- Sophie &Friends
It was one of the best feelings in the world, spending those tickets! The store was stocked with little items like pencils, erasers, notepads, candy, plus what I now know to be unwanted trinkets from my teacher’s home. For example, there was a ceramic mallard duck planter that I purchased from the teacher’s store for my dad, who was (and still is) an amazing gardner. Unfortunately, I was a pretty clumsy kid, and as I walked home, I tripped and dislodged the little spiky plant from the duck’s back. I remember presenting my gift to my dad: in one hand I held the duck and in the other, the uprooted plant! I was so proud, and to my dad’s credit, he was able to save the plant, and the duck sat on our windowsill for many years.
Anyway, the little store in my classroom gave me an idea for something fun to do with your family, or even local group or club.
When you’re a kid, your funds are usually limited, and that makes it hard when it comes time to buy holiday presents for your family. I know that there’s nothing better than being able to take your hard-earned funds (whether in the form of tickets or money) and purchase something special for someone you love. So, if you start now, you and your kids will be ready for the upcoming holiday season!
Setting up the store isn’t hard at all. You’ll need to stock your shelves with little items that folks need or want. Pick up little items when they go on sale, or gather up things that have been relegated to the bottom of the toy chest or the junk drawer. Ask other family members to donate small things they no longer want, like you would do for a yard sale. If you are doing this with a club or group, you should be able to amass a pretty significant store in no time! Keep your wares boxed up and hidden until the actual store reveal -- it helps build the anticipation!
Once you’re ready, it’s time for the fun (and learning!) to begin. After all, not only is it fun to shop, but it teaches little ones the value of earning and saving. Explain to the kids that you’ll be opening a “holiday store.” You might want to even go as far as to make a poster announcing the store’s grand opening! Set a date and time for the store’s opening, and explain how “money” can be earned for spending at the store. Come up with a reward system that fits your group; maybe you’d like to use tickets, or tokens, or buttons or beads (like our Reward Beads), whatever works for you. Write up a list of chores and their worth. This can easily reflect the things you want your family to work on, from things like “being kinder,” “helping out around the house,” “playing quietly,” or “exercising.” To keep track of savings, set up a container for each person (a jar, a cup, a bag, a box, what-have-you), and put in payments at the end of the day or the week.
The night before the grand opening, set up your store. Make it as fun and inviting as you can by placing items at varying heights, grouping like items together, and generally displaying things as you would see in a real store. Set your prices accordingly; large items generally should cost more than small items, one-of-a-kind items should cost more than those where multiple copies exist, things you want to get rid of can be “priced to move” -- just use your best judgement. Also make sure that the pricing is easy to see on signs or tags.
On the day of the sale, make sure you have bags on hand for your little shoppers. You may want to open the store to only one person at a time, so that no one else can see what the others are buying, and they won’t be disappointed if someone else buys something they want if they didn’t get a chance to see it beforehand. Any leftover items can be set aside for a future sale, donated to a worthy organization, or used for other holiday giving to friends.
The ability to give a gift to someone, and knowing that you earned that gift, is a very special treat that every child should experience. I encourage you to give it a try. If nothing else, it will prepare you for that yard sale in the spring... and you might get the garbage taken out without complaint!