’t need any more stuff – I am always packing things, donating, wishing the storage room was any bigger to fit everything, and yet all we keep getting is more toys. Instead, I am suggesting to give the gift of time and love. Spend time with my boys.


We spent the day in the City, mainly at Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago followed by a lunch date at one of our favorite restaurants and finally when we got home, family and friends stopped by to wish this little guy a happy birthday. Needless to say he was exhausted from walking all day and skipping his afternoon nap, but he was so excited and just overly happy. He was beyond happy to be at the Zoo – he was naming all the animals and was just excited to see them. As he would get close, he was trying to analyze them and hear the sounds they make. He would ask a tons of questions. Like, why are they all sleeping?


By no means am I saying that “stuff” cannot be memorable too. I am sure we can all recall a childhood toy that we really wanted and were super happy when we did get it, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the clutter and amount of stuff your kids currently have, asking for the gift of an experience is another alternative. You won’t regret it.

Here are some ideas how to Give kids the gift of experience, not just stuff:

  1. Season pass for the local zoo
  2. Hot Air Balloon Ride
  3. Reserving a camp ground
  4. Tickets to a sports game
  5. A pass to the aquarium or museum
  6. Season pass for their local pool
  7. Tickets to a play
  8. Rock climbing

In addition I do believe that shared family time and experience brings you closer with your children, provides a stronger identity and a higher sense of security for them. This brings your bond to another level, and teaches your children to appreciate experiences in life more than things. It teaches them to value the time spent together, and that we don’t need three of the same toys.

Vasilije’s favorites:

1. One of his favorite things to do is play soccer with his dad. He loves it. So every chance we get we take him to the park to play or just in the front yard.


2. He loves the playground. He loves the sand. We are always at the park, and he never gets tired.


3. He loves cars. Small cars. Big trucks. Construction. Everything. He loves them all.


4. He loves to play in water. Whether it’s at grandma’s pool or just having some water in a dish to pretend cook, he loves it all. He keeps asking if it’s summer yet so we can have the pool out.

5. Currently obsessed over pj masks and paw patrol (whose toddler isn’t?) We were on a hunt for them, and still missing some. I just canot keep up with all this. Haha.


Outfit details: THREE & WILD tshirt |

His three year photoshoot by Anna Dujakovic. Again, thank you all for following our journey and being so supportive.



  1. I couldn’t agree more, so many places to be, so many things to explore & that is what they remember most. Happiest of Birthday Vasilije! be Wild & always have fun!

    1. Thank you! Your girls are beautiful, and I love all your energy taking them all places to see and explore. Thank you for capturing these moments of my baby.

  2. I LOVE this idea. We have so much stuff and honestly, I enjoy getting experiences as gifts more. I don’t know why I never thought of doing that for kids. He’s so stinking cute.

  3. Beautiful pictures of your handsome, curious and energized 3 year old, Vasilije! I completely agree on giving the gift of experience over (more) toys! 🙂

    1. Thank you beautiful! I love making a photobook and later reminiscing on the memories with them, almost like a story to read but about them. I know V will enjoy all the experiences you take her on.

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