The Best Way to Spend Money on Your Kids? Give Them Experiences, Not Stuff

Researchers Tom Gilovich and Travis Carter conducted several studies over two years. They concluded from that research that giving children experiences brings more long-term enjoyment than buying material possessions. They claim that memories are more valuable than our purchases. But they really did not need to write a research paper to tell us that.

Ask an adult about doll they had when they were ten and they might be able to give you a few vague details. Ask an adult about the holiday they went on that year with their family and if they did go on one, nine times out of ten they will still be able to remember it well, and they will be happy memories too.

Great Experiences to Offer Your Kids

Beach holidays are nice, but they are far from the only great experiences you can offer your kids. They also tend to be annual occasions, and if you are going to cut down on the amount of material stuff you gift your children to be fair the experiences you provide in place of it should be more frequent than that.

Often the best family adventures and experiences are actually the simplest, and yet because they are inexpensive (so no big money worries) and casual they are also often the best remembered. Not sure what you could do? Here are just a few ideas:

  • Get active together. Even the youngest kids will enjoy something like a parent/tot gym class. These classes are a great chance to bond while your child learns and also act as a great way to socialize with other parents. It’s a win/win situation all around.
  • For older kids, let them spend some of their summer vacation learning new things with peers, rather than hanging around at home. At Integrity we will once again be offering Summer Camp day sessions for kids covering everything from gymnastics to crafting to American Ninja Warrior and these sessions certainly build great memories (parents and kids tell us that all the time!
  • Make a resolution to visit at least one local museum or art gallery a month. To get you started here’s a list of the ten most popular in Overland Park. On such outings, not only do you get to spend a great day together as a family you will all get to learn something new as well.
  • Take a simple picnic lunch to a park on a nice afternoon. Just sandwiches and whatever else you have in your pantry that travels well will do. Add a few blankets to sit on and maybe a little money for ice cream (if everyone’s good) and you can have a simple, family day in the sun, stress-free.
  • Start a new book series together. Read one at a time together until you’ve read them all! The books should be read as a family though, with everyone taking turns to read passages out loud. They should also, of course, be age appropriate but as there are an abundance of good books out there for kids of all ages that should not be too hard to find.
  • Teach the kids games you played as a kid. Hopscotch, marbles, pick-up-sticks, card games, anything
  • Make popcorn and enjoy a movie with the whole family

As you can see, all of these ideas are simple and inexpensive but they will be remembered. And long after you kids have forgotten what used to be in their toy box or closet at the same age.

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