On our camping and touring adventures, our kiddos are often lured by the siren call of souvenirs. But we don’t want our kiddos wasting their money accumulating a bunch of
junk “stuff” that will more than likely be in a garage sale pile within a year. A few years ago we discovered a fantastic–and cheap!–souvenir alternative: pressed pennies.
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Pressed penny souvenir machines are everywhere it seems: zoos, museums, theme parks, national parks, state parks, historical sites, etc. And for the low price of $.51 your child can usually pick from a couple designs that are inscribed with the location visited. Sometimes the machines are hiding in a corner of a gift shop or tucked off to the side of an entrance, so if you can’t easily find one, ask a site employee for help.
Before our trip, I stock a former pill bottle with quarters and shiny pennies, which I stack quarter-quarter-penny-quarter-quarter-penny. I also carry an empty pill bottle to put the newly pressed pennies in. This ensures the little treasures actually make it home and into the pressed penny collector books. (I previously made the mistake of letting little ones carry theirs–and then had to deal with lots of weeping when they lost them.)
You can often find pressed penny souvenir books in the gift shops where the pressed penny machines are located. And if not, you can also order them here. Before the kiddos slide the pennies into their collector books I try to write at least the month and year that we visited the location. Over the years it should be fun for the kids to look back through their collections and reminisce about the fun we have had together.
Looking for more great souvenir ideas? Check out our post about why Christmas ornaments make the best souvenirs. Jarrett will also soon be posting about the fun he is having collecting hiking stick medallions.