The earlier that children learn about the value of money, the easier it is for them to develop the responsible financial habits needed for a prosperous adulthood.
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While some children have a natural interest in discovering the differences in value among coins and bills and the ways in which money is exchanged for goods and services, others may benefit from some gentle and fun encouragement in regard to expanding their knowledge of this topic.
As a parent, you can easily make it fun for your kids to learn about money’s function in society by using a variety of age-appropriate techniques. Try these 20 ideas for combining finance education with family entertainment!
1. Share Fun Facts About U.S. Currency
All forms of United States currency, including pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and bills of varying dollar value, come with their own set of fun facts involving their history, design and popularity. Research some interesting tidbits about each type of currency, and then share these with your kids.
2. Give Each Child A Transparent Piggy Bank
Young children may develop an interest in money simply by being able to watch it “grow” in real time. Gift your kids with piggy banks made of see-through plastic material so that they can enjoy seeing their collections of coins and bills pile up.
3. Make Cash Transactions At Stores
While purchasing items with a credit or debit card is sometimes more convenient, using cash provides your kids with a more visual demonstration of how money transactions work. Encourage your children to watch as the cashier takes your payment and gives back the correct change.
4. Let Kids Practice Money Exchanges
Once kids become accustomed to seeing you make cash transactions in public, they can practice this skill for themselves at home. Set out some money, pretend to be a cashier or a banker, and let your kids take turns “paying” for items and receiving change in return.
5. Play Interactive Money Games Online
Many websites offer free games that allow children to practice identifying, sorting and counting money. Browse through these sites to find money games that are targeted to your kids’ education levels, and play along with them in order to provide an interactive and fun experience.
6. Organize Coins And Bills According To Value
Use a coin divider or toy cash register at home to teach your kids about organizing money according to its numerical value. Compare different types of coins or bills, and ask your children which is worth more or less. Keep “play” money in the house for regular practice.
7. Talk About The Importance Of Keeping Money Safe
The importance of storing money in a safe place is a concept that kids can begin learning at a young age. Make this lesson fun by giving your children some small change and bills and encouraging them to pick a special hiding spot of their own.
8. Offer Your Children A Weekly Allowance
Providing kids with a small weekly allowance not only demonstrates that money is a valuable commodity, but also introduces concepts such as financial responsibility and budgeting. Ask your children to write a sentence or draw a picture about their plans for their allowance each week.
9. Watch A Coinstar Machine Sort Money
If you have accumulated a large amount of loose change, take your kids to a nearby Coinstar machine, which collects and sorts the change electronically. Let each child watch the machine in action and guess as to what the total amount of money will be.
10. Collect Older And Foreign Coins
Coin collections featuring foreign currency and older U.S. currency that is no longer in production are fascinating to some children. Help your kids to develop an appreciation for money by discussing these rarer coins and bills and buying some of your own from antique coin dealers.
11. Compare Prices Of Store-bought Goods
Make a routine grocery store trip more fun by playing a game that compares the prices of the products that you purchase. For example, when buying fruit, ask your kids to figure out which type costs the most per pound and which costs the least.
12. Sing Songs About Money With Younger Kids
Preschool and kindergarten-age children can learn a number of new concepts through song, and the value of money is no exception. Find songs via Youtube or educational websites that teach kids about coins and bills, and sing along to the music as a family.
13. Store Coins In A Digital Money Jar
Modern coin jars and piggy banks are often designed with a digital counter on the lid that records the value of every coin placed inside. This gives kids the opportunity to keep track of every coin they save, right down to the penny.
14. Go To The Bank To Cash Checks
Although online banking is common these days, give your children a traditional lesson in cashing checks by taking a trip to a physical bank location. Exchange a paper check for its cash value, and ask for bills in varying denominations if possible.
15. Pay Kids For Completing Household Chores
Older children can easily comprehend the concept of working for money through being tasked with household chores and receiving payment upon completion. Design a colorful chart that lists various chores and their monetary reward, and let your kids choose and perform their desired tasks.
16. Encourage Your Children To Organize And Carry Money In Wallets Or Purses
Just as keeping money secure at home and in the bank is important, being able to transport money safely is also a beneficial skill to teach kids. Gift your children with a wallet or purse of their own, complete with some small change.
17. Advise Your Children To Save Up For Something Special
Saving for a special toy or gadget can be a great motivator when educating kids about the value of money. When a child desires something special, discuss how much the item costs and how long it will take to collect the necessary funds.
18. Show Your Kids How ATM Transactions Work
Show your kids how to withdraw cash from your bank account electronically at an ATM machine. Explain each step of the process, from inserting your bank card to selecting the amount of money that you wish to obtain at the end of the transaction.
19. Play Money-oriented Board Games As A Family
Classic board games such as The Game Of Life and Monopoly are valuable skill-builders for children who are learning about money. Plan an entertaining family board game night, encouraging your kids as they take turns “earning” cash, gifts and properties.
20. Take A Tour Of The United States Mint
If you live near one of the U.S. Mint coin-producing facilities in San Francisco, Philadelphia, West Point or Denver, arrange to take a tour with your kids so that they can see the process of money-making in action.