It’s what you do together, not how much you spend.

When my daughter was 2, money was tight and I felt particularly separated from her for a variety of reasons. For her third birthday, I wanted to do something that she would remember, but couldn’t afford a pony. I racked my brain, trying to think of what I could get a 3 year-old, and decided that I would put my time, which I did have, rather than my money, which I didn’t have, into her gift.

I decided to buy two bags of balloons, blow them up, and sneak them into her room so that she would wake up to 200 balloons covering the floor.

The smiles, giggles, and overwhelming joy that was created by the $2 I spent lasted for weeks until the last of the balloons deflated.

Or, how about a couple years ago when the Chicago Cubs let the first 1,000 kids onto the field after the game to run around the bases? Cost them basically nothing but she still remembers it and talks fondly about it. Now, the Cubs have started doing it on every Sunday home game. So smart. 

Whether you’re a parent trying to figure out how to engage with your kids or a company trying to engage parents and kids together, it’s about the experience you create, not how much you spend on them.