Teaching our children the value of a dollar is an invaluable skill that will last them a lifetime. Unfortunately, in today’s society of fast food, instant messaging , on-demand television, and credit cards, we have become conditioned to getting the things we want immediately.
While the advancement of technology is wonderful in many ways; in other ways, it is a detriment to our learning how to spend prudently and save wisely. It has produced an unrealistic sense of entitlement within our society that has trickled down to the youngest members of our households.
One of the biggest challenges we face as parents is to raise financially literate children who understand the value of a dollar, the importance of saving and investing, and the pitfalls of credit card debt. We are tasked with the responsibility of preparing our children to successfully handle money when they are grown. Even if we don’t feel equipped to teach the kids in our lives about money because of our own financial issues, we need to get beyond our money paralysis and realize that it’s important to start somewhere, even if it’s just with baby steps.
Here are some mommy and kid-friendly resources and tools for teaching your kids about how to manage money, budgeting, saving & charity at any age; and hopefully assist you in your journey to raise money smart kids.
Kids learn best when they are having fun and you can use that to teach them how money works. Here are some financial learning activities and games that are not only fun for children to play but also teaches them important money concepts:
Technology Rocks Seriously
If you’re looking for online money activities and fun games for teaching kids about money, Technology Rocks Seriously has compiled an excellent collection of money games for children. As a former school teacher, she writes to fellow educators, but the resources are helpful to all.
Money As You Grow
A tool to promote financial literacy that helps equip children with the knowledge they need to live fiscally fit lives. The site provides 20 age-appropriate financial lessons with corresponding activities that kids need to know as they grow.
United States Mint
Kids will find activities ranging from simple coloring pages to challenging puzzles. Put real coins together, make up your own, play games of skill or words or just have plain fun.
The Great Piggy Bank Adventure
A financial education game presented by T. Rowe Price and Disney which uses a talking piggy bank to teach money management to kids and help make financial planning education entertaining.
Financial Football is a fast-paced, multiple-choice question game, testing players’ knowledge of financial management skills as they advance down field and try to score goals.
Millionaire Babies or Bankrupt Brats is a comprehensive source for training our children on money. How do we teach them responsibility? How does allowance come into play? Can we teach delayed gratification without being an ogre? How to save, how to borrow, how to share? And how about a few parenting techniques thrown in for free?
Learn how to:
- Put an end to the constant begging to buy
- Deal with ungrateful kids or overindulgent relatives
- Teach personal responsibility and financial responsibility at the same time
- Use allowance to teach kids to spend, earn, borrow, save, share and invest wisely
- Prepare your children for the global economy they will inherit!
Give your kid a credit card? Not until they have:
- Experience with managing an allowance.
- Many experiences paying back small loans to their parents.
- Experience with late payments.
- Experience with repossessions.
- A solid understanding of interest rates.
- Practice with a prepaid credit card.
- Understanding that it takes over 35 years to pay off a $4,000.00 credit card bill if only minimum payments are made each month.
Handing a credit card to a young person without this training is like giving somebody a car without driving lessons. The content of this book should be taught in schools….for kids and parents and teachers alike!
Show Me The Money is filled with games, puzzles, and fun facts which exposes young readers to basic concepts of currency and finance, including the barter system, supply and demand, and how money works differently around the world.
Targeted to middle-grade readers and young adults, this book serves as a useful resource for clearly explaining what could otherwise be a perplexing set of ideas and lessons. They’ll enter the world of business and economics learning about how money works, from its history to how it grows. An indispensable investment to get your child to understand money and finances – read it together and watch their money grow.
Raising Financially Confident Kids provides a breakdown of how to talk about money, make use of everyday learning opportunities and provide kids with hands-on experience, so they can learn firsthand. The goal is to help parents teach their children to become financially astute even if they feel financially inept themselves.
The author, Mary Hunt, is the founder of Debt-Proof Living. Ms. Hunt shows us how she went from being a mom on the brink of financial ruin to someone who is now a money management expert. Whether your children are preschoolers or teens, this book has guidelines to help you teach them. The book also offers a spending plan to use with your children to help them become financial responsible, as well as step by step processes, lists, and question and answer sections.
This book breaks down age appropriate teachings, but doesn’t forget to mention that every family is different (and every plan can be personalized to fit your individual family!).
There are a few educational toys and games that are excellent tools for helping parents teach kids about money. We take a look at several of them below.
On The Web
ING’s Planet Orange
Kids in grades 1 to 6 pilot a spaceship to visit four “continents” to learn about the history of money, investing, saving and spending. Through their travels on Planet Orange, children tackle topics from the value of money, to setting a budget, to building savings goals for the future. The presentation is clear and simple, with interactive features that advance the lessons. It is designed to teach children about money in a way that is engaging, interactive and most important—fun!
How to Teach Your Kids About Money
A series of 23 short videos, in which Janet Bodner of Kiplinger Magazine talks about how to help your kids learn how money works and how to handle it responsibly. Her book, Raising Money-Smart Kids, elaborates on the themes in the videos. Both the videos and the book provide lots of common sense advise that helps you demystify money and finances for your kids. She answers questions such as:
- What are good ways to teach younger children about money?
- What is the right amount of allowance to give my children?
- How can I set a good financial example as a parent?
- How can I help my teens learn good money habits?
- How much should my children contribute to savings for college?
- What is the right amount of allowance?
- What do I do when my children ask for expensive things?
These Kids Mean Busines$
These Kids Mean Business is a 60-minute public television special that looks at organizations teaching business, entrepreneurship and the free-market to youth from disadvantaged neighborhoods —and profiles the businesses created by those students. Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Clarence Page introduces viewers to young entrepreneurs from around the country who have learned how to start and operate their own companies.
For Me, for You, for Later: First Steps to Spending, Sharing, and Saving
A series of short videos in which Elmo gives younger kids a lesson in saving and sharing. Through the games and activities, your child will join her Sesame Street friends in making thoughtful choices; earning money; learning the value of people, things, and money; and finding out about spending, sharing and saving.
EconEdLink is the go-to site for teachers and parents to find lesson plans on money and economics. Compiled by the Council of Economic Education, it has more than 600 lessons for children at all grade levels. The lesson database is searchable by grade level and standards. For parents, their Financial Fitness for Life Parent Guides are free online books that provide activities and material for family discussion as you help your child navigate home finances, budgeting and saving for college.
A Day At Dollar General
The National Center for Family Literacy (NCFL) and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation have teamed up to create a free online interactive game to teach kids basic budgeting skills
Through the virtual experience of shopping in a Dollar General store, families will learn how to budget, plan a shopping trip, how to use store advertisements and coupons to save money, and much more.
This downloadable program guide features specific financial literacy lessons and activities that parents can do with their children.
More Websites to Help Kids with Financial Literacy
TD Bank offers an interactive financial literacy program for grades K-12 called WOW!Zone. It is available online for free where children and teens can gain a better understanding of the value and worth of money. Parents can share the learning experience with their children by reading the stories and playing the games. And, educators can access suggested lesson plans for incorporating this information into their classes.
Rich Kid Smart Kid
This website is an offspring of Rich Dad, which is the website of millionaire entrepreneur Robert Kiyosaki. This website is based around two mice, Toki and Reno. Toki comes from a rich family and her father has taught her a number of financial lessons. She has set out to teach Reno and other children these lessons through games. It is a fun and easy way for kids to learn about the way money works without being faced with financial jargon.
An educational television show that teaches financial education and business to a preteen audience. It uses sketch comedy and young actors to explain basic economic concepts. Its motto is “Where kids teach kids about money and business.” Each Biz Kid$ episode shows kids how to make and manage money by introducing concepts of financial literacy and entrepreneurship.
FamZoo is a virtual family bank. Like a real bank, dads and moms can open/create accounts for their kids and make deposits and withdrawals for them. But unlike a real bank, parents are not playing with real money. With FamZoo, moms and dads use virtual money to teach their children basic money management. In addition, parents can create checklists of chores or other requirements for their children, which, when completed, result in account deposits. The site teaches personal accountability and help your kids practice living within their means.
Helping our children to learn how to handle money responsibly is one of the most important life lessons that we, as parents, can teach them. Over time you’ll see that, through everyday conversations and fun activities, you can help your child to form a solid financial future and grow up to make good financial decisions and avoid the lifelong traps of materialism and debt.
It’s never too early to teach your kids about the importance of personal financial planning. The sooner they learn to make wise financial decisions, the better they’ll be at it in the future.
What strategies have worked for you in teaching your kids about money management? Share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below.