Do you remember making your parents coupon books as a child? Coupons good for an hour of yard work, helping a younger sibling with homework, organizing the playroom, all to be completed without complaint? I loved giving coupon books as gifts when I was younger! Turns out, they are also phenomenal for my kids, too. If you read my article on “A Year of Dates,” it will come as no surprise that I’m a big fan of experience gifts that can be extended beyond a one-day celebration.
I never considered making coupon books for my children until my youngest was born. There’s nothing like having a newborn during holiday time to get the wheels of creativity churning! We generally try to follow the 4 gift (want-need-wear-read) rule at Christmas, but I felt the need to add to it for my girls who were suddenly taking a backseat to their baby brother. Coupon books to the rescue!
Coupon books don’t need to be fancy. I simply wrote out one per index card and tied them together with a ribbon. Nor do the coupons themselves need to be for anything extravagant. I gave each girl 10 coupons—a mix of things we would do ordinarily and a few special treats. While the coupon books were met with strange curiosity at first, they have proved to be a home-run gift idea to last throughout the year.
Below are some coupon ideas. While many of these are things we do regularly, using a coupon is a great opportunity for kids to feel in control and practice decision-making. My girls have loved to see what experiences they have left to use. It’s also a wonderful way for them to practice planning for things in the future. I love seeing their sense of autonomy grow with deciding how and when to cash in their coupons!
- Parent + child date (great for some one-on-one time if you have more than one child!)
- Manicure at a salon
- Pick out a small plant for their room (they love the tiny succulents for $2 at Trader Joe’s)
- Pony ride at Rock Creek Horse Center
- Trip to a museum of their choice (check out our museum guide for ideas!)
- Popcorn and movie night
- Choose dinner
- Carousel ride (at the zoo or on the National Mall)
- Trip to a favorite ice cream shop (ours is Lulabelle’s in Petworth)
- Bake cookies or another favorite dessert
- Bubble bath with the works!
- Pizza night (order in or DIY mini pizzas)
- Dance party
- Trip to Target Dollar Spot (give $1-3 to spend)
- Game or puzzle night
- Nature walk
- Stay up late to look at the stars
Do you do coupon books for your kids? What are some other coupon ideas that your children love?