Start teaching young kids about money. When I was little, my older brothers would try to trick me and trade money with me. I did not know the value of money at the time, so I thought giving them 1 quarter and getting 10 pennies in exchange was a great deal, because it was “more items”. I used to think that if you did not have money, just write a check. Start with the basics of definitions.
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Money – a form of exchange to buy things. It consists of coins and bills. Coins are different sizes and colors. Bills are the same size, but with different dollar amounts on them.
Bank – place that accepts money and cashes checks. You can open checking and savings accounts here.
Savings – account at the bank where money is kept. This account is used to build up amounts to be able to spend the money later. The bank gives a statement that shows the beginning balance, money put in or taken out, and the ending balance. You can also save money at home. Usually people save to buy something or have money set aside for something they need or want later.
Checking – account at the bank where checks or debit cards are used to pay for items. There is a bank statement that shows all of the activities for this just like the savings. When you write a check or use a debit card, you must have money in the bank to pay for it. This account is used to be able to buy groceries, clothes, and pay bills.
Giving – donate money, items, or time to someone else.
Take out examples of coins and bills and explain the value of each one of them.
1 Penny = 1 cents
1 Nickel = 5 cents
1 Dime = 10 cents
1 Quarter = 25 cents
1 Dollar = 100 cents
100 Pennies = $1.00
20 Nickels = $1.00
10 Dimes = $1.00
4 Quarters = $1.00
Older kids may be able to comprehend that a variation of these coins can make a dollar.
3 Quarters + 5 Nickels = $1.00
2 Quarters + 5 Dimes = $1.00
- Make a game of putting together various coins to get a $1.00.
- Talk about what a $1.00 can buy, such as a candy bar.
- Discuss how much their favorite toy and snack costs.
- Play games like Monopoly Jr and let the kids be the banker.
- Set up a pretend store by picking items in the house and putting a price tag on each one. Pretend to purchase several items and have the kids calculate how much everything cost, collect money and give change if needed.
Many kids get money for gifts. Start teaching them how to divide the money into 3 clear containers – spend, give, and save. The reason for the containers to be clear is so that they can see the progress of how much is in each one. Each family can decide how much goes into the 3 different containers. A suggestion is to decide a % for each one.
Discuss as they put the money in, what each category means and why it is important. Let them decide what organization they want to donate money to. Donating may not be the first thought of kids, but this is a great way to teach them how to give back to the community. For the money in spending, let them decide what they want to purchase. This is part of learning the responsibility of making choices. It is interesting that my kids would want something in the store and ask if we could buy it. When our response was “Sure, but you use your money to pay for it”, they would suddenly rethink it and decide many times they did not want it after all.
Make it fun by having them help save money for a common goal. We saved change to go to Disney World. Most of the change was our money and not the kids, but we let them help by sorting the money by pennies, dimes, nickels, and quarters so they could help us roll the money. Once we brought the rolled coins to the bank and received bills, we let the kids put the bills into a cute saving bank similar to a piggy bank. We divided up the money as spending money when we went to Disney. This taught them to work towards a goal and that it takes time to reach them.
Talk to the kids about money and the responsibilities that go along with money. Make it fun by playing various games. It is a great way to educate them early.