Money educational toys for kids provide the best of both worlds — fun for now, and lessons that will stay with them into adulthood when they’ll need those important life skills.
I’ve got an idea. This year, instead of gifting money to your nieces, nephews, and other kid(dos) your life, why not gift money educational toys for kids?
Not only will they have fun playing with them now, but they’ll learn some valuable money lessons. If nothing else, then they’ll get more exposure to the super-important life skill of dealing with money.
Whether you’ve got a budding kidpreneur, or someone who has yet to ask about money, here are 9 educational toys for kids to put under your tree.
Money Gift #1: Play & Learn Cash Register by The Learning Journey
Age Range: 3+ years
This cash register comes with 12 different food options and 12 different price options. Your child can mix and match between the two to price their inventory.
There are 3 slots in the drawer, and it comes furnished with $1’s, $5’s, $10’s, and $20’s.
Pssst: And with your kid(dos) new cash register? Don’t forget your free money play starter kit.
Money Gift #2: Moonjar Classic Piggy Bank
Age Range: 5-12 years
This award-winning savings jar allows kids to divvy up their money between saving, spending, and sharing. A Family Guidebook and Passbook are included, and the individual compartments can be taken out, or kept together in one bundle.
Money Gift #3: Big Money – 3D Magnetic Coins and Bills
Age Range: 5+ years
Is it just me, or does blowing something up in size make it seem less intimidating?
Take the mystery out of dollars and coins for your kids by using this batch of magnetic currency. How fun would it be to put them on your fridge one morning before your kid(dos) come down?
It also comes with an 8-page activity guide detailing several activities you can do with your magnetized, oversized currency, such as:
- Teaching Money with Dates
- Showing Equivalent Values (for example, two dimes and one nickel is the same as one quarter)
- More, Less, or Equal?
- Reducing a Group Down to One
- Classroom-specific activities
How else could you use this? You could use the magnetic coins for The Penny Method, a behavioral changing system Thrift Diving uses with her children.
Or how about having your child tally up their earnings or “commissions” throughout the week on the fridge using these magnets, then giving you the total on payday to pay them out in real money? This will give them more exposure to actual money denominations in a plastic world.
Money Gift #4: Quick Pix Money
Age Range: 7+ years
Getting tired of Go Fish or Uno on family game night? Here’s a wonderful alternative, with a real money lesson to boot.
You deal out five cards per player from the “Answer” deck, then turn over the top card on the problem deck. The winner is the first person to win five matched sets by correctly (and quickly) placing the right answer onto the problem card. Problem cards have a group of coins on them, and it’s your job to match the correct coins layout with the values on an answer card (so if you don’t have the right answer, you don’t play a card that time).
Of course, multiple players may have the right answer at the same time, so the quickest person to identify + place their correct answer card down will win the match!
Money Book #5: The Lemonade War, Jacqueline Davies
Age Range: 7-10 years
I absolutely adored this book.
Jessie and her brother, Evan, love each other. Deep down. And usually they function well as a brother/sister unit. But when Evan finds out that his very intelligent sister is going to be skipping ahead to his own grade, his bad emotions come out of nowhere.
They begin selling lemonade together, and end up starting an all-out lemonade war due to lots of miscommunication that escalate things (gee, that never happens in real life!). And who wins? The person who makes a profit of $100 by the end of the week.
The Money Lesson(s): One of the great money lessons in this book is how it’s geared towards making big business concepts understandable in terms of something your tween gets — a lemonade stand. So, they learn about things like Underselling, Value-Added, Profit Margin, and Franchises. An overall highly valuable money lesson is how to take an idea you have to make money, and see it through. These two really know how to implement, and that’s where the rubber meets the road.
Life Lesson(s): I think one of the best life lessons in this book that isn’t necessarily pointed out is that each person, no matter what their skills or capabilities, can bring valuable assets to the table. Jessie is a whiz when it comes to math, calculations, and ideas for how to increase profits. Evan is more of a people person, which is hugely important in a business.
Money Gift #6: Moneywise Kids
Age Range: 6-12 years
An award-winning Money Math Game, Moneywise Kids seeks to teach kids the idea that bills are monthly through one of two games:
- Game 1 – Bill Maker: You each take turn rolling the dice and collecting money. Then each turn you trade up your money to the highest denomination you can get. So, for example, if you have five $1-bills, then you can trade it in for a $5-bill. Then when you get two $5-bills, you can trade them in with the banker for a $10-bill. The goal here is to work up to a $100 bill first.
- Game 2 – Bill Breaker: The goal here is to buy all 6 markers (each marker is a monthly bill, such as “A Place to Live,” “Something to Wear,” and “Medical Care,”) PLUS put $100 into your savings. The first person to do so, wins.
I really like the back of the boards, where the game-maker gives you concrete ways to make real-world connections for each of the monthly bills discussed in the Bill Breaker game.
Money Book #7: Lawn Boy, Gary Paulsen
Age Range: 8-12
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: financial limits and boundaries breed creativity. In this case, being a broke kid bred a whole business!
Lawn Boy is a pretty great book about a kid who started an entire lawn-mowing business − complete with workers − all because his parents didn’t have enough money to help him buy a new bike inner tube.
While this book is bent towards economics, it’s also great for making entrepreneurship seem a bit more accessible. It gives your kiddo a look into how another kid their age filled a demand for a service, and in the meantime, earned lots of money.
The Money Lesson(s): 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. Yes, Lawn Boy makes a small fortune when his stockbroker neighbor-turned business manager invests his money into penny stocks. But that’s not likely to happen.
Life Lesson(s): Keep your eyes open for opportunities. And sometimes? It comes in the form of work. A lot of work.
Money Gift #8: Coin Collecting for Kids
Age Range: 8-12 years
This is an impressive, sturdy (it’s board book material), coin collecting kit for kids for coins through 2020.
Kids can scour the coin jar, the streets, the couch cushions, etc. to fill out the following collections (slots for over 150 coins):
- 50 State Quarters
- Presidential $1 Coins
- Westward Journey Nickel Series
- Birth Year Coins
- Indian Head Cent
- Franklin Half Dollar
Not only is it a helpful holding place for each of these coins, but it also teaches your child about coin collection and mints. Don’t be surprised if they start talking to you about reeding (the tiny grooves around the edges), or start grading the coins that come across their path from uncirculated all the way up to Very Good.
The only problem? You might not have any more change around your home once your kids get their hands on whatever they can to fill it up!
Who knows what their coin collection could be worth one day?
Money Gift #9: Bulls & Bears: The Game of Booms and Busts
Age Range: 13+ years
Looking for a robust game that will teach your kid(dos) about investing, stock market risks, and really important things like investing for their retirement?
This is it.
It’s so robust – think the complexity of Monopoly, but with the goal of teaching investing –that you might want to have your child review the free online guidebook provided by game-maker to get their investing sea-legs.
Some really interesting + priceless lessons built into this game:
- Importance of Diversification: Player’s portfolios are assessed periodically by banks to make sure they’re diversified.
- Current Events’ Influence on the Market: Stock purchase decisions are based on how they think the market will react to different news flashes (talk about great prep for investing in the real world!).
- How to Calculate Net Worth: Having the players calculate their net worth (sum of all cash and investments minus any mortgage or other debts owed).
- 3 Key Investments to Make for Long-Term Financial Security: Goal of the game is to acquire a net worth of $200,000 while owning these three key assets – a retirement plan, a home, and health/property insurance.
You’ve now got a list of 9 money educational tools for kids. Make use of them! Your kid(dos) will thank you.