In my job I often get to go to teachers’ classrooms and talk to the students about money, saving, credit, budgeting, and other topics. One of my favorite things to do is to play money games with the kids to teach the concepts. Here is a list you can play with your kids. Most of the money games are for elementary level students and would be great for teachers, stay-at-home moms, working moms, or…really anyone who wants to help their kids manage their money and start them onto a path of understanding finances.
Games to Play:
- Money and Econ Bingo—this link allows parents to customize and print bingo boards to play with their kids. You give the definition of the word and see if your kid can match the meaning to the word on their bingo sheet. The Kansas City Fed has other great games and resources related to the Fifty Nifty Econ Cards on their website.
- Money Sort and other games—young kids get to look at and talk about what they see on their money. Money has so many different shapes, colors, and designs this game will help with their money skills but will also help language development.
- Pay Day—a board game to play with your family focusing on savings, loans, and buying goods throughout a month. The game launched in 1975 and is still a classic. If you are looking to add to your game collection, this is one to buy.
Other activities to try:
- Complete Chores for an Allowance. This is especially helpful if your kids have some toy, game, clothes, etc. they want to buy. Set up chores with different prices that they can complete to earn money. Then you can help them count and save their money to buy the desired item. It’s also a budgeting lesson—once they get to the store they will quickly learn you cannot buy everything you want.
- Run a Lemonade Stand. Help your budding entrepreneurs set up their own little business by running a lemonade stand. You can talk about the cost of the lemonade and help them set prices that will allow them to earn money, but that people will actually pay. My neighbors are budding entrepreneurs at the neighborhood garage sale!
- Read Books About Money. There are many books that you can read with your children to help them think about money, spending, and saving like, “Bunny Money”, “Alexander, Who used to be rich last Sunday”, “The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money”, and “The Berenstain Bears’ Dollars and Sense”.
- Plan the Grocery List. This is a great time to teach them about budgeting, and why you buy items on sale or do not buy certain things at that time.
Money and finances are a complex subject. It can also be a tough subject to talk tackle with your kids. However, the earlier you get talk to your kids about money and teach them about saving and delaying instant gratification, the better they will be in the long-run when they are making their own financial decisions. Parents are key to helping their kids stay out of financial trouble, and kids rely on their parents for advice. Help set them on a path to being a successful adult who has to make many financial decisions. Their money games and activities can help break that difficult barrier. Make talking about money a little more fun, and let them learn a bit too!
What are some other games or tricks you use to teach your kids about money? We’d love to hear them!