I love giving out prizes to kids. I don't do it all the time, but every once in a while I get out the prize box and the we'll play a game where the winning team gets to choose something from it. It's fun and that kids love it. But I have learned a few things about the prize box over the years. In fact, I have discovered that there are some definite do's and don'ts when it comes to what should go into it. Here are a couple rules of thumb that I use to keep the prize box from becoming a problem in my own
This might seem like a little thing, but for some families this is a big issue. They don't want their children playing even with pretend guns or knives. Another issue is that some children live in worlds were guns and knives play an all too real role in their everyday lives and so they are not something to make light of. Just because your child understands that guns are not toys may not mean that the child next door has the same understanding. So, the best choice is just not to include any sort of weapon type toy in the prize box.
Little girls love makeup. But not all parents are okay with letting them even pretend to wear it. Lip gloss is fine for one child and not allowed for another. So in my prize box, we don't put any sort of makeup (pretend or otherwise).
Keep an eye on what your kids choose
There is always a toy that everyone wants, and there is equally always a toy that stays unchosen in the prize box. Keep track of what is popular so that you don't spend money on things that no one wants. In one church I was at, I couldn't keep bubbles in the box because they were always taken, in another church, they would sit in the box untouched. Every place is different, so keep yours stocked accordingly.
Make sure that your box is contains something for everyone. In my box, I have toy cars, perhaps a stuffed animal, small notebooks, bubbles, puzzles, etc. I recently found watercolor painting books at Michael's that are a lot of fun and were only $1. Keeping a variety of toys makes it more fun for the kids to choose.
There is rarely a prize in my prize box that costs more than $1, so every few weeks I'll buy 3-5 things to add to it. Spending $5 a month isn't a huge expense, but it adds a lot to our ministry with the kids. I just try to be careful about what I spend that money on.
Until next week!