We deal with money daily, yet in many schools, there are no structured financial lessons.
As a result, we as parents are left as the main resource to give our children a financial education. Even if your children’s school does offer some kind of financial literacy program, it’s important to start teaching your children about money as early as possible — meaning before they enter the school system. Studies have shown that kids begin to understand basic financial concepts as early as 3 years old and by age 7 they have developed some of their money habits. If you haven’t started teaching your little ones about stocks and bonds or the difference between a credit union and a bank, don’t worry! It’s never too late. This article will present some fun financial literacy activities for kids to help you get started.
Fun Games That Help Teach Kids Financial Literacy
Learning about money doesn’t have to feel like a chore — for you or your children. There are tons of fun games and financial literacy activities for kids that you can try out. For young kids, simple games like playing “store” can expose them to money concepts, including exchanging money for goods. For older kids, you can pull out old-school board game like Monopoly or The Game of Life. Playing these games with your kids creates an opportunity to discuss saving, debt, and even real-estate investments.
There are also some fun online games. For kids in elementary, there is Peter Pig’s Money Counter, which helps kids practice counting and saving. Wise Pockets is another fun and interactive game that teaches money management skills. For older children, there’s Financial Football, a collaboration between the National Football League and Visa that is used to teach kids about financial concepts. Stock Market Game is another one that can be used to introduce the concepts of investing and compound interest.
Crafts That Teach Kids About Money
If your kids are into arts and crafts, you can use this as another way to engage them in a financial literacy lesson. Trace out different coins and bills on a piece of paper and have your little ones decorate the money. Then, cut out the coins and bills and use them to play a game of store. Use this as an opportunity to help your kids identify the coins and teach them about the concept of money.
You can also buy a blank ceramic piggy bank that you and your children can paint and decorate. While you are painting your banks, discuss the concepts of saving, spending, and giving.
A fun craft that I remember doing as a kid with my mom and little sister was turning a large wardrobe box into a bank ATM. We drew the ATM buttons and even cut holes in the cardboard that we could push our fake debit cards through. Then, one of us would stand inside the box and accept the debit card and push fake cash through the cash slot! My mom talked to us about what an ATM was and how it was used.
Everyday Tasks to Teach Financial Literacy to Kids
Since we participate in some sort of financial interaction nearly everyday, there are endless opportunities to expose our kids to financial decisions. With younger kids, it can be as simple as bringing them to the grocery store. Before you go into the store, show them your shopping list and explain why you have it. Show them the price of different items and explain how you have to work to make money so that you can purchase these items. When they inevitably ask for a toy or a treat, use this as an opportunity to teach delayed gratification. Tell them they will have to save their pocket money if they want to make a purchase.
With older kids, let them help you pay your credit card bill. Explain to them what a credit card is and why it is so important to pay your credit card off each month. Talk to them about credit card debt, interest payments, and credit reports.
Teach your kids the value of hard work by making them earn their spending money through an allowance system or encouraging them to get a part-time job. Once they’ve saved up some of their money, let them go to the store and buy something they want. Talk to them about their purchase. Are they happy with it? Was it worth the money? Do they have buyer’s remorse? Allow them the opportunity to make low-stakes money mistakes when they are young so they can avoid the higher-stake financial mistakes when they are adults.
Family Activities That Can Teach Kids About Financial Literacy
The next time you are planning a family outing, get your kids involved. If you’re going to an amusement park, give them a budget for what they can spend. If they don’t spend all of the money, tell them they can keep it and put it into their savings. If you are going out for a family dinner or a family movie, give them the cash and let them get some practice paying the bill. You can help them count out the money and then confirm that you’ve received the right amount back in change.
Teaching your kids money skills and personal finance doesn’t have to be complicated. A lot of what kids learn about money simply comes from the habits you model in your daily life. Kids also learn from exposure. So, take your kids to the store, let them pay for things with your credit card or cash (with your supervision). Also, use some of the fun financial literacy activities for kids that we’ve outlined in this article. Using games and crafts to initiate conversations about money can make finance lessons way more engaging and memorable. And, with great online learning options, there is truly a fun financial literacy activity to match every child’s preference for learning.
— By Jessica Martel