The Fun Fund

By Emily Papa, Macaroni KID Publisher May 23, 2022

A little over a year ago, my husband started offering the kids a dollar here and there for when they went “above and beyond” for certain tasks and told them it would go towards a “Fun Fund” with an understanding that the Fun Fund could be used on any “extra” activity that the kids wanted to do with themselves or with friends, but with 3 simple rules:

1. They had enough money to cover all costs of whatever it was they wanted to do,

2. Everyone had to agree on the idea, and 

3. They had to plan it themselves. 

When the Fun Fund was started, the kids were excited about the possibility of having enough money in the fun fund to go get ice cream or maybe go to the movies. 

Money started adding up, their dreams got a little bigger, and they thought they could maybe plan an hour at the jump park. 

But with a bit of patience and hard work, our kids set a much larger goal of being able to go to their favorite amusement park, Kennywood. This week they realized they finally saved up enough money to buy 3 Kennywood tickets as well as have money for concessions and a few games. They put the plan into action, asked my husband if he would take them, and off they went.  

I’m not gonna lie, my double type A self was a little nervous about the whole thing and found it almost hard to hold back. I didn’t do a THING to help them prepare (other than help them find discounted tickets) and I just listened as I heard them budget out their earnings and create their "to-do list." 

On their own, these kids (ages 10, 9, and 6) organized the whole thing and made all the plans. They figured out what time they wanted to leave based on when the park opened, packed their lunches, snacks, change of clothes, AND told me I could stay home (because they wanted to do it just with my husband as the whole Fun Fund has been orchestrated by him). I was anxious not stepping in at all, but honestly, I was SO freaking proud of them. For all of it. Proud of my husband too for this simple yet genius idea and opportunity. 

It's crazy to think that a simple envelope with two words on it would bring out so much goodness. From the beginning, we saw cooperation and excitement as they went above and beyond to earn a dollar for that envelope. We saw goals set and reached. By letting them create all the details of the day, we were granting them an opportunity to gain independence and responsibility that they don't typically have when we (the parents) are running the show. We saw problem solvers and solution seekers. Allowing them to execute their plan without interference, we felt their self-esteem would grow, and their confidence soar. We saw a successful and fun filled day that would make any parent proud. Here are some photos from their Fun Fund Day!

Not a bad amusement park prep list, huh?

Together these kids set a goal, worked hard to raise enough money and practiced patience until they got there. 

Notice the shared ice cream - they realized they would save more but still have the same amount to eat if they shared a large vs buying 2 smaller cups. 

With money budgeted for games, we had smiles for miles when they actually won a prize!

Having full intentions of getting their money's worth, they were there before the park opened and then shut it down. With their buckets filled, they came exclaiming it was the "best day ever!"

I can take ZERO credit for the Fun Fund as this was all my husband's idea. However, I am really excited to see what they come up with next! We are also challenging YOU to start a Fun Fund with YOUR kids this summer and hope that you'll share your experiences with us by sending us a message or tagging us on social media #pghmackid.