I went to Easton, Massachusetts for the first time. Given that it’s a scant half hour drive from where I live and that I drive far and wide for my kids’ soccer games, I was surprised that I hadn’t been there before. It’s a lovely town, and, as I missed my turn and parked nearby, I found myself face to face with a trio of what looked like H. H. Richardson buildings, one of my favorite architects.
His most notable work is Trinity Church in Copley Plaza. It turns out that some of the schools in Easton are named F. L. Olmsted & H. H. Richardson. This was going to be a good trip … I could just tell.
The idea of dreaming and dreaming big is an important one to gift to your kids and that message was in full force at the Fun Free Fridays, conducted in partnership with Highland Street Foundation, Fidelity Investments and the Massachusetts Educational Financing Authority. Today, the Fun Free Friday event was at the Children’s Museum of Easton.
The message from Highland Street Foundation was about dreaming: Admission is Free. So are the Dreams.
That got me thinking of dreaming, architecture and college. That’s the idea behind the U.Fund Dreams Tour: picturing the possibilities.
They hosted a photo booth where kids could pick possible careers with an appropriate backdrop that included engineer, architect, paleontologist, and astronaut.
Each child left with a lovely memento to help to keep the dream alive.
[If you have an image of the photo, I would love it, especially of the construction one]
Inside the museum, there were hands-on activities to help make dreams a concrete activity. Yes, it’s a golf ball raceway … but it’s also a place to dream STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) dreams.
Doesn’t this Golf Ball Raceway remind you of a Rube Goldberg creation? And doesn’t it make you want to build your own?!
I think it’s important to expose kids, especially girls, to STEM. It’s not just that these are great careers for the future but it’s also that it means dreaming up a creation that you get to make. What could be more satisfying than that?!
It’s wonderful for kids to have big dreams for their futures and college can be part of those plans. When it comes to saving for college, I’ve collected a few tips from my own college savings journey for my kids:
1) It’s never too early (or too late) to begin.
2) There’s not one strategy; it’s what works best for you but the key is consistency. One easy way to remember to put money aside is to save all the change from your pocket and not spend it. Instead, put that money into your college savings account. Another take on this idea is to put aside a certain denomination bill, such as all the $5 dollar bills in your wallet, to save.
3) Creating a budget can help you see the big picture. As you look at your expenses, brainstorm with someone to see if there is a savings possibility. You can also budget in your college savings goals.
4) Do you have a daily spending habit like coffee at a coffee shop that you might be able to substitute for something else? Investing in a coffee grinder and coffee maker might make more sense.
5) Seek out advice from those you trust such as friends, colleagues and professionals. I first learned about the 529 plan from my tax accountant when my oldest was a baby but it came about because we were chatting about how stressful it was to balance work and family.
I wonder what kind of dreams Henry Hobson Richardson had when he was a child? Did he build sand castles at the beach that looked different from all the other kids? Did he ever wonder if massive stone blocks could look graceful? I’m glad he did. His buildings that grace the Boston area are a testament to the power of dreams.
I’d love to hear your ideas of how you are saving for college. Thanks for sharing!
H. H. Richardson’s Cambridge City Hall, 1888, 795 Massachusetts Avenue
I’ve partnered with Fidelity & MEFA for this post in support of the U.Fund Dreams Tour. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.