Learning about finances can be intimidating and let’s face it, sometimes just boring for kids. We know it’s important to teach children about money, but where do we start? What if it’s easier than you think? Turning everyday activities into financial learning experiences doesn’t have to be difficult. Simple tasks such as trips to the bank, grocery store, or even playing games can be a perfect opportunity to teach kids simple values and habits about using and managing money.
Have some fun with these five simple activities and games that teach children about money at every age.
What small child doesn’t love to play store? An imaginary store in your living room is more than just an opportunity to engage in imaginative pretend play for kids. By using play money for physical items, a young child can begin to undertand simple financial concepts such as budgeting, financial decision making, weighing needs vs. wants and even commerce. It’s simple to gather items from around your home such as canned goods, paper products, or packaged food items if you don’t have specific pretend store items. You can quickly create some pretend money and use it with your kids to teach beginning financial concepts.
For older kids, the board game Monopoly provides several teachable opportunities for money management. Each player maintains an account register to record each payment for rent or fines paid, properties purchased, as well as deposits of rent or cash received. Players also learn about borrowing when they elect mortgaged properties. The player with the most cash in the bank, properties owned and highest net worth wins the game. Monopoly is not only a fun way to learn about money management, but it is also a great game to learn about real estate and even investing.
Involve the whole family in saving money while shopping with a Savings Scavenger Hunt. Work together to make a list of shopping items, like your grocery items, school clothes items, etc. Each player searches for the items at the lowest price using the Internet or local ads. The player who finds all the items with the lowest prices at the same store wins. The winner gets a special prize determined by the family. Savings Scavenger Hunt teaches players the technique and importance of bargain shopping in a fun and creative way.
Grocery shopping on a budget can be a challenge. Trying to purchase everyone’s favorite foods while maintaining a budget can be nearly impossible. Those favorite foods can cost more than the family realizes. Instead of making your menu and shopping list on your own, why not make it a game that involves the kids and helps them learn financial concepts at the same time?
The Grocery Budget game is a unique and fun way to teach kids the art of grocery shopping on a budget. Each player gets a scenario that defines the family size and the amount of money available for grocery shopping. The players then create sample menus and shopping lists and then visit a local grocery store to write down the items they want to buy and the prices. The player that gets all the items within the allotted budget wins the game. This simple game helps kids learn the art of adjusting their spending and watching for sales as well as simple menu planning for a family.
Are your kids asking for a new TV or gaming system? Is a family trip to Disney a goal that everyone can get excited about? If it’s something your kids can get excited about, it’s an opportunity to teach about savings.
Maybe you create a big savings chart on a poster board and map out your progress, or perhaps a simple jar or savings account that everybody can log onto and look at can help teach the concepts of saving and financial goal setting.
If it’s something that everybody is invested in, it can help motivate kids to participate. Perhaps they can help by contributing birthday or allowance money towards the goal. Or, you can consider making a list of jobs your kids can do around the house to contribute towards the savings. Make it a friendly competition to see who can get the most creative and contribute the most towards your family financial goal!
Using simple games and activities like these can help learning about money fun and exciting for kids of all ages.
What tips have you discovered to teach children about money? We’d love to hear your suggestions in the comments!
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