The Best Rewards To Motivate Kids To Try Their Best In School This Year

By Dave Basner

July 14, 2022

Photo: Getty Images

As a new school year approaches, parents across the country are hoping their children either get good grades or just try their best, but sometimes kids need a little motivation to hit those goals. So what can moms and dads offer to reward their kids for either doing well in school or putting forth their strongest effort in class? Here are some great options that will have any kid striving for success:

Sporting Events And Plays

One thrilling way to reward kids on a job well done is by taking them to see others whose hard work has really paid off. Bring them to a play to watch actors and singers who strived to be in the spotlight, or take them to a sporting event to see athletes whose efforts took them to the big leagues.

Dave & Buster's

Photo: Getty Images

After a quarter, a semester, or a year of reading, writing and studying, a great place to wind down and have a blast is at Dave & Buster’s. With 145 locations across the country, there is bound to be one near you. The arcade and restaurant can keep your hard worker busy for hours, thanks to the many types of games offered, from ones that let you drive, to sporting-themed ones, and plenty of carnival-type games where luck or skill can win you hundreds of tickets. Those tickets can then be turned in for some incredible prizes that your child is sure to love and cherish. Find the Dave & Buster's closest to you here.

A Yes Day

To really strive at school, there is a lot of being told "no." "No, you can't hang out with friends until you finish your homework," or "You have to read so no TV or tablet." Well as a reward, how about a day of yes. A Yes Day is one where you agree to anything your kids ask – within reason. Lay out some ground rules first but from then on, you only answer in the affirmative to requests, whether it is for an ice cream breakfast, a shopping spree or a day at the movies. Your children get to be creative with their asks, and everyone winds up with a day that won’t soon be forgotten. 


Photo: LEGOLAND New York

For decades, LEGO has been delighting architects and builders of all ages and now, there are three LEGO-themed amusement parks and hotels across the country and they are perfect for kids. The LEGOLAND Hotel rooms are all themed like different types of LEGO sets, from pirates to Ninjago to kingdom to LEGO Friends, and upon entering the room at the New York location, guests are challenged to a scavenger hunt that, when completed, gives the combination to a special kids’ safe in the room, which has a fun present in it.

Photo: LEGOLAND New York

Elsewhere in the hotel, there is a whoopie cushion shown on the carpet in the elevator lobby and you can guess what happens when someone stands on it. As for the elevators, every ride in one is a disco party, complete with lights and music that will have your family doing “The Hustle” as you ascend to your room. Meanwhile, everything is decorated with LEGO – sculptures in each room, the hallways, the restaurants, the lobby and just about everywhere else.

Photo: LEGOLAND New York

Best of all, it is right next to one of the best amusement parks around, LEGOLAND. While each park has its own set of attractions, LEGOLAND New York, just 60 miles outside of the Big Apple, features exciting rides, entertaining shows, fun games, creative play areas, meet & greets with LEGO characters, 4D movies, plus LEGO workshops. Among the rides are the exhilarating Dragon roller coaster and its counterpart, The Dragon’s Apprentice for younger thrill-seekers. There’s also the interactive Ninjago: The Ride, the immersive LEGO Factory Adventure Ride, DJ’s Dizzy Disco Spin, Driving School - which puts kids behind the wheel of their own car, and many others. Plus, there is MINILAND, an incredible display of some of America’s most popular landmarks, all created with LEGO bricks. If you do go to a LEGOLAND Resort, be sure to bring your minifigures – every employee has at least one on their name tag and they are all willing to trade with you. Learn more about LEGOLAND New York here, or LEGOLAND Parks overall here.

Woodloch Resort

Photo: Woodloch Resort

If your child is into activities, there is no better reward than a trip to Woodloch Resort. Located in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains, Woodloch is like a luxurious camp for the whole family. Days at Woodloch are jam-packed with fun-filled options, and each day you wake up there, you will be greeted with a long sheet filled with the available activities for that day. Among them, depending on the season, are go-karts, paddle boats, water skiing, frisbee golf, archery, arts & crafts, batting cages, climbing walls, bumper cars, bumper boats, snow tubing, arcades, playgrounds and much more.

Photo: Woodloch Resort

There are hosted activities too like bingo, trivia contests, cake wars, Minute To Win It, scavenger hunts, bean bag tosses, Name That Tune, basketball shoot-outs and tons more. That’s in addition to all the facilities available as well, like tennis courts, a mini-golf course, hiking trails, horseshoe pits, basketball courts, a shooting range, a lake with scenic boat tours, and indoor and outdoor pools with a kids’ splash zone. Plus, there is nightly entertainment like magicians, ventriloquists, mentalists, Broadway-style musicals, DJ parties and karaoke.

Photo: Woodloch Resort

All of that is included in the price of your stay. They even offer meal plans so you don’t have to worry about what to do for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Woodloch has enough to keep children of all ages, and adults, busy and happy, so whether your kid just figured out their ABCs in preschool or graduated high school with honors, a trip to the resort is the perfect way to congratulate them on a job well done. Learn more and plan your vacation to Woodloch here.

Nickelodeon Resort

Photo: Karisma Hotels & Resorts

For families who want to pull out all the stops to reward a student for a job well done, there is no better place than the Nickelodeon Resort. With one in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, and a newer one in Riviera Maya, Mexico, both promise guests an incredible time with their favorite Nick characters in paradise.

While meeting and hanging out with the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,” “Dora,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” the Paw Patrol crew and many others is thrilling, it is just the start of the offerings at the resorts. Both boast impressive waterparks with the one in Mexico ranking as one of the biggest themed waterparks in the world. It features lazy rivers, tube slides, body slides, racer slides, splash pads and much more – including daily slimings where you can get covered in the green stuff just like you see on Nickelodeon.

Photo: Karisma Hotels & Resorts

There are also tons of games, crafts, and activities, plus nightly shows – everything from magicians and jugglers to full-on enthralling aerial acrobatic productions. The Mexican resort’s accommodations can’t be beat either, with all its spacious rooms facing the ocean and every one includes its own pool.

The food is top notch too and can be eaten at a variety of restaurants including the futuristic Spacewalker in Punta Cana or themed eateries in Riviera Maya like Bikini Bottom Bar and Good Burger.

Photo: Karisma Hotels & Resorts

The resorts aren’t just a fit for kids though, moms and dads can relax at their world-class spas and not worry about the kids – the resort’s Club Nick will watch over them and keep them happily entertained. Best of all, the Nickelodeon Resort is all-inclusive, so all your food, drinks and fun are covered when you book your room. Get your trip planned now, here.

However you decide to acknowledge your child’s efforts in school, be sure that they understand that you are proud of their hard work – that positive reinforcement can go a long way.

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