Trading Toys For Experiences

May 29, 2019.Cheree Sauer.6 Likes.19 Comments

Do you ever feel like you are constantly cleaning up toys and clutter? That disheartening feeling of going in circles doing the same tasks over and over again can be overwhelming at times.

Last May we downsized from a house to a townhome and it was one of the best decisions we made. That move forced us to purge all of the unnecessary toys and clutter that had been lying around our house, with no purpose.  I was surprised by how much decluttering decreased our stress, not to mention the amount of time we had to spend cleaning up. Even when things are shoved away in a drawer, those things still consume space in our minds, adding to our stress and anxiety as mamas.

Given that we had less space to work within our new place, we decided to start requesting and giving experiences, rather than toys for holidays, birthdays, etc.. 

This opened the door for more opportunities to make memories together as a family. Our kids realized how much more fun it was to enjoy experiences around our city, rather than opening a toy and forgetting about it soon after. As a result, they often request experiences over toys.

One of our favorite family experiences was going to Silverwood in Athol, Idaho as a family last August. I have fond memories of Silverwood as a child, teenager, and young adult, but this was a whole new level of joy. Seeing the look of joy and excitement on our kid’s faces was so fulfilling for us as parents.


A few years ago, my 6-year old earned a free ticket to Silverwood through Silverwood’s “Read 2 Ride” program. We didn’t want his hard work reading to go to waste, so we decided to make a trip as a family. To date, it is our favorite family experience. Since then, our 6-year-old never fails to request Silverwood tickets for Christmas and his birthday.  Our 4-year-old has a strong passion for anything full of sugar, so one of his favorite memories was using his own hard-earned chore money to buy a Blue Razzberry slushy from Downriver Slush. We used this family vacation as a way to teach our kids that money doesn’t grow on trees and how they can be wise with their spending choices. Needless to say, they were both pleased with their slushy choice.


Our 6-year-old was in awe of the FREE magic show, as were the rest of us. Definitely a highlight of the entire trip!

Here are a few of our Silverwood favorites:

Isaiah Daniel’s Magic Show on Main Street

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we initially were walking into the show, but we all left with our jaws dropped in awe and amazement of the illusions performed.  

Tip: There is a delicious Pizzeria in the Theatre which is perfect for dinner or lunch. I suggest arriving 45 minutes early to the show so you can get a seat at a table, which I prefer over the bleachers!


Tiny Toot Rollercoaster in Garfield’s Summer Camp

      • This was a family favorite. It went fast enough for adults to enjoy, but it wasn’t too intense for the kids. We must have ridden it at least 6 times!

Lindy’s on Main Street

    • This place is great if you need allergy-friendly food options. The food was excellent (with gluten and dairy free options!) I am so grateful that our server was more than willing to accommodate my allergies.
    • Tip: This is a sit-down restaurant. Plan ahead because Lindy’s doesn’t do orders to go. Since I knew my family was going to be eating pizza at the magic show, I sat down, ordered my food, paid and then took it to go.

Elkhorn Creek and Polliwog Park at Boulder Beach

    • Tip 1: Looking back, we should have started our day here! Boulder beach is the best place to be during those hot summer days. We saved it for last with hopes that we wouldn’t spend the entire day wet, however, even during the summer Idaho can be a bit chilly later in the afternoon.
    • They have life jackets available for free, but they are first-come-first-serve. You can bring your own Coast Guard approved life jacket to guarantee one is available.  

Bumper Boats in Country Carnival

  • Bumper boats are a kid favorite. What’s better than driving, shooting someone with water and getting wet when it’s 80 degrees outside as a kid?
  • Tip: Plan to be in line for 45 minutes-1.5 hours on busy, hot days during the weekend. I recommend having a snack and water in hand to keep kids occupied.

I was so surprised that there were so many activities and rides for young children, even for young toddlers. The younger kid rides were not only fun for our kids but for us adults as well. Our only regret was not showing up earlier. We decided to go around 11 am so we could save money by eating lunch in the car because we didn’t think our kids would last the whole day. We were wrong! When it came time to leave, all of us were bummed we didn’t have more time to experience the entire park! (Side note: we didn’t know you could take your own food into Silverwood, lesson learned! You can bring in a small lunch in a 12x12x12 soft sided cooler!)

Speaking of experiences, Father’s Day is coming fast! On Father’s Day dads get in FREE with the purchase of a kid ticket! Spending Fathers Day at Silverwood has become a family tradition in our household. Click here for more details and other ways to save money.

The memories we have made at Silverwood as a family far outlast the excitement of opening up a toy and forgetting about it a few weeks later. We will definitely be going back to Silverwood this year with hopes to camp, so we can enjoy the park for 2 full days.

Stay tuned for more adventures, lodging, tips, tricks, and ways to save money at Silverwood. I will be sharing more of our family experiences and things I do to keep my kids busy and myself sane.

Heartfelt blessings until next time!


About the Author:

Hello, my name is Cheree! I am a wife and mom. I own a business called Heartfelt Mamas, where I share motherhood struggles and teach self-care through blogging and social media. I have been married to my husband for 12 years, and we have two boys who are in 1st grade and preschool. Our family loves to explore the outdoors and find activities around the Spokane area. We do our best to cherish experiences over things. I have been to Silverwood as a kid, teenager, young adult, adult — and now as a parent too. I am an adrenaline seeker; roller coasters and thrill rides are my all time favorite! As a child, my dad and I would always try to find the rides that gave us the biggest adrenaline rush. Now my 6-year-old and I do the same. He is so excited to be tall enough for the big coasters this year!


Silverwood Express Giveaway

Categories: Travel

Comments (19)

  • Cassie W . May 29, 2019 . Reply

    Love the tips!

  • Mindy . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    I loved reading this blog and appreciate the tips for different vendors, btw, LOVE the pizza at the magic show concession stand! I didn’t even realize some of them existed, but I’ve only been there twice 🙂

  • Ellyse . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    Super excited to be taking the kids this year! Never been on a rollar coaster. So thankyou for the tips!!

  • Dannell . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    Very down to earth blog. I miss the hometown feel! Can’t wait to visit/ possibly move back.

  • ann horack . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story I want to take my kids this summer would love to win having 2 kids a 2 adults winning would help

    • Jennifer Sissel . June 2, 2019 . Reply

      My family loves going to Silverwood every summer, we have made it our new family summer tradition.

  • Amanda M. . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    Great til about going to Boulder Beach first. Hate being cold when it cooled off in the evening.

  • Candice . May 30, 2019 . Reply


  • Ally . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    I’ve never been to Silverwood, but I’m pretty inspired to make the trip now!

  • Elizabeth McDaniel . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    Thanks for the great tips!

  • Wendy Galeano . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    Definitely looking forward to taking my son this year. I’m sure he would love best of both worlds rides and splashing around.

  • Becky . May 30, 2019 . Reply

    We are using this trading toys for experiences by taking our then 14-year-old to Silverwood for his birthday!

  • Catherine . May 31, 2019 . Reply

    This tip is a good idea I thought I heard this before but anyway I have a 3 years old. And was wondering how can you do that for family and friends so instead of getting gift maybe they can just help or gift card maybe?? I don’t like to tell them of course unless maybe they asked about it? We were thinking of going this year but not sure about our 3 yrs old boy if his gonna have a lot of rides that he can go play Let me know thanks!

  • Kristal A Ornelas . May 31, 2019 . Reply

    We now have to do two days of Silverwood, especially once the waterpark is open. Annual trips are usually a must for us all

  • Kai McLaughlin . May 31, 2019 . Reply

    This just made me want to go all the more!! Wonderful blog post!

  • Carrie S. . June 1, 2019 . Reply

    We haven’t seen the Magic Tricks yet, but will definitely have to for our next trip. We really enjoyed the train. It was my favorite! I think the kids actually enjoyed the water park the most. I have to agree that you are absolutely correct when you say the food is good! Yummy!! Our family of 6 will definately have to do what you said and make it a 2 dayer next time. Eager for our second trip just trying to get the funds together. 🙂 Thank You for Sharing!

  • Alana Harvey . June 2, 2019 . Reply

    We have lived here our whole lives and our son just turned 2 and daughter 13. We are using the trade toys for experience to help them learn to love being outdoors and making memories

  • Jaclyn . June 2, 2019 . Reply

    This is such a good blog definitely something to do we have so much toy clutter already and only have a 3 year old. Toy break, experiences will last forever. We will be going to silverwood with a big group of family in a couple weeks. We will be traveling all the way from hawaii!

  • Pam . July 1, 2019 . Reply

    On July 1st at 1:23pm I wanted to ride the Scrambler with my 2 grandchildren. Being second in line Peter assigned us to a car with an extra high step getting in. I have weak legs and could not manage the high step. Peter wouldn’t explain why we couldn’t get in another car with a lower step. There is no step stool available for situations like this so the result was that I couldn’t ride with my grandson & granddaughter. I don’t understand why we couldn’t have ridden in another car with a step closer to the ground, they were available. Peter you need some customer service training or you don’t belong an employee of Silverwood Theme Park. All of the other employees I’ve come in contact with have been pleasant, helpful, knowledgeable, & when applicable show common sense. Unfortunately Peter demonstrated none of these characteristics.

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