Kid Life

Get Your Kids Motivated with Papersalt Books

Motivation Papersalt Books

(Today, I’m taking another detour from kid money to “kid life.” However, like my other detours, these topics can also come back to money. For example, we’ll cover a book on grit today, which is a quality that will help a kid make money. Of course, grit is essential outside of the world of money. There’s one more thing before we get started. Papersalt did not sponsor this article, but it may seem like they did. I may make some money, at no cost to you, if you buy these books.)

We were on a family trip to Lake Winnipesaukee when a book in a gift shop caught my attention – Grit for Boys – Empowerment Book for Tweens, Teens and Young Men.

I opened it up and thumbed through a few pages. I was amazed by the quotes. Here are a couple of examples:

“Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”


“Don’t be fearful of what could go wrong. Get excited for what may go right.”

Each page was one excellent quote after another. The pages are thick (130# stock) and seemingly waterproof. I don’t want to test it, but they have a plastic feel. With the spiral binding, it is clear that they’ll last a long, long time. That binding also lets me open it to display a different daily page.

There’s nothing magical about quotes about courage, grit, and perseverance. I’m sure you can find dozens with a quick Google search. There might even be many of the exact curated quotes in the book. However, the presentation and being able to put it in my sons’ hands is essential. I was going to try to get it from the library, but I didn’t see it available in any library in Rhode Island.

So I bought the book. But I didn’t just buy the grit book. I bought two more books: Papersalt’s Being a Big Brother and Papersalt’s Being a Boy.

These books remind me of Life’s Little Instruction Book, but aimed at the things that matter for kids.

I bought these books because I have boys, but there are versions for girls too. For example there are Being a Girl and Grit for Girls. I didn’t buy either of these two books (again, not having girls), but from the pictures on Amazon, it looks like they have the same content as the books for boys. Maybe some of the pages are different, but the example pages they show are the same, but with different art.

There are also books aimed at teens, but I haven’t looked at these. I know I will in a few years as my kids get older. If you have older kids and buy one of these books, leave me a comment. I’d like to know how they are.

In my searches for other Papersalt books, I found one more that intrigued me – Becoming Fearless. However, the Papersalt website didn’t have it. I wrote Papersalt, and they said it was out of print and wouldn’t know when/if it would be available again. It was still available at New York Puzzle Company, so I ordered that one. It’s just as good as all the others. There seems to be some overlap in concepts with the Grit book, but that’s to be expected. They are both about overcoming obstacles.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

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Make a “Things I Like” List for Kids

This is our “Kid Life” first article. The idea of Kid Life is to take a step back and realize that a wealthy life isn’t always about money.

School is out and summer is here. That means many kids will be home looking for things to do. We had a little break before camps start, so we did a couple of staycations. (Hence, why there have been fewer articles here lately, but we’re back and articles will be more regular now.) During those vacations, I got to reflect on all the things our kids have done. Then I realized there were still so many things that they haven’t done.

I did what comes naturally and started a spreadsheet. It was blank with a heading of “Things I’ve Done” and next to it “Enjoyment (1-10)”. I left a lot of boxes and below that, I put, “Things I Want To Do” and “Priority (1-10)”. I had to explain what priority meant, but the rest was easy for them to pick up. My 9-year-old came up with about 15 things and my 8-year-old came up with about 10. I helped with several items by throwing out anything I knew they did off the top of my head, “Karate, Snowboarding, creating comic strips, etc.”

If you were to ask me if my kids like a specific thing, I could answer you and be accurate about 90% of the time. However, it’s different to put it all on paper. That’s where you get to see what you should try to do more of. For example, my 9-year-old loved archery, but when COVID happened the classes ended and we never picked up on it again.

I took all the things they wrote and edited out the nonsense (watching TV and video games were both 10s on the “enjoyment” scale). I typed them all back into the spreadsheet, leaving plenty of room to add more. This first draft was very helpful, but I had bigger ideas. I did a Google search for “bucket list for kids” and clicked on some of the top results. Each page had about a hundred ideas of things for kids to do. Some were simple things like “roll down a hill”, which I didn’t find very useful. Others were “learn to play the piano.” It was easy to cut and paste these lists into a spreadsheet.

This is when my 9-year-old surprised me. He came up with a code for each one. A check meant that they did it and a circle meant that they haven’t done it. A plus meant that they want to do it and a minus meant that they didn’t want to do it. It was easy to see that “Swim with Dolphins” was far more popular than “Climb a mountain”.

I then asked them to take their thoughts from this and put them into the other spreadsheet. This second version is very good now. Some of the items are difficult bucket list items, but that’s okay. For example, “tour the White House” is a lot tougher than “go whale watching”. (Whale watching isn’t difficult in Rhode Island.) While I was hoping to get more skill items like “get a black belt in karate” all of these one-time experiences are useful too.

One thing that didn’t come up directly in this exercise is money. I purposely left it out. I didn’t want the kids to lose focus on what they wanted. As we start to narrow down the lists, we can talk about budgeting, planning, and saving for the things we really want.

Brian MacFarland has reached more than 10 million people on his personal finance journey to financial independence.  He’s been featured in the Washington Post, U.S. News and World Report, and Lifehacker.

Read more on the About page.

If you enjoyed this article please Support Kid Wealth