Help me find an educational reward/prize for our reading contest
August 6, 2008 2:10 AM   Subscribe

In the spirit of our local library's summer reading program, we've done a similar program of our own (since our children flew through the initial 1000 minutes of the library program). Help me find an appropriate educational-yet-awesome reward to give them for completing our contest!

Ideally finishing rewards would be: a) educational and b) exciting for a 9 year old boy, an 8 year old girl and a 5 year old girl.

The halfway prize we gave them (which was well-received) was $15 of book-buying power at the local used bookstore. This ended up getting them a bunch of used books (fodder for them to finish the next 500 minutes). I'm looking for something unexpected and awesome we could give them as a prize for completing the 1000 minutes of reading time; the price limit we were thinking of was probably somewhere in the $50 range (each).

I will be sure to have them send a nice email to whoever suggests the thing we get them as a prize! :)

Go go hive-mind!
posted by AaronRaphael to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Aquarium! or Planetarium! or any other Arium!
hmmmm. that doesn't seem very original, and conceivably isn't that exciting.

Hmmmm. I'm trying to think of something that isn't tv or movie related, because those things should NOT be used as rewards to reading.

and now it's dawning on me that you probably want something you can hand to them...
i bet the cigarrette companies would give you hats to hand out... ok, ok, that's not funny.

what about bags for carrying their books in? but real rad bags.
or a map of the world (also rad) that has pictures of animals and talks about "the world of reading..."

god i feel old.
posted by punkbitch at 2:45 AM on August 6, 2008

For educational-yet-awsome it's hard to beat ScientificsOnline, the web version of the old Edmund Scientific catalogue. Browsable by age and price range. They have a reasonably priced metal detector, a crystal growing kit, and tons or other cool stuff.
posted by longsleeves at 3:20 AM on August 6, 2008

Do they have cameras? You could get a kidproof digital for about that much and it will get them out of the house and thinking creatively.
posted by thebrokenmuse at 4:34 AM on August 6, 2008

A trip to a nearby big city to see the museum and walk around for a day might be nice.
posted by christinetheslp at 5:15 AM on August 6, 2008

How about a subscription to an age-appropriate magazine? Stone Soup and Cricket were my faves when I was a young bookworm.
posted by pants at 5:19 AM on August 6, 2008 [2 favorites]

Seems like you're only about half an hour from Seattle proper, so may I suggest a day trip in to the Pacific Science Center? We have an analog here in Tampa called MOSI, and growing up I loved when Dad would take me and my brother to MOSI for the day. A day browsing the exhibits, lunch in the cafe, a movie about science of some stripe in the IMAX... that would rule to me at their ages. (Hell, that would rule to me now.)
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 6:19 AM on August 6, 2008

As a side note I would look at some of the research on rewarding children for things they already enjoy. Punished By Rewards is a good book to look at for this. Basicly when rewarding children for, in this case, reading makes them associate the reading as a chore to get through in order to receive the prize. Your first prize of books was supriseingly perfect as it reenforced that reading was the prize. I still remember when I was rewarded with my adult library card at 8 as a reward, and as such gained access to knoledge unimaginiable, and I have not put down books since. Obviously if you are going to buy them something else this would be the periphery prize, but it may be an idea to work into it.
posted by elationfoundation at 8:12 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

Seconding that if you give a reward I would prefer to see one that continues them on the road to reading.

More books, trip to a museum, yes.

Bubble gum or a new game system, no.

Along those lines, I would suggest a package of a bag for books, fun bookmarks, and a signed copy of something they really love. Though possibly out of your stated budget, it may be possible to arrange a trip to see an author read and discuss books they love (this last one might be most appropriate for the older one, but maybe the 5 year old would enjoy. If you have a local independent bookstore they can keep you abreast of those events.).
posted by bilabial at 9:15 AM on August 6, 2008

A fishtank or aquarium of their own? If you want to tie in with the reading theme, maybe they could go to the library and get books about different kinds of fish, how to keep them happy in an aquarium, what kinds of fish live well together, etc.

I remember when I first made the connection between information that I had read and information that I could apply, and it was an amazing moment.

Congratulations to your kids for reading!
posted by corey flood at 9:40 AM on August 6, 2008

A trophy. I did a reading contest when I was in elementary school, and as a prize, I got a trophy. I didn't play any sports, and would never had another chance to get a trophy. So the trophy was REALLY cool.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:28 AM on August 6, 2008 [1 favorite]

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