Tips On Taking Your Kids To Auctions

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
The winning bid on these peanut people went to a 6 year old girl from Kansas City.

It’s our favorite time of year. Auction time. Sure there are auctions year round, but the Spring and Summer months make auction going a bit easier and more entertaining. It can be a fantastic way to spend a weekend morning, but for those with shorter attention spans, they can seem tedious and frustrating. Click through to see our tips on how to let them have some fun, while you get your bidding on!

Auctions are busy places, but undoubtedly great ways to find fantastic deals on home furnishings. Most are personal property auctions held at someone’s home and to a child in the crowd it’s a sea of legs and shoes as far as the eye can see, but that doesn’t mean they should have to stay at home or with a sitter. Here’s a few tips to keep your kids entertained and engaged while waiting for items of interest to come up to bid.

1. Check out Auction Previews – Many auctions have a preview day, usually a week or two before hand. You are allowed to walk through the house, showroom or property before the actual day of bidding. A quick walk through a property is an easy to to see if standing outside for several hours will be worth your time, especially if you will have a little one by your side. It can save you the hassle of packing a bag, a stroller and other things you might need, if there’s nothing you need to be there for in the first place.

2. Pack A Disposable Camera – It sounds silly, but a child who doesn’t have much interest in the table full of antique china might be engaged by having a camera in hand. Give them a mission to take pictures of certain things. Maybe it’s anything blue, or anything with a rabbit on it, things that have the letter H on them, it’s an endless list of things to photograph and a great way for them to explore the items that are laid out for auction. Plus, you can hang their photos when all is said and done. Anything photographed with a theme will turn out great as a grouping when placed all together!

3. Exercise – Even for the seasoned professional adult auction hunter, standing through the entire affair can be trying. For the most part you’re standing still and not using your muscles much which can cause more strain than the same amount of time spend exercising. When you are certain it will be awhile until the next item of interest is up in the air, go for a walk. It’s exciting to explore new neighborhoods, different trees, dogs, cats, flowers… just make sure you can get yourself back!

4. Blankets and Snacks – No matter how busy the auction, there’s always a corner out of the way to take a seat. Chairs can be cumbersome, but a blanket tucked in a backpack can be an easy solution. It gives them a space of their own and a place to do fun things you might have brought with you. Auctions are long, so plan on packing a lunch in a cooler and leaving it in the car, or snacks to tide you over until you return home. Keeping your snacks balanced will not only keep you balanced and full of energy, but your kids as well. You can even involve them in the making of them the night before. Eating ants on a log is far more entertaining when you were able to get your hands dirty in the process!

5. Let Them Help In Bidding – The happiest children we have ever seen at auction are those who are able to bid. Sure they aren’t flailing arms and getting ready to throw down with those they are bidding against, but they are able to raise their parents number in the air and have the auctioneer acknowledge their bid. We saw a child bid on a pair of binoculars last fall and the other adults greatly respected the child for being part of the process. The bonus was, no one wanted to bid against the child, so the adults bid a few times and then let the kid have his win! He carried them around his neck, spying on everyone and everything for the rest of the auction! Beaming, just doesn’t do the smile he had justice.

(Image: Sarahrae)