by Mike Zoob of Road Scholar

Photos courtesy of Road Scholar

Hot Wheels, Barbies, baseball bats: Your grandchildren probably have plenty already. Why not think out of the box for the holidays this year and give them a gift that can have a long-lasting impact on their lives. Here’s a countdown of our top gift ideas for grandchildren.

10. An Instrument or Lessons

Helping your grandchild discover a new talent or passion can certainly be life changing. If your grandchild has shown an interest in music, gifting them a guitar, flute or violin can change their life by giving them an outlet for expression they never knew before.

9. A Digital Camera

They may seem too young for a digital camera, but VTech and Discovery Kids offer sturdy, durable cameras for kids 3 and up. Treat their gift like a new hobby, and it can be something that you share for years to come. Plus, framed photos they’ve taken can be a great gift in the future for the kids or their parents.

8. A Journal

A real journal. With pages. And a really cool pen. Encourage your grandchild to write in it every day. Even if they don’t grow up to be professional writers, having a paper journal to look back on is a great gift for them as they grow older.

7. A Nice Bike

Encourage your grandchildren to step away from their screens and get outside with a shiny new bicycle. Spend time with them going for bike rides. Sign your teenagers up for a charity bike ride so they have something to work toward. Or go hiking, kayaking—whatever active things you want to share with them.

6. GoldieBlox

Your granddaughter likely has enough dolls to last a lifetime. Think about some gender-bending toys or gifts that can introduce her to skills that aren’t typically encouraged for girls. GoldieBlox are “designed to develop an interest in engineering and confidence in problem-solving.” Consider STEM toys for boys, too, like Brackitz Inventor or a good old set of Legos.

5. The Little Prince

The Little Prince is a story on many levels. For children, it’s a silly tale of a little boy who travels from planet to planet, meeting colorful characters along the way. But the book can engage readers with deeper meanings, making it a book that you can read together, and that can grow with your grandchild. They may even discover a love for books—and that’s a life-changing gift you can’t put a price on.

4. A Pet

A dog or a cat is a friend for life and can teach your grandchildren important lessons about responsibility. Just be sure to have a serious talk with their parents before bringing home a designer golden doodle.

3. A Savings Account

When your grandkids are little, their toys, clothes and games pile up quickly, especially if they have older siblings. One of the best long-term gifts you can give them is a savings account that you add to every holiday and birthday. Whether the money goes toward college, a backpacking trip around Europe or a summer in New York City, it could change their lives.

2. A Volunteer Service Experience

Consider skipping the gifts and taking part in a service activity with your grandchild. Sign up to serve a meal at a homeless shelter with your teenager. Adopt a family with your littler ones, and shop together to buy gifts. Introducing community service to them at a young age can make it a consistent part of their lives as they grow up.

1. An Educational Travel Experience

Sharing your love and passion for travel and learning can instill those same passions in your grandchild. And the memories made and the bond built during an educational travel experience can last a lifetime. After all, time spent together is the greatest gift of all—for you both.

Visit and type “intergenerational” in the search bar to discover exciting learning adventures you can experience with your grandchild.

Road Scholar is the nation’s largest educational travel organization for adults – a true university of the world. This not-for-profit educational organization offers 5,500 extraordinary learning adventures in 150 countries and 50 states. Road Scholars are immersed in a variety of educational activities, enlisting renowned faculty and experts who offer insider access not available to most individuals. Dedicated to making educational travel available to everyone, Road Scholar offers financial aid for those who otherwise could not participate in its programs.

Road Scholar educational adventures are created by Elderhostel, the not-for-profit world leader in educational travel for adults since 1975. Learn more at