“Money isn’t everything…but it ranks right up there with oxygen.” – Rita Davenport
Nod if you agree.
This is why it’s important for parents to teach children the value of money at an early age – unless you want them to run out of oxygen.
I. When do you begin to teach kids about money?
Ideally when they know simple addition and subtraction. However, kids who either don’t know these concepts or are only beginning to learn them shouldn’t be kept in the dark. Here are simple games and activities your pre-mini math wizard can do.
1. Sorting coins
For pre-schoolers, the name of the game is familiarization.
Start with coins and let your child sort them according to size, shape and or color, depending on your currency.
Have her sort them in a pile or on a tray, clear jars or in small buckets – whatever you can think of.
Photo by anarchosyn
2. Coin art
This idea is from Education.com. Place a piece of paper on top of a coin and ask your child to color on it. Pretty soon, she’ll see a “printed” version of the coin appear. The activity will help her become familiar with the different types of coins, while being artsy.
3. Feely bag
Ready for a tactile guessing game? Taken from Education.com again, you’ll need to put several coins in a small bag or pouch. Have your toddler put her hand in it, pick a coin and try to guess what it is. You may coach her by asking whether it’s small, medium-sized, big or whatever clue you can give to help her out.
II. Counting money and key concepts
School age kids
4. Flashy money
Familiarize your child with paper money now that she’s a mini math wizard in basic math. Gather all paper money denominations, hold them up one by one (as you would a flash card) and have her identify each. This may not be much fun but hey, it works.
5. How much is this pie?
Place coins on the table and put its corresponding paper money amount next to it so your child can learn different ways to count money. This is also the best time to learn about giving change. Ready for the fun part?
When teaching the equivalents, use a pie for visuals. We can’t go into specifics here since we all use different currencies, but here’s a basic and general example.
- If 4 coins make a single paper bill, use a pie to explain the concept. It will be easier for your child to grasp the idea plus there’s a whole lot of pies to choose from: pizza, blueberry, strawberry and apple!
6. Money Monday, Savings Saturday, Spending Sunday
Now it’s time for some FUN!
Set several days a week to teach the concept of money to your child. Get creative with the names as well so she won’t see it as a chore.
Money Mondays can be used for earning money for a few household chores. Tread lightly here, mom. Be careful not give your child the idea that all accomplished household responsibilities have monetary gains. This exercise is just for the purpose of learning.
An alternative is to have a pretend store where your child can sell clothes, toys and while you’re at it, maybe fruits and veggies as well. Your child is the clerk and she gets to keep her earnings in a cash box, wallet or wherever little girls like putting money.
“By giving kids an allowance, you teach that child to work for money rather than learn to create money.” – Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad
Well, for this activity, you didn’t give your child an allowance but you get the picture. The idea is for her to understand that money is earned through (hard) work.
Savings Saturdays can be spent setting aside a portion of the earned money in a piggy bank. This allows her to grasp the idea of saving.
Photo by aesop
Spending Sundays can be reserved for buying whatever she wants (as long as you approve of it). Take her to the grocery store with you and have her pay for items.
7. Needs vs Wants vs Wishes
Family Education says it’s vital to teach the difference of the three to children. You’re probably nodding your head.
Cut or print out pictures of clothes, food, toys, cars, houses, shoes, water, etc. Next, ask your child to segregate them into needs, wants and wishes.
It may be challenging to teach kids about money at first but they’ll catch on. Use the ideas above as a stepping board to get your children to understand basic money concepts while having fun.
What about you, mom? How are you teaching your children about money?
Anne Mercado is the quirky author behind Green Eggs & Moms, which offers clever parenting tips to keep moms with young kids sane. When she’s not hunched over the computer working, you can find her either counting down to ten to get her kiddo to move faster, or reading a horror book. She also loves vampires and zombies.