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How to Make Learning about Money Fun for Kids

It’s almost summer vacation. Kids will be off from school and looking for things to do. This can be a difficult time for parents who work. Summer camps are expensive and child care fees can also rack up. This is the perfect opportunity to help your kids learn real life money saving strategies, regardless of their age. And, because nobody likes to be preached at – kids included – here are ways to make learning about money fun!

Institute a Savings Competition

Evoke the competitive spirit in your kids by instituting a savings competition between them! Start the savings game on the first day of summer and continue it until the very last day. You could offer the winner an extra bundle in their piggy bank and also keep things fun for both by matching the amount saved to everyone involved. Choose a gift card as a special bonus to instill enthusiasm and the power of purchasing choice so your child can continue to learn fiscal responsibility and have fun while doing it.

Plant a Garden of Savings

Gardening is and of itself a therapeutic activity for young and old. Part of the idea of gardening is taking responsibility for the seeds by watering them, and taking delight in watching them grow day by day. Help your child see the parallels between planting a garden and planting the ‘seeds’ of savings in a piggy bank or even a savings account.

Have a Yard Sale

Chances are good that you’ve got some items in your basement; attic and garage that you don’t use or want anymore. Have you child help you clear things out and set up a yard sale. Give a percentage of the proceeds to them for their help and offer them the opportunity to declutter their own room and put their games, stuffed animals, and whatever else they don’t use anymore out for sale. This will help them see that it’s okay to let go of items when they are no longer being used.

Good Old Fashioned Lemonade Stand

Talk to your child about how to earn money by running a lemonade stand. Write down the items you will need (sugar, water, lemons, cups), how much these will cost and a reasonable price for each glass. Encourage them to think about and decide where the stand should be placed (in the yard, in the driveway, etc.) and let them make their own sign. Depending on their age, talk about how much the startup costs were and how many glasses need to be sold to break even.

Cook a Meal Together

What is your child’s favorite meal? Sit down and choose a meal either from memory or from a child’s cookbook. Write down all of the necessary ingredients and purchase them at the store together. Pay cash if possible, allowing your child to see the prices involved, comparison shopping, per unit prices, etc. Cook the meal together and enjoy with family and friends, and talk about how much the meal ultimately cost per serving.

A Slice of Pizza Pie

Pizza night is popular in America, many of us having pizza once a week. Use the pizza to talk to your child about various expenses including food, fuel, utilities, mortgage, etc. Each slice might represent an approximate amount of money to help give them the understanding that while some necessities cost more than others, everything takes a piece of the pie (your total monthly income).

Reuse & Recycle

Teach your kids that new isn’t always better. There are items that break that can be fixed and work just like new. If a button falls off a favorite piece of clothing, it can be sewn back on. If teddy loses some stuffing, it can be re-fluffed. Take your child to yard sales and consignment shops so they can see quality items at prices far lower than those at department stores. Have the conversation with them that not only are you saving money; you’re saving the environment, too, by leaving a smaller footprint.

Use Imagination

While it’s true that many kids live in the moment, sit down with them and talk about their future. What does it look like? Will they go to college or find a job right after high school? Do they live in an apartment or would they want to purchase a home? Do they have a travel bug? What type of job do they want to have and what is the route to that type of work? Using visual aids by drawing pictures and make graphs and charts will help them envision a future that can become their reality.

Nobody is born with an intrinsic sense of financial responsibility. As a parent, it’s up to you to instill a sense of confidence and a healthy balance toward needs and wants. Using these strategies will make the process less stressful and more fun.

 

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