My first experience at an arcade prize counter with the girls was traumatic. They had played all these games, collected tickets with pride and now they were unbelievably excited to turn in their hard-earned tickets for bouncy balls, candy and plastic jewelry. I estimated that I had spent about $50, and they were jumping all over themselves for about $5 in prizes. To make this experience worse, there were lots of other kids there just as excited to spend their tickets.
Eventually we made it to the car, and I vowed to always let Hubby do prize counter duty.
Once I hit up my chocolate stash and pulled my nerves together, I thought about the experience. Why were my girls so excited to get trinkets that they would lose in a few hours? How could I use that excitement at home to encourage good behavior?
I created a reward bin.
The bin is full of cutesy things, and rewards are given for actions like being nice to each other, a job well done, and just for being themselves.
I use it randomly so they don’t expect a prize for giving their sister a hug or cleaning their room without a reminder from me. They just know that sometimes they get a chance to look through the bin and choose a prize, :-).
Items in the bin can be almost anything. I typically hit up the clearance section at Target and the 10 for $10 at Claire’s. If you want to start your own reward bin here are some prize ideas.
- Art supplies
- Bath bombs
- $5 gift cards. I only do a few of these.
- Jewelry. They love finding new bracelets, necklaces and rings in the bin.
- Lip gloss
- Mini purses
- Nail polish
- Pretend items (food, makeup, etc.)
- Stuffed animals
- Travel games
In general, think of things your kids will love and use that as your inspiration.