I am excited to share I have collaborated with a group of other bloggers to bring our readers a complete 7 –Week Summer Camp at Home series, sharing some valuable resources and activity ideas to keep your kids learning and growing throughout their summer break. We will each be posting on a variety of topics, with 2 posted each week on our individual blogs.
Last week we shared Summer Camp at Home ideas for Ocean Discovery and Self Love. This week, I am tackling the all too important topic of teaching your kids about saving money! As many of you know, I also run a blog called Saver in the City which is dedicated to finding ways to save money and enjoy life on a budget and have written a couple of books on the topic of saving and making money as well. Unfortunately, I don’t always get to demonstrate those tools to my daughters, so this summer will be a perfect opportunity for me to do so, while also sharing our journey with you all.
Throughout the school year, while our kids are learning science, math, reading, etc., there’s still one really important subject most kids do not learn in school. One thing our schools and many parents of young children often forget to do to prepare children for the future is to teach them about budgeting and finances. Learning how to save money will not only teach them valuable math skills, but also prepare them for the “real” world of business, negotiation, and other money concepts that are equally important. My daughters are only 4 and 7, but as I’ve shared in my post “Why I’m no longer teaching my kids to share,” my kids have already found an interest in the art of negotiation and now it’s just about further developing those skills.
Resources for teaching kids about money
Books and printables are always a great start in helping your children understand some of the concepts of money. One book that I would recommend for younger kids (ages 4 and up) is Jenny Found a Penny. It is a colorful book that teaches young children about saving money for the things that they really want. The premise of the book is that a little girl named Jenny finds a penny in her seat and uses that opportunity to find more ways to earn and save money to buy something she really wants. Children reading along can also add up the amount of money that Jenny saves, while grown ups can relate to Jenny’s surprise at a store when she learns what sales tax is.
Again, that’s a great book for younger kids to read, but there are several other books that also teach elementary and middle school age children about money.
Another excellent resource is The Kids’ Money Book: Earning * Saving * Spending * Investing * Donating. It teaches kids how to create a budget, use their talent to make money, invest their earnings, and donate to charity. There’s also a Money Matters to Me quiz that helps them begin taking stock of their financial fitness. The recommended age for this book is 7 and up, although some concepts are a little too mature for 7 year olds, depending on their interest levels.
Finally, A Smart Girl’s Guide: Money (Revised): How to Make It, Save It, and Spend It (Paperback) is a really popular one that includes lots of other resources as well. It teaches kids how to not only spend and save money, but also how to earn it. The book also includes quizzes, tips and quotes to help make the topic of money management fun, as well as a special link to help entrepreneurial kids create their own business cards, flyers, and other business materials. It’s recommended for kids ages 9-12, but younger kids can be introduced to it as well. This book is also available in Kindle Edition.
If you’re looking for printables, you’ll find a few good ones both for sale and a few free ones at a site called Teachers Pay Teachers that is definitely worth checking out!
Activities for teaching kids about money
Money Games for Kids
So many of the board games we play for fun actually provide some very teachable moments when it comes to teaching your kids about money management. Monopoly, Monopoly Junior, Life and Payday are a few that immediately come to mind. I haven’t played Payday in a while, but it’s great at really teaching kids (and adults) about paying bills and covering unexpected expenses. The key of the game is to have the most money left over at the end of the month.
A great, old fashioned way to teach kids about money and how to save is by creating a savings jar. This can be a regular mason jar, piggy bank, or what we do is actually use a water cooler container. Set a jar in a central location and instruct everyone to place their change in the jar at the end of the day. Do this all summer long and at the end of summer, sit down together and count up the change. This will teach kids that saving even just a little bit each day can make a big difference.
A new spin on the traditional savings jar is this money saving pig that allows kids to separate their money according to what they will save, spend, donate, and invest. It’s available here on Amazon.com. Similarly, younger kids especially enjoy the Learning ATM because it let’s them feel like they are visiting an actual ATM like mommy does.
The Grocery Game
You could also use your imagination to create simple games for kids to understand. The grocery game is extremely popular for younger children. For this you will need some different snack packages, individual chips, cookies, snack crackers, etc. and some plain paper and markers. Decide on a price for each snack package and write out the amount of each on cardboard. Cut out the prices. Use some play money for the children to use as cash. Have them count out the correct amount for each snack package they wish to purchase. Assign one child to be the cashier and assign a new child to be the cashier each time you play this game.
Using grocery flyers is also a great way to teach money concepts to children, rather than to use actual groceries. Collect enough of the same flyers per child, have play money of different denominations, and have them choose what they wish to purchase. Assign someone to be the cashier and have the children add up their total purchase and the amount that they are supposed to pay. Of course, they will learn that they may not have enough money for a special treat and other stuff and will have to cross it off their list of groceries until the next time.
Jobs & Easy Ways to Make Money for Kids
This is by far my favorite summer camp at home activity. Obviously you aren’t going to send your little ones out into the real world just yet, however, paying your children to do chores or work on a specific summer project is a great way to teach kids about money. You can set different prices for each chore or you can also give them a list of chores and pay a set price once all the chores are complete.
These are just a few easy ways to teach school age children about money. I am sure you can come up with some ideas yourself – just remember to keep it creative and relevant to real world experiences and have fun learning!
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For more money saving & money making tips, download my e-book, Money Makers Vs. Time Wasters: A guide to finding creative and efficient ways to earn extra cash & save you time!