Learn Value of Money at Chuck-E-Cheese?

chuck-e-cheeseWhen my children were young and I had no money whatsoever, I would feed the kids a full lunch at home. Then I would go to Chuck-E-Cheese. When the children walked through the door, each child was given one free coin. (I’m not sure if they do this any more.) I had my children come to a table, where we pooled all our coins. Then I would give one coin to the children. I said, “Choose a ride that you all want to go on, and get on. Then put the coin in.” I sat with my baby while the other three children walked around and weighed the pros and cons of each ride. They discussed with each other which ride they wanted to go on, and then they enjoyed the ride.

When the first ride was over, they would come back for the second coin, and on it went. Believe it or not, my children went on more than four rides. It was more like ten rides. How, you ask? I huddled the children together and showed them how other children would put coins into the rides, then walk away, not valuing the coin because they had so many. I told them to keep an eye out for empty rides that were still going. “Hop on and enjoy it!” I said. So my children rode on those free rides in between the four rides which we bought with our four free coins. When we were out of coins, the children played on the play structures. They had a fabulous time. It cost us absolutely nothing.

Other times, my husband found coupons for $20 worth of coins for $10. So we would get the coins, divide them in half, and use half the coins one evening. A couple of weeks later, we would come back as a family, and we would use the other half of the coins.

Now that our family is slightly better off, we go ahead and get the overpriced pizza and hot wings, because we want to reward Chuck-E-Cheese for all the times we played without buying anything. But even the $10 we spent for two nights was still a $10 profit to them. (Whenever I wasn’t buying anything, I would go during the off-hours so that other people would not see an empty Chuck-E-Cheese, because that looks bad for business.) We now use Chuck-E-Cheese as a reward whenever our kid swims across the swimming pool for the first time, or when they pull out a loose tooth that hurts.

Most children are too bratty to go without coins. They would just throw fits. But my young children expected nothing, so they were grateful for whatever coins they were given, and they were always careful with their coins. Later when they were older and had lots of coins, they still consulted their siblings and would ride rides together to maximize their money.

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5 Responses to “Learn Value of Money at Chuck-E-Cheese?”

  1. It is good to teach children the value of money. I see too many children having all they want, throwing temper tantrums to oblige their parents to give them what they want and just not apreciating what they have.
    When my son was born, I wanted to give him everything. Then I sat down to think and realized that more important than to give him material things would be teach him to apreciate what he has, work hard to get it, be patient and not splurge his resources.
    I think we need to learn to be thankful for what we have and forget about wanting more all the time.

  2. Renee Barry says:

    Such a sweet post. It took me back to my little (big now) sweeties when we frequented Chuckie Cheese on a regular basis when they were two cute little people.

    Such a great idea with the spreading of those coins out. That was such a great place to go — and like you said — feed them a big lunch and off you go to play.

    Great memories. Thanks for sharing.

    • Susan says:

      My kids always loved going to Chuck E Cheese, even when they didn’t have much. I’m glad they were able to learn how to share and stretch their money.

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