22 Career Exploration Books to Get Kids Thinking

Career exploration for kids | activities | children | learning | life | middle school | My child has all kinds of crazy ideas about what they want to be when they grow up and how cool that is...I'd like to find a way for them to explore more than just the perks of that career. #careerexploration #kids #activities #middleschool #life | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/22-career-exploration-books-get-kids-thinking/

Career exploration books for kids that paint a more complete picture of what that career entails.

I set out to find the best career exploration books for kids out there.

Not the ones that paint rosy pictures about fantastical careers – like the life of an astronaut, video game tester, or President of the United States – but the books that also include tidbits about the not-so-pretty side of careers as well.

You know, the mistakes, missteps, frustrations, and failures that each of us adults have navigated in our own careers.

Like…

:: Dr. Seuss quitting art class because of his teacher wanting him to follow the rules – thank goodness he kept going!

:: Grace Hopper’s eventual boredom with repetitive computer programming work, which led her to create computer codes.

:: Rosie Revere’s Uncle laughing at her “silly” inventions.

:: Leland Melvin’s opening that manages kids’ expectations – just because you’re an astronaut, it doesn’t mean you ever get to go into space (who knew?).

Let me be clear: we’re not dashing dreams here. We are, however, adding an element of reality to them.

Note: I’ve personally read each of these books and give my honest reviews/opinions below.

#1: Baby’s Big World: Chemistry, Veronica L. Murphy, 1-3 years
Career Path: scientist, chemist

Why not get started this early? In this cutely illustrated book, your youngin’ is introduced to chemistry. Elements are like “crayons in a box”, and the elements table is like a “crayon box.” Your kid might start to see their world as little tiny elements while reading this.

#2: The Most Magnificent Thing, Ashley Spires, 3-7 years
Career Path: Inventor, entrepreneur, tinkerer (hey, that’s a job, right?), problem solver

I chose specific career titles for this book; however, you should know that it’s probably a great foundation to read for any career. Why is that? Because even though this little lady is trying to invent something, what happens during her many iterations happens to all of us in life – mistakes, missteps, frustrations, failures.

I love how the author seamlessly weaves in the lesson that out of many failures come lessons and things you learn that will ultimately shape the final product, whatever that product may be.

#3: Imagine That! How Dr. Seuss Wrote The Cat in the Hat, Judy Sierra, 3-7 years
Career Path: writer, illustrator, book publisher, book agent

I love how this book starts off explaining how The Cat in the Hat came to be by explaining an unmet need: first graders weren’t making the leap from reading just a few words to reading a whole book.

Adults figured out that kids needed fun kid-beginner books to get them interested.

At this point, Dr. Seuss had already published 9 books. So, a man commissioned him to write and illustrate a first-grade reader book using specific words – 236 of them to be exact.

The book then follows the creative process of, well, writing a book. It’s quite creative!

#4: Ada Lovelace: Poet of Science, Diane Stanley, 4-8 years
Career Path: scientist, creator, mathematician

Ada Byron was a super-creative kid who dreamed of steam-powered flying horses. Her over-excitedness and big imagination came from her father, Lord Byron, a famous poet whom she never met. Her mother, on the other hand, was a math and scientist (their marriage apparently lasted 1 year).

Her mother decided to ground her in a strict scientific education, which turned out to be great training paired with her wonderful imagination.

One day Ada’s mother takes her to tour a factory where she finds the mechanical loom. From this machine, she gets her big idea to use punch cards to tell machine to do things. Then several years later she forms a friendship with scientist Charles Babbage.

Follow along this beautiful book on her journey as she writes the first programming code.

#5: What Do You Do with a Problem?, Kobi Yamada, 4-8 years
Career Path: business wo(man), entrepreneur, inventor, marketer

All businesses exist because they solve a problem. First, they find a problem, or perhaps stumble into it, and then they see that it is actually an opportunity to make something, offer something, do something, that will make the problem go away.

This book is all about not being scared by problems or worried by them, but facing them dead on and seeing them for the opportunity that they really are.

#6: Shark Lady, Jess Keating, 4-8 years:
Career Path: Scientist, oceanographer, biologist

Your child can follow oceanographer Eugenie Clark’s journey as she followed her hunch + passions about studying sharks and the ocean. From trips to the aquarium and free diving in the Atlantic Ocean to Research Missions, she was determined to show others that sharks are not just mindless killing machines.

#7: Margaret and the Moon, Dean Robbins, 4-8 years
Career Path: engineer, software/coding, computers, astronaut, scientist

Margaret was a very curious young girl. She asked questions about all sorts of things, and eventually went into computer programming. This led her to become director of software programming for NASA’s Project, Apollo, which included missions Apollo 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 10, and then Apollo 11. And it was her code that helped with a small glitch during the landing as well.

#8: Charles Darwin’s Around-the-World Adventure, Jennifer Thermes, 5-7 years
Career Path: Explorer, Adventure, Biologist, Scientist, Anthropologist, Archaeologist

I love the way this book approaches scientific hypotheses Charles had to his explorations. It all flows well so that future scientists can see how everything just sort of ties together in life.

#9: Iggy Peck, Architect, Andrea Beaty, 5+ years
Career Path: Architect, Engineer, Construction

Iggy Peck just loooovvveeesss to build things. He wants to build with his hands all day long, even after meeting his 2nd grade teacher who is hugely against buildings (as a matter of course).

What I love about this book is that it shows kids their interests and work has real meaning and can make a difference/fill a need in people’s lives. Isn’t that what we all want to do when we “grow up”?

#10: Grace Hopper Queen of Computer Code, Laurie Wallmark, 5+ years
Career Path: Video game maker, inventor, creator, tech, innovator, computers

While pulling a late-nighter writing code, Grace realizes that not only does she tend to write the same code over and over again into her programs…but she dislikes redoing the same work repeatedly.

I like how this book details some of the non-glamorous sides to tech work (and I would understand these a bit, as my husband works in computers): late nights, repetitive work, broken down machines with lots of pressure to get them back up running (specifically if you’re working for the Navy!), etc.

It’s also great for showing your child how maintaining an imagination throughout childhood and adulthood is beneficial in everything you do.

#11: Rosie Revere, Engineer, Andrea Beaty, 5-7 years
Career Path: engineer, entrepreneur, creator, inventor

Rosie loves to build things out of all sorts of ‘throwaways’. But one day her Uncle laughed at one of her inventions – a hat to keep snakes away (he was a zookeeper, after all) – so she became shy about sharing her inventions. It’s her grandmother who eventually teaches her that great flops are necessary on the path to great success.

#12: My Journey to the Stars, Scott Kelly,5-8 years
Career Path: astronaut, engineer

Scott and his twin, Mark, both became astronauts with NASA.

What I like about this book is that it starts out with a child (Scott) who didn’t quite know what he wanted to be when he grew up.

Until he found a book (ha! Go figure). Then he knew he wanted to be a test pilot. The book then breaks down, step by step, how he achieved his goal.

While he and his brother never actually flew in space together, they both flew on several missions. And probably their most important help with NASA? Since they’re twins with the same biologic makeup, they can test how their body changes in both space and on earth at the same time. One twin (Scott) spent an entire year in space while the other stayed on earth so that they could test the effects on the body and eventually get astronauts out into space for longer missions (like to Mars).

#13: The Boy on Fairfield Street: How Ted Geisel Grew Up to Be Dr. Seuss, Kathleen Krull, 5-9 years
Career Path: Writer, cartoonist

Your child can read along as Ted Geisel becomes Dr. Seuss. Through being fascinated by zoo tales his father talks about at the dinner tables, and the comic strips he gets from his father’s newspapers, and quitting art class because the teacher expected him to follow rules (ha! What Dr. Seuss book ever follows “rules”?).

His mother was even totally cool with him drawing on his walls.

#14: One Giant Leap, Robert Burleigh, 6-8 years
Career Path: astronaut, scientist

I love the art in this book, which helps tell the story of the first lunar landing. While they start off with the historic, magical event in those moments when mankind first stood on the moon in front of millions of viewers at home, this book then takes a (small) twist to show the behind-the-scenes troubles these two astronauts faced. In other words, the not-so-glamorous side to astronaut-ing!

#15: Radiant Child, Javaka Steptoe, 6-9 years
Career Path: artist, writer

Jean-Michel Basquiat was a cultural phenomenon in the 1980s as an artist. This book discusses not only his strong pull towards art as a child, but how he listens and answers that pull by drawing morning, noon, and night.

At museums his mother takes him to, they not only look at the works of art, but they read about how the artist made the piece so that Jean-Michel leans how to actually become an artist.

I love how this story takes Jean-Michel as a child with a passion, then follows that through to how he actually made a career from it. From his home to NYC, from spray painting art on walls, to museum galleries.

And his mother? Encouraged him greatly not only with her style/stylish home and taking him to museums, but by sitting on the flood next to him and drawing on his father’s old work papers.

By the way, the artwork in this book? It’s beautiful.

#16: The Quest for Z, Greg Pizzoli, 7-10 years
Career Path: Explorer, Adventure, Biologist, Scientist, Anthropologist, Archaeologist

British Explorer Percy Fawcett came from a family with adventure in their blood. His father was a member of the Royal Geographical Society, and Percy followed suit in his 20s. Calling a “blank spot” on a map in the jungles of Brazil the Lost City of Z, he was determined to find out what was there.

Which took him over 21 years to find!

The book follows his career path, sewn together by expeditions he goes on, what he packs for it, encounters and troubles he comes across, as well as briefly touching on finding funding for his quest.

P.S. I love the art in this book!

#17: Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions, Chris Barton, 7-10 years
Career Path: Inventor, creator, toy-maker

The author does a great job of taking your kid through the ups and downs of an inventor’s career through an invention they’ll be highly interested in: the Super Soaker.

Lonnie Johnson actually stumbled into the invention by accident while working on some plumbing. But he had been an inventor and creator his whole life. His parents were very lenient on allowing him to mess with things as a kid, even though they had hardly any space with a boatload of kids in their mobile home.

I like that this book goes through the troubles Lonnie, and other inventors, can face. For Lonnie, he actually took a test telling him that he wasn’t going to be a good engineer. Boy was that proven wrong! At one point, Lonnie even quits his job, though it doesn’t pan out for a while. Of course, once he found a toy company to latch onto his idea, he was good to go.  

#18: When I Grow Up I’ll Be a Veterinarian, Connie Colwell Miller, 8-12 years
Career Path: (you guessed it) Veterinarian

The little girl in this book plays Dr. Thomas with her friend, Julia. What I like about the play is that it includes cool-sounding Veterinarian things – playing with animals, helping owners understand how to care for their pets – and the not so cool-sounding things such as giving vaccines and being on-call after leaving the office in case there is an emergency.

#19: Gifted Hands, Gregg Lewis, 8-12 years
Career Path: Doctor, medicine, nurse, surgeon, missionary

Ben Carson is a remarkable man. And his mother? Is quite remarkable herself. She went through great adversity during his childhood, starting with marrying out of the foster care system at the age of 13, then having the strength to raise her boys on her own after finding out her husband had another family.

What is most striking about her is her faith in God, hard work ethic, and ability to see that turning off the television (despite other people telling her she was crazy) and making her children lifetime lovers of reading.

Books, tempering his anger, his steadfast faith in God, and a mother who told him, “if you ask the Lord for something and believe he will do it, it will happen…” are all the reasons why Carson became a top neurosurgeon.

This book details some of the parts of being a neurosurgeon (or surgeon, for that matter) that are both glamorous and not, such as hugely complicated and long-lasting surgeries without much sleep, lots of schooling, tons of hard work, and life satisfaction.

#20: Chasing Space, Leland Melvin, 8-12 years
Career Path: Astronaut, Engineer

I love how within the first three paragraphs of this book, it clarifies something for a child looking to become an astronaut, “just because you’re an astronaut doesn’t mean you ever get to go into space. To go into space, you need to get assigned to a flight. It’s the last step in a journey that can take a lifetime. And not all astronauts walk in space. Some command or pilot the spacecraft. Others are mission specialists who do scientific experiments or work the shuttle’s robotic arm.” And of course he outlines all of the other jobs you can have at NASA without actually being an astronaut, such as computer technicians, lawyers, and nutritionists.

This book also touches on the application process to becoming an actual astronaut, with Melvin’s own 1998 class of 25 astronauts being chosen from 2,500 applications. They test your eye sight, your character, claustrophobia, psychological tests, etc. It’s quite rigorous. Then once you’re in your astronaut class? All kinds of training you have to go through like land survivalist and water survivalist training, and becoming a pilot of NASA’s T-38 jet.

Melvin also had to “trace the path” of his candidacy. In other words, tell them when he first knew he wanted to be an astronaut. What’s interesting is that he also had briefly played in the NFL, dreamed of being a tennis player as a child, and thought he’d work for DuPont or other chemical company. So, the path was not necessarily a straight one, which is so often the case for our careers (right?!).

This book also talks about Melvin’s struggles with racism growing up in the 1970s, and how this helped shape his aspirations.

Finally, in the back of the book are several really neat, STEM-inspired experiments for your budding engineer to do at home. The same kinds Melvin did when he was a kid!

#21: Steve Jobs: Thinking Differently, Patricia Lakin, 8-12 years
Career Path: Inventor, creator, tech, innovator, computers

Is your kiddo interested in inventors, creative thinkers, and/or technology buffs? Steve Jobs embodies each of these, plus more. Honestly, he’s a very quirky guy who has made some questionable choices, some of which are discussed in the book and others are not.

But what is great about this book from a career exploration viewpoint is showing the emerging of a brand-new industry and how one man tagged onto it, then led it.

Being an entrepreneur and pioneer is not all rainbows and unicorns. This book does not put a happy face on everything, and points out the struggles along the way as well. Such as working on dining room tables and in garages, making decisions that take entire decades to actually pay off, and creating a company that eventually kicks you out of it.

The talk about creating the first Apple computer and subsequent iterations I even found fascinating, and I’m not a tech-gal.

What I also loved about this book is how true Steve Jobs stayed to himself, and how curious he was. It weaves together his different interests – such as a calligraphy class taught by a former monk, and India – quite nicely into a fabric of influence that helped Apple emerge as the company + collection of products we know today.

Heads up: Jobs was a college dropout. He found it boring.

#22: The Finest Hours, Michael J. Tougias & Casey Sherman, 13+ years
Career Path: firefighter, policeman, coast guard, military, captain, rescue worker

I was entranced by this book. It’s an account of an actual situation in which two oil tankers near Cape Cod broke into two during a Nor’easter.

I mean…can you imagine? I get a chill just thinking about how bitterly cold this expedition was!

The book chronicles the nothing-short-of-heroic efforts of four coast guardsmen as they figure out how to get out to these sailors and save their lives.

As far as career exploration, I like how the author outlines a few of the coast guards’ individual pathways to actually getting into the guard. For example, Bernie who joined the WWII efforts in the U.S. Maritime Service and served on a merchant ship in the South Pacific. Then he enlisted in the Coast Guard. All this was after he was somewhat forced into ministry schooling but decided it was completely not for him.

Looking for Fun Things to Do in the Winter? Host a Winter Beverage Outdoor Taste Testing Competition

Family winter activities that teach the kid(dos) something too? Wow! I was looking for family winter activities....and this idea is awesome for children (and us adults!). Definitely adding this to my fun things to do in the winter. #familywinteractivities #children #ideas #familiy activities #kidpreneurideas |  https://www.moneyprodigy.com/fun-things-to-do-in-the-winter-host-outdoor-taste-testing/

Looking for fun things to do in the winter with your family? Teach your kid(dos) profit margins with this awesome winter family event you’ll create in your own backyard.

It’s soooooo easy to sit inside all winter long and slowly accumulate cabin fever (plus a few pounds).

Well today? We’re going to switch things up. I’ve created a family date night for you that has both an indoor AND an outdoor component.

But don’t worry – we’ll keep things toasty throughout.

So, what’s the game plan? Each of your kid(dos) will create a warm winter beverage recipe indoors. Then here’s the twist: you’re going to host a family taste testing contest around your fire pit in the backyard.

Not only will this create a fun family memory, but your kid(dos) will actually walk away with more money knowledge in the process centered around the all-important lesson of how to make a profit!

Pssst: Now that’s a money lesson I could have used as a kid, specifically as I’ve gone into biz for myself as an adult.

Let’s get started.

Host a Winter Beverage Outdoor Taste Testing

There’s nothing better to keep you warm outdoors in the wintertime than a toasty drink. Well, a toasty drink around a roaring fire.

Here’s how it’s going down:

Psst: you’ll want to grab your free printable to really bring this activity to life.

Step #1: Choose an Event Date

Build the anticipation for your family by choosing a date 1 to 2 weeks out (so that there’s time for you guys to complete the rest of the prep work).

Fill out the invitation on Page 1 of the free printable, and display prominently on your family’s bulletin board/gathering center in the kitchen so everyone knows the date of the big event.

Set the stage for the competition by having your family read their mission out loud. Other cool factors you can add in: make it a Friday or Saturday family date night, under the stars. Let the kids stay up a little past bedtime to complete.

Step #2: Your Kid(dos) Research Hot Drink Ideas to Enter into the Competition

Your kids are the ones entering the competition. They’ll be in the driver seat of actually creating their own recipe from scratch (with some inspiration from below).

There are lots of toasty, kid-friendly drink recipe ideas to get them started:

They’ll get lots of help not only from looking up recipe examples on sites like Pinterest, but also from the worksheet in the free printable (Page 2).

Step #3: Shop for the Ingredients

Once your budding restaurant consultant has determined possible ingredients they’ll need for their signature drink, they’ll need you, Mama Bear, to purchase them.

Take the list your kid(dos) have created and go to the store (solo, or with them) to make the purchases.

Having trouble coming up with a pool of possible ingredients to buy? Use the lists below for inspiration of what to pick up (a few of these ingredients you probably already have at home) and let your kids create what they can from it:

  • Bases: hot cocoa, apple cider, chai tea, milk
  • Flavors: cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla extract, flavor syrups
  • Sweeteners: sugar, brown sugar, caramel
  • Creamers: milk, half & half, almond milk, heavy cream, etc.
  • Top-offs: whipped cream, caramel sauce, orange peels for zesting

Save your store receipt, as your kid(dos) will need this information to price their drinks later on.

Step #4: Your Kid(dos) Tinker + Perfect their Drink

Using the purchased ingredients as well as anything in your home they can find, host a kitchen lab session where your kid(dos) tinker with ingredients and perfect their super-secret, signature recipes.

They’ll write down the exact portion sizes to each ingredient that they use as they go along, which is important for the next step.

Step #5: Your Kid(dos) Figure Out the Profit Margin of their Signature Drink

Remember, the goal is to create a new drink for this restaurant that not only costs less than $5, but has at least a 60% profit margin for the owner.

Ahem: between you and me, that means their cost needs to come in under $2.00.

So, as your kid tinkers with ingredients, they need to keep price in mind.

Note: this step can seem a bit unwieldy, but is SO important for the whole process. Just know – I’m outlining both how to do this all by hand, as well as giving you shortcuts to online calculators where your kid(dos) will still learn the process by setting up the inputs and thinking through how it all fits together.

Of course, we’re not talking about the cost of the entire ingredient that you’ve purchased. After all, it’s unlikely they’ll use an entire carton of milk to create one drink. We’re talking about the small portion size that they used of the product.

In other words, they’re not going to get the cost of a single drink they’ve created from your grocery store receipt as it is now. They need to do some calculating based on the measurements of each ingredient that goes into each drink.

You need to know how much it costs to create just ONE of your super-secret signature drinks so that you can calculate the profit margin.

What’s a profit margin? It’s the percentage of what you keep as profit from each $1.00. For example, a 20% profit margin means that we earn $0.20 on every dollar. That means that the other 80% or $0.80 are expenses. Remember that Jack, the man from The Yeti Slide, needs a 60% profit margin, or $0.60 on each dollar in profit after expenses are taken out.

Step #1: Write down your ingredients + quantities.

Step #2: Convert each quantity in your recipe to the quantity on the product label.

Divide your ingredients up by dry ones (like cocoa powder), and wet ones (like heavy cream or vanilla extract).

Then use the appropriate table below to convert the amount in your recipe to the amount that’s found on the ingredient’s product label (front of package).

For example, if you used 3 teaspoons of cocoa powder (dry ingredient), then your conversion is to a ½ ounce (the cocoa powder can is in ounces). Or if you used 2 tablespoons of almond milk, you find on the Wet Conversion table that you used 1 fl. Oz. (the almond milk carton is in Fl. Oz.).

Hint: Can’t find the conversion or a little confused? You can plug the exact quantity of your ingredients into this liquid converter or this dry converter calculator online and convert it into the measurement found on your product label).

Conversion tables:

Dry Conversions

3 teaspoons ½ ounce
2 tablespoons 1 ounce
 1/4 cup  2 ounces
 1/3 cup  2.6 ounces
 1/2 cup  4 ounces
 3/4 cup  6 ounces
 2 cups  16 ounces

 

Liquid Conversions:

2 tablespoons 1 fl. oz.
1/4 cup 2 fl. oz.
1/2 cup 4 fl. oz.
1 cup 8 fl. oz.
1 1/2 cups 12 fl. oz.
2 cups or 1 pint 16 fl. oz.
4 cups or 1 quart 32 fl. oz.
1 gallon 128 fl. oz.

 

Step #3: Calculate the cost of each quantity of ingredient used.

Now you need to price each converted quantity of ingredient by figuring out how much each ounce or fluid ounce costs, and then multiplying it by the amount you’ve used.

Hint: A good estimate to use for dashes of spices such as cinnamon or nutmeg is $0.05.

  • Write down the overall price of each ingredient used.
  • Write down the converted amount you used of it.
  • Divide the total amount in the product package by its price to find what each ounce or fluid ounce costs.
  • Then multiply that by the converted amount you used.
  • Write down the cost. Then add all of the individual ingredient costs to get your total expense to create the drink.

Example: I used 1 tablespoon (tbsp.) of heavy cream. One 8 fl. oz. container of heavy cream at the store costs $2.99. That is $0.37/ounce. I look at the conversion chart below, and see that 1 tbsp. converts to ½ ounce. So, I divide $0.37/2 ounces, and see that this ingredient for just one drink costs $0.186 (you can round up to $0.19).

Ingredient Cost:  $2.99_ Converted Amount Used: ½ fl. Oz. Total Product Amount: 8 fl. Oz.  Cost per ounce: _$0.37/fl. Oz. Cost of Ingredient Used: $0.37 X ½ = $0.186.

Looking for a shortcut? Here’s a free online tool for pricing out beverages. You’ll need the converted amounts.

Step #4: Calculate Your Profit Margin

Figure out how high your profit margin is if you sell the drink for $5.00.

Profit on Drink: $5.00 – total drink cost = _$_________.

Profit Per Dollar: Your answer from above \ Cost drink is sold for ($5.00) = $ Profit

Profit Margin: $ Profit X 100 = Profit Margin%

Step #6: Taste Judging Begins

By now you’ve set the scene for some outdoor winter time – think a crackling bonfire out in the backyard (or in your fire pit. Heck, you can de-hibernate the grill for some winter outdoor cooking/heating), plus a table/flat surface where your kids can place their super-secret signature creations.

Bust out some blankets, cover straw bales with table cloths…you get the idea. (And if you’re in Houston like we are? Well, a hoodie should suffice).

Have your kid(dos) place their drinks on the tasting mat, as well as fill in how much their drink costs and what the profit margin is (all calculations they’ll be guided through on the free printable).

Now they get to take a break, while the parents taste + score each one!

Included in the printable are both a tasting mat as well as a score card with specific criteria, such as inventiveness, taste, and profit margin.

Step #7: Declare the Winners

There are winners in a variety of categories, and then an overall drink that is chosen for The Yeti Slide’s Yeti Roasts:

  • Most Inventive
  • Most Tasty
  • Best Money-Maker
  • Newest Yeti Slide Signature Drink

This two-part activity for your child that will leave them understanding profit margins like a pro, plus give your family an awesome family date night under the stars on a winter evening when you might otherwise be watching tv.

What could be better than that? If nothing else, you’ll have created quite the memory.

3 of the Best Business Simulation Games for Kids

Looking for business games ideas for kids? Here are 3 of the best business simulation games for kids, which means they're lots of fun + offer tons of play to prep your child for some real-world biz concepts. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/best-business-simulation-games-kids/

Looking to start your budding kidpreneur off on the right foot? Here are the best business simulation games for kids (and they’re all free).

Do you have a budding kidpreneur, or titan of industry on your hands?

Perhaps your child doesn’t seem to have any real-world business sense at all and you’d like to gently introduce them to these concepts.

Doesn’t matter where your child falls on the biz-understanding spectrum; these 3 business simulation games will introduce them + hone their understanding of some key business concepts.

Did I mention they’re pretty fun to play, too?

Business Simulation Game #1: Zapitalism

Age Range: Middle + High School
Game Objective: Become the richest business owner on the island, which is the first person to make it to 5,000,000 zables.
Where to Play: http://www.Zapitalism.com

Zapitalism is a six-player game (any slots not taken by people are taken by computer players, so your child can play on their own). Your kid gets to choose a company to run after reading through its description.

This is a turn-based game, meaning each player must take a turn before the time advances by one week. You’re given 50,000 zables to start, and with this money you need to turn a profit by purchasing items from a wholesaler to stock your shelves with. You are in charge of setting the price to turn a profit, but watch out! If you become too greedy, then customers will not buy from you.

You can do other cool/not-so-cool money things like:

  • Take a loan out with interest up to your credit limit for your business to purchase better products as well.
  • Take a peek at the store shelves of competitors to see what they have. Each week the companies are ranked according to their net cash.
  • Compete for a building permit to enlarge your store size, thereby enlarging your shelf space.
  • Be audited if you fail to pay taxes every 10 weeks that passes.
  • Pay your employees.

Levels are from Tutorial all the way up to Master. I highly recommend going through the tutorial round first because it really helps with understanding how to play.

Bonus: here are some free worksheets to go along with this game!

Business Simulation Game #2: Gazillionaire

Age Range: Middle + High School
Game Objective: Start a small company and bring it all the way to trade tycoon status.
Where to Play: http://www.gazillionaire.com/index.php

This game is for up to 6 human players and 6 computer players. Your child will be running their own trading company where they’ll need to buy low and sell high in order to prosper.

Bonus: here are some free worksheets to go along with this game!

Business Simulation Game #3: Marty Raygun’s Fistful of Dollars

Age Range: Middle + High School
Game Objective: Keep your monthly business cash flow in check, while making the firm as valuable as possible. Don’t go into bankruptcy, and make sure you always keep money in your business bank account.
Where to Play: http://sims.myej.org/wcgame/

Your child is taking over the firm Galactic Zappers. You need to make sure you keep enough cash on hand, and order enough supplies to keep things moving. You need to pay fixed period costs to keep the factory running (things like rent and electricity). You can accept or reject orders from suppliers after reviewing their details. They can offer you cash, or credit of 30-60-90 day terms to purchase their raw materials, which you need to produce your products and get them to your customers. You can also accept or reject customers based on their details. There’s some shady characters in there! You also will need to decide if you’d accept cash, or credit on 30-60-90 day terms from customers (hint: you’ll need to have a firm grasp on your monthly cash flow in order to pay expenses. Valuable business lesson there!).

There are some handy-dandy buttons allowing you to collectively see your accounts receivables and your accounts payable at any time you’d like. That’s helpful in managing your monthly cash flow.

And each are connected to the “Bank”, so you can clearly see what your balance does throughout the game.

Again, it’s very helpful to have your child go through the “How to Play” video before diving in. Lots of terms to learn for this one!

Which one are you most excited to have your kid try out?

How to Make Money for Kids? Start with these 9 Kidpreneur Money Books

Entrepreneur kids...do you have any ideas where to start? If you're looking for how to make money for kids, I've got 9 books, broken down by age, to start teaching your child the lessons they need to learn the ropes. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/how-to-make-money-for-kids-9-kidpreneur-books/

Wondering how to make money for kids? Or is your kid really into the subject? Read on for where to start.

Kidpreneurs (kid entrepreneurs) are popping up everywhere.

And the market appears to be highly ready to receive them, as many have “hit it big.”

Take Leanna, for example, who was constantly being complimented about her hair at around the age of 11. The secret sauce? She actually was making her own homemade hair products. She saw an opportunity for her homemade hair dressings, hair butters, and shampoos (all free of sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and lots of other mainstream chemicals) and opened up her company, Leanna’s, Inc. In 2010, she raked in $100,000 in profits, and in 2011 that number was more like $300,000.

You know, in between math worksheets, first-time crushes, and whatnot.

Or Mikaila Ulmer, who, after being stung by two bees in one week, was sent her grandmother’s 1940s recipe book with a special lemonade recipe in it to help make her feel better. Mikaila became interested in bees and learned about their endangered plight + how important they are for the ecosystem. She created Me & the Bees Lemonade, which now is being sold in Whole Foods Market after her stint on Shark Tank. A percentage of all of her profits goes to organizations helping to save the bees.

These stories are kinda unreal, especially since most of us Mama Bears (and especially those of us who aren’t making even close to that amount…*ahem* myself included).

Have you ever thought about your child joining the ranks of these entrepreneur prodigies? Or perhaps your own kiddo has come to you and mentioned here and there how excited they are by other kids paving the kidpreneur way?

I mean the thing is, your safest place to start them with is books. It’s a relatively low-cost way for you + your kiddo to explore this new territory, and learn a few things in the process. Like whether or not they’re really serious about this, or if their idea will go the way of toddler-sized Elsa dolls in two weeks.

Follow along with the main characters below, broken down by suggested age range, as they traverse their own entrepreneurial journeys.

Hint: it’s not all roses. But if you’re a woman in a biz like I am, then you already knew that.

Kidpreneur Money Book #1: Lemonade in Winter, Emily Jenkins

Age Range: 3-7 years

What’s one of the first rules of creating a product? Give the people what they want. And really, when they want it. Timing is everything.

As in, who wants to buy a cup of icy lemonade in winter, when these two decide to open up their lemonade stand?

Another entrepreneur reality these two learn the hard way: you don’t make a profit if you spend as much money to make the product as you bring in selling the product.

Kidpreneur Money Book #2: Lulu Walks the Dogs, Judith Viorst

Age Range: 6-10 years

This book drives home the point that a (successful) entrepreneur’s journey is hardly ever walked alone. You need help. Even if it’s just from the pesky neighbor boy who seems to know an awful lot about things + is super polite.

Follow along as sassy Lulu learns the hard way about making money from a variety of sources.

Kidpreneur Money Book #3: Amelia Bedelia Means Business, Herman Parish

Age Range: 6-10

Amelia sets her green eye on the brand new bike Suzanne has…and she just has to get one, too. The only problem (aside from basing her wants on someone else’s)? Her parents will only pay for half of the new bike.

Amelia sets up a lemonade stand next to a car lot because she’s convinced there will be thirsty customers. Follow along while she thinks of creative ways to both win the bike, as well as to advertise her new business.

Kidpreneur Money Book #4: The Lemonade War, Jacqueline Davies

Age Range: 7-10 years

What an adorable book – I absolutely adored reading it.

And the reason why this is great for your kidpreneur-in-the-making to read? It breaks down these huge business concepts and makes them understandable through something your tween gets – a lemonade stand. We’re talking concepts like underselling, value-added, profit margins, franchises, etc.

A further lesson I love is the underlying idea that you’ve GOT to take action. Action in business is how you see results – both good and bad – and learn from them. Then tweak, and move on.

Kidpreneur Money Book #5: The Toothpaste Millionaire, Jean Merrill

Age Range: 10-12 years

Note: Originally published in 1972, this book takes place in an era when many authors, including this one, talked about things like race/age/sex discrimination. So just a heads up!

this line from the book pretty much sums up why I’m recommending it: “As I mentioned before, math isn’t my favorite subject. But I think everybody should take a course in toothpaste.”

This book gives an overall introduction to the manufacturing business, and makes the whole thing a very tangible subject. Not to mention, the main character essentially does what Leanna did with her hair products: he figures out how to make a homemade toothpaste recipe that is much cheaper than what’s on the market, and has no chemicals in it.

I love how this book shares the process of his wins and losses while trying to figure out a recipe, then figure out how to actually package it, etc.

Kidpreneur Money Book #6: Lawn Boy, Gary Paulsen

Age Range: 8-12 years

Note: Get this book for your kiddo for the business and entrepreneur lessons. However, warn your kid about the use of penny stocks and investing their money with random people, because Lawn Boy makes a small fortune when his stockbroker-neighbor-turned-business-manager invests his money into penny stocks.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: financial limits breed creativity. In this case, being a broke kid bred a whole business!

Lawn Boy chronicles a kid’s journey through starting a successful lawn-mowing business − complete with employees − all because his parents didn’t have enough money to help him buy a new bike inner tube (bikes seem to be a recurring motivational theme in these books, eh?).

Lots of economics here, but it makes entrepreneurship and the skills you’ll need for it (plus the hurdles you’ll be faced with) much more accessible.

Kidpreneur Money Book #7: Lunch Money, Andrew Clements

Age Range: 8-12 years

The main character, Greg Kenton, is obsessed with earning cash. Like, totally money-crazy. One day he figures out that all of his friends and schoolmates carry around extra quarters with them (market research at its best!) − for things like ice-cream sandwiches, cupcakes, neon pens, pencils, and other things to buy at school – he sets out to find a way to get all those quarters.

He bounces around from product ideas as first a middle man of sorts, and then an inventor of mini-comic books kids can read in school. Once he figures out how to mass produce them, someone else gets smart on the process (a competitor!) plus he gets into trouble with his principal (legal issues!).

Lots of entrepreneurial lessons in here introduced in a non-intimidating way, like marketing, figuring out your audience, gross earnings versus profits, trademark issues, etc.

Kidpreneur Money Book #8: Better than a Lemonade Stand!, Daryl Bernstein

Age Range: 9-13 years

This 15-year old gives your kiddo 55 different business ideas that go well beyond the lemonade stand. Originally written in 1992, there are examples included throughout of actual kids who took this kid’s advice and how they created a business from it.

There’s a lot of positivity in this book, and I’ll have to warn you that you may not agree with all the advice spouted off by the then-15-year-old in the beginning of the book. Examples include, “When you earn your own money, it’s yours to spend as you wish…[i]f you prefer to buy loads of candy, go ahead!” And you might want to reinforce the idea of charity against his statement of, “When I see a need, I charge a fee to fill it.”

Kidpreneur Money Book #9: Seventeen Against the Dealer, Cynthia Voigt

Age Range: 12+ years

Note: This is actually Book #7 in a series; however, I didn’t read the other ones before it and thought the story worked well on its own.

Dicey Tillerman sets her eyes on opening a boatyard business where she’ll craft boats for a living. However, she lacks business sense, boat-making experience, and wads of cash to start things off (capital).

Psst: Of course, business sense can be picked up as you go (*cough* not that I would know ANYTHING about that).

One of the most important lessons from this book is the need for contracts between you and the people you are working with in business. Not to mention the need for an extra-cushioned emergency fund if you’re just starting a business and don’t have another source of income coming in. There’s also a nice introduction to the idea of business insurance.

Your child may have thought about wanting to start a business, or shown some interest in running a lemonade stand. For me and my friend, it was starting a bean bag business (not much demand in them…nor supply, for that matter, as we slacked off on production). Bottom line? I would have loved to have read these books before and while going through that bean bag business (a total flop, by the way. But oh, the fun we had!).

So, get your kid reading! Who knows where it might lead them.

Ignite the Entrepreneurial Spirit in Your Child with this Lesson Plan

Kidpreneur ideas like this one will help you stomp-out allowance advances. Ignite that entrepreneurial spirit in your children! Super helpful skill whether your kid joins the kid entrepreneurs club OR works for someone else. | https://www.moneyprodigy.com/ignite-entrepreneurial-spirit-child-lesson-plan/

Your kid has much to gain when they ignite their entrepreneurial spirit. Use this system, and you might just gain from it as well!

Entrepreneurs, among other qualities, need to be able to recognize opportunities in the marketplace. This means finding a need, and figuring out how to solve that need in a profitable way.

This can be as simple as a kidpreneur (or kidpreneur-in-the-making) opening a lemonade stand on a smoldering July day near a construction site, and as complicated as creating a machine knob specifically for tea growers in Japan.

And having this ability doesn’t have to result in a person starting their own business; it works equally as well for your child if they work for someone else in the form of more merit raises, one-time bonuses for one-off projects, promotions, leverage in salary negotiations, etc.

In fact, the skill of recognizing an opportunity, and seizing it by writing my own job description resulted in me snagging my first job out of college (worth an awesome $40,000 + benefits to me at the time). More on that in a bit.

So no matter which path your child pursues as an adult, we want to ignite + foster this skill for them.

I’ve got a way for you to do just that.

A System for Your Child to Identify a Need in Your Home + Propose a Solution

We want to encourage your child to come to you with things they see that could use improvement, and ways they could add value or provide a solution for you.

Let’s go through how to do this.

Step #1: Discuss with your child the idea that people need things + services.

Here’s a conversation outline for you with a few blanks to fill in (where underlined):

“People need things and services in their lives. They need things to maintain their health, they need things to make life more enjoyable. They need parts to make repairs to their belongings. They need really cool items to buy as gifts for others. They need better systems or processes to make things work more efficiently, which just means taking less time and less money and getting the same (or better) results. All over the world, people need things. In my own life, three needs that I’ve satisfied through purchasing something include X, Y, and Z. By purchasing them, they made my life easier because <<FILL IN SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR EACH EXAMPLE YOU GAVE>>. Generally when people need something, they are willing to pay money for the solution. That’s why there are so many companies, all which provide products + solutions for people’s needs.”

Pssst: Man I wish I could go back 17 years and give myself this talk! Would’ve saved me several adult years of banging my head against the wall trying to understand how to make money.

Step #2: Task your child with identifying a need around the house/property/car.

What could this look like?

A Few Examples for you + your kiddo:

  • Find a more efficient way to organize the “command center” in your home.
  • Use Google Maps or another program to find a more efficient route for your commute.
  • Organize the wood pile + create newspaper logs that are fireplace-ready.
  • Find a better way to organize/clean/maintain the video game center in your home.
  • Clean out your car (I used to do this for my parents!) + add a car trash can to the back area so that in the future the kids can just use that instead of throwing things on the ground.
  • Introduce a better laundry system for the family’s clothes so that they actually all end up in the laundry room, sorted, and ready to be washed.

The possibilities are endless, and specific to what needs your child sees in your family life.

Step #3: Once they’ve identified a need and come to you with it, you must decide if it’s worth it to you to move forward. Don’t be afraid if, after they’ve told you a need they think you have but that you don’t actually have, to tell them that it isn’t a current need of yours. Hey, the road to success is paved with failed products! This is excellent feedback so that they start to understand their “customer” and dig deeper. Perhaps they’ll even start to ask YOU what you want from them!

Step #4: What are both of your expectations for this job so that you know when the job is completed correctly?

Let them tell you what they propose to accomplish and what that would look like.

Then you share what you, as a paying customer, expect in results. Hash this out if need be (just like a real negotiation between a biz and their potential client).

This includes a deadline.

Step #5: Now you need to ask them for a price.

I know, I know. You might be wondering, “why on earth am I going to let my child choose how much I’m willing to pay them for something they want to do around the house? Isn’t it MY money?”

I totally get that. But remember that the nature of this lesson is to ignite that entrepreneurial spirit in them. Instead of you offering what you’re willing to pay, have them go through the exercise of pricing their efforts. Then the negotiations start.

This sets them up for good negotiation + valuation skills in the future.

Determine the market price you’ll pay, which is where their price (the supplier) and your price (based on how much you need what they’re offering + a dash of several other things) meets. $__________.

Step #6: Your child completes the work + notifies you.

Step #7: Using the checklist you both created, provide oversight and see if everything is as it was supposed to be.

Step #8: Pay the agreed upon rate once everything is up to par. And if they don’t quite complete the project + deliver what they promised, it’s up to you whether you want to make a partial payment, or not pay at all (satisfaction guaranteed could be added to this lesson as well).

If your child makes it through this process, then they will have successfully figured out a “market” need, fulfilled it, and gotten paid from their initiative. This is something that will no doubt shape their futures.

And if they don’t quite succeed? Well the lessons are vast for all entrepreneurs as they traverse through the mistakes, failures, and successes.

It’s really a win-win situation.

Let me show you what I mean, with an example in my own life.

How I Used this Skill Set to Write My Own First Job Offer Worth $40,000 + Benefits

While some of my dorm mates were floundering around trying to find employment, I was busy enjoying my last two months of college before entering the “real world”.

Why is that? Because I had a job waiting for me. And the only reason why I had that job was I spotted a need in a local company, and wrote my way into it.

I had interned for an organization in my small college town, and they ended up building a start-up company set to open its doors sometime around when I was due to graduate. One day I asked them if I could have a full-time job there come June. The director looked at me, and said, “go ahead and write up a job description of what you propose you would do here. Then we’ll see.”

So I went back to my college dorm and worked on a job description. I thought about what the company was trying to achieve, and tied this into what I wanted to do with my life (at least what I thought I wanted to do at the time).

I wish I had saved a copy of the actual job description, but my sharp memory tells me it went something like this:

“Amanda L. Grossman will be the International Marketing & Sales contact at Chesapeake Fields. The International Marketing & Sales Person is responsible for researching new markets around the world where Chesapeake Fields’ products would be well received. Primary responsibilities include understanding these markets, making contact with potential wholesalers and distributors, sending samples, and being the brand ambassador for Chesapeake Fields within these markets.”

With one minor change − they put sales in front of marketing in my job title − I got an offer from them for $40,000 + benefits to do just that. Within the one year I worked there, I ended up negotiating an initial container load of $27,000 worth of our product to a major food retailer in Taiwan.

Unfortunately, my job AND that company went under not long after my first and only year there. But writing my way into a company right out of college based on a need I saw that I could fill? Well that was enough to impress future employers who then hired me.

See how lucrative learning this skill could be for your child? I’d love to hear below what needs (perceived or actual ones) your child comes up with to fulfill.