By Rachel Hoeing

The good ol’ days. No matter your current age, the good ol’ days often means those childhood years occurring between the ages of 7 and 12. The years where you were old enough to only remember being carefree. You just knew how to have fun.

When my kids have a day where their creativity soars, outside adventure takes place, and neighborhood friends bond, I want to shout it from the rooftops because I am so proud of them and it reminds me of my own good ol’ days. I think we need to encourage our kids’ creative ideas, no matter how crazy they may seem.

This thinking reminded me of a “Penny Party” that I hosted back when I was 10 years old …

We were at the mall and there was this child-like phone booth where you could put a quarter in and listen to a fictional story. The story I heard told me about a Penny Party that some children created for their friends. The light went off in my head and as soon as I hung up the phone I told my mom I wanted to have a Penny Party of my own. My mom never questioned it. She never told me it would take too much time or need a lot of planning, or that I was getting in way over my head. She simply said, “OK!”

I got to planning and brought in some trusty friends to help me throw the big extravaganza. We planned for weeks and weeks and started calling all our friends to tell them about the big day. All they needed to do was bring all their pennies with them to our house. The party would be like a carnival in our own backyard!

On that beautiful spring day, we set up about 10 different games in our backyard. Anything from throwing pennies into cups, bowling, picking candy out of a secret pocket chart, hula hooping, etc. Each game cost a few pennies, and every game came with a prize. (Most prizes were candy.) The biggest hit of the party was the haunted house. We set this up in our shed and it was absolutely hilarious. At the end of the haunted house, we had our friend sitting in the attic of the shed and he would turn on my Dad’s leaf blower and blow the kids out of the door! Everyone would scream and run and then turn around and pay their money to go through the haunted house again.

I remember feeling such a sense of accomplishment that day. Our Penny Party planning committee sat pretty smug as we counted our earnings at the end of the day and added up about $25 worth of pennies. This was amazing! Not only did we have an absolute blast at the party, but we made money! Whoopie! It was a huge success.

Little did we know, my parents had spent about $50 that day running back and forth to the store to buy more prizes as the word spread about our Penny Party and more and more neighborhood kids kept showing up. I thought it was so sweet that my parents never told us this until years later. I love that they let us use our creativity and imagination to transform our backyard into a carnival and entertain our friends for the day. Their support and encouragement probably made a bigger impact than I had ever imagined. Those of you who know me well are probably laughing because it just paved the way for all of my event and party planning for the future!

So my parenting tip for the day … let your child’s creativity soar, even if you think the idea is a crazy one!

If you have similar stories of your childhood I would love for you to share them below!