How do you explain money to a child? Interactive money activities for kids is a fun way to do this.

You’ll find money math activities, fun money activities for kids of all ages, and much more.

Popular Money Activities for Kids:

Review of Best Money Games for Kids

Money Metropolis Game for Kids – a Review

11 Money Challenges for Kids

Cash Register Games for Kids

Family Dinner Games with a Money Twist

Money Metropolis Game for Kids – Review

Let me share my Money Metropolis game review. Don’t forget – you can play this money games for kids free online, or get your own free copy without even paying Shipping & Handling!

Does your child need a place to start with learning about money? And particularly, with learning about how to set a savings goal and achieve it?

Money Metropolis, one of the money games for 2nd grade, is a free video game that your child can play either online or in their home (yes, free video games without paying shipping or handling do exist! At least when it comes to teaching kids about money).

Before your kid(dos) get started, let me give you a review of what they’ll be doing, and what they’ll be learning.

How the Money Metropolis Game Works

First off, this game is for ages 7-12 years. And the objective of the game?

Objective: Player chooses a savings goal for a particular item they’d like, then attempts to reach that savings goal through a series of earning opportunities, spending opportunities, and rounds of allowance.

Here’s the basics of how this money games for kids works:

  • Choose a Savings Goal: Your child will choose one of three savings goals (in the form of an item they wish to purchase, such as a $350 plane ticket), each with a varying dollar amount.
  • Choose an Avatar: Your kid then gets to create an avatar to use within the game.
  • Prance Around the Metropolis: After that, your child has a lot of free reign. They get to prance around from shop to gas station, to neighbor’s house earning money (like pump gasoline for $10, babysit a sleeping baby for $15), spending money, and (hopefully) watching their virtual bank accounts grow towards that savings goal. Your child will get an allowance as well, at $15 a pop.

Psst: Looking for more money games for kids? I've detailed 6 kids business games to teach them business and entrepreneurial skills.

What I Like about Money Metropolis Game Online

As a Certified Financial Education Instructor + Personal Finance blogger of 9 years, there are a few things I’d like to talk about that I think are real assets your child will learn from this game.

  • It Takes Money to Earn Money: We’ve all heard this phrase, and if you’re like me, then you even rolled your eyes at the notion a few times. But…it’s kinda In the world of Money Metropolis, I like how your child is forced to purchase certain tools to earn the money for a specific job (such as buying a rake at the general store to rake someone’s yard).
  • Earnings are in Proportion to the Savings Goals: What I like about the amounts used in this game is that they are reasonable compared with the overall savings goal. For example, when I pumped gas, I was bombarded with about 15 cars and only earned $10. My overall goal to purchase was a plane ticket at $350. So, it shows children that it could take a lot of work at low-paying jobs to actually save up for something.
  • Reinforces the Idea of Doing a Good Job, Not Just Getting it Done: This game also reinforces the idea of doing a good job at something (even though the work is done only by pressing buttons) because if you mess up, you don't get paid. For example, I “crashed” the mower too many times, so I wasn't paid at Luke's house.
  • Gives Temptations: We’re surrounded by temptations in real life, so I like that your child is faced with several spending temptations that will stretch the time it takes to save up for their actual goal out if they choose it. For example, at Nora's Arcade where they can play a fun Pac-man like game that will cost them $1.
  • Savings Goal is Front and Center: Your child can, at any time, click on “Your Budget” button in the left-hand side of the screen to see how much money they’ve saved, how much they’ve spent, and their total. This is important info!

4 Money Convos to Extend these Lessons to In Real Life (IRL)

The money lessons in Money Metropolis only go so far. Just like with any money lesson, the best way to use it is to also have discussions with your child to make sure they take away more of the deeper money lessons and not just the superficial ones.

I’ve broken down a few talking points for you, Mama Bear, to really extend these lessons to real life:

  • Breaking Even Comes Before a Profit: Discuss with your child the start-up costs that you’ll need to break even with before you will make a profit on. For example, if they buy a rake for $20, they'll want to use it at least twice to get their money back (break-even), and three times+ is when they’ll actually start profiting from their purchase/investment.
  • Bigger Investments Could Mean Higher Profits: Some kids are shy to spend a large sum of money at once. And let’s face it – when you’re a kid, a “large” sum of money could be $13. In Money Metropolis, higher-paying jobs (such as delivering newspapers) takes more investment up front to get started ($100 for a bike) …but you also earn more money per job ($25 instead of $10 at the gas station). You'll need to deliver papers at least 4 times to break even, and at least 5 times to make a profit. A leaf blower costs $40, and gets the job done faster…which is a good thing because you'll need to rake more yards in order to make a profit after buying that.
  • Your Time is Valuable, So Choose a Wise Savings Goal: I like that it takes some real time to reach your savings goal in Money Metropolis. After playing it for 15 minutes and not being close to the $350 I needed for what I wanted to buy…I found myself getting a little bored + looking at a clock. Then I started wondering, how many times during the day do we look at the clock while working? It's good to introduce the idea that money should be valued and what we choose to save for should be really important to us as it's our time that we're using up in order to earn for it.
  • Ask Your Child about a Real Savings Goal They Have: Talk about something your child wants to save up for. Choose the goal, have them research how much it will cost to achieve. Now, spring boarding from them playing this game, ask them to come up with a list for things they can do to make extra money (either in your home or elsewhere). Discuss with them the idea that the more they do something, the more better and efficiently they do it (and can then eventually raise prices). Ask them how much they should charge for their service right now. At that price, have them calculate out how many times they’ll need to do that service in order to meet their savings goal (Savings Goal/Earnings from 1 Service = # of Times they’ll Need to Do it).

Other Budgeting Games for Youth

I've got a few more budgeting games for kids that you might want to check out.

Practical Money Skills Game#1: Road Trip to Savings

This game, for kids aged 8-15, starts players with $1,000 cash. Players are forced to make decisions about how best to use that money as they trek across the U.S. in a four-week long road trip. For example, they'll need to spend wisely on things like gas and car insurance so that they don't have to end their trip abruptly!

Practical Money Skills Game #2: Financial Football

This game, for kids aged 11+, let's kids progress on the football field by quizzing them on personal finance questions. Kids choose a play − easy, medium, or hard − and then they're given a financial question. If answered correctly, then the football team they choose gains yardage.

Overall, I like Money Metropolis. I think it will not only teach your child a few money lessons if they play on their own, but it also serves as a good money conversation starter between you and your kiddo using the talking points above.

Fun money games for kids (even 2nd graders) that you can get for free? Here's my review of the Money Metropolis game, plus how to score yours for free (yes, without paying S&H). Definitely include this in your list of learning activities when teaching your children about money (psst: includes 4 money convos to have with your child to extend these lessons into real life!) Math money games. #gamesforkids #teach #mathgames

Review of Best Money Games for Kids

Looking for the best money games for kids? I’ve personally reviewed dozens of fun money games and financial literacy board games for beginners, and am talking about my favorites below.

I set out to find the best money games for kids by reaching out to dozens of retailers and asking them to send what they’ve got.

And you know what I found? There’re quite a few golden nuggets out there that will teach your kids about money in a fun way — working with money games.

Let’s look at the criteria I used when coming up with this list before we dive into it.

Fun Money Board Games – Criteria for Making this Best Money Games for Kids List

Wondering how I chose which money games for kids to include? I’m glad you asked!

Well, first off, I had to physically play with the money game. I mean, how else would I know if it was any good or not? You can only glean so much information off of a website.

While playing with these games, I specifically was looking for the following things:

  1. Fun Factor: My brand, Money Prodigy, is ALL ABOUT putting fun + money education in the same sentence. So, this was a huge factor for me. Was the game actually something a child would have fun playing with or without their family?
  2. Educational Factor: Is there at least one money lesson to be had from playing the game, or is the game merely a fake storefront for money education?
  3. Ability to Learn Solid Money Lessons (without Total Overwhelm): I wanted there to be several core money lessons, but without overwhelming someone. I mean, I’m of the impression that it’s better to master 1-2 money skills at a time, and then move onto others. So, the best money games for kids were ones where you could focus on a small number of money skills at a time. And then another round of the game? You might pick up on something else.

And let me tell you, not every game I reviewed made the cut into this blog post.

Pssst: Do you have a money game for kids and would like me to test it out for possible inclusion in this post? Get in touch through my contact form.

FYI: these are in no particular order, but I have categorized them roughly by the money lessons they focus on.

Category #1: Coin Counting Games for Kids + Money Math Games

Included here are money games geared towards teaching kids how to count, and how to complete money math problems.

Best Money Games for Kids #1: Money Bags – A Crazy Coin Counting Game

Suggested Age Range: 7+ years
Players: 2-4 players

The coin money included in this game is pretty lifelike! I like that a lot – it even sounds a bit like change when you drop it. I’m sure you can use it in other places as well, such as with a cash register, or playing store.

While the player with the most money at the end wins, this game is really not about accumulating money. The actual money lesson here is how to count coins and make change.

This game really tests their knowledge of being able to count/make change because on many spins, you have to take money from the bank without using a certain coin. For example, you might have earned $0.40, but you need to be paid out without using any nickels.

Periodically, a player will land on the Change it Up! Space, which means they need to exchange their coins of lesser values in for coins of greater value.

Best Money Games for Kids #2: Quick Pix Money

Suggested Age Range: 7+ years
Players: 2-6

If you’re getting tired of UNO or Go Fish for card games, then check out this one – not only is it fun and as fast-paced as your kids are ready for, but it also teaches coin recognition and money math!

There are two separate decks – an “Answer” deck and a “Problem” deck. Each player receives 5 cards from the “Answer” deck, and a Problem card is turned over every turn. Players race to be the first one to put an Answer to the Problem. An example is a Problem card has an image of 4 quarters on it. The first person to put their $1 Answer on top of it takes the card. The winner is the first person to win five matched sets by correctly (and quickly) placing the right answer onto the problem card.

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!

Best Money Games for Kids #3: The Price is Right

Suggested Age Range: Whole family can get involved in some way
Players: 2+

Looking for free money games for kids?

Okay, okay – technically this one is a free group date created by The Dating Divas. But you know what? I think it would work perfectly for kids/family group date as well!

You’ll probably find it funny to see how much your kid thinks common household items cost at the store. What are they going to guess for a bottle of Advil? How about a can of Campbell’s Chicken Soup?

Each player gets their own card, and must estimate how much they think each product costs on the card. Then, you head on out to Walmart, Target, or do online shopping to find the actual products and record the real price. See who was closest, without going over!

What a fun way to add a little awareness into your kid’s lives about the cost of items they use every day. And you know what else? This could double as a great way to keep the kids engaged (re: occupied) during your next grocery store outing.

Now THAT will make the other shoppers turn and look when they hear the screaming!

Category #2: Learning to Save Money/Budget Games

This collection of money games for kids includes teaching core lessons of how to save money and how to budget money.

Best Money Games for Kids #4: Act Your Wage! Board Game

Suggested Age Range: 10 years+
Players: 2-4 players

What makes this game very interesting: not only is each player given a life persona that dictates the resources they've got throughout the play, but also everyone starts off in debt.

*womp, womp*. 

Players choose a “Life” card, and three “Debt” cards to begin the game. For my round, I was given the following:

  • $6,000 in student loan debt
  • $6,000 in student loan debt
  • $5,000 in business loan debt

Yikes! That's $17,000 in debt to start, which feels slightly overwhelming.

Pssst: However, it didn't feel as overwhelming as when I had my college exit interview with the financial aid department and found out I had around $36,000 in debt (all paid off, finally, in September 2010). 

And the “Life” I was given by this game was an engineer who makes $106,000/year, and is married with three kids. My paycheck is $4,100, our mortgage is $1,700, our utilities are $600 (that seems really high!), and our food cost is $500 (that seems a bit low for five kids).

Continuing to follow along with Dave's Total Money Makeover Plan (a great read, by the way – here's my own experience following parts of that plan in real life), each player is given $1,000 for their Emergency Fund, and an initial paycheck amount.

Then, it's up to each player to decide how to distribute their money obtained throughout the game between each of their envelopes (budget categories, such as Food, Utilities, and Mortgage/Rent). Along the way, players can also land on spaces where they'll have to pick a “Save”, “Give”, or “Dave Says” card (these are full of Dave-nuggets and “Stupid Taxes”) and they must follow what are on them.

The first person to pay off all their debts and yell “I'm Debt Free!” wins the game.

Best Money Games for Kids #5: The Allowance Game

Suggested Age Range: 5 – 11 years
Players: 2-4 players
Each child can play their own banker in this game, or you can choose one banker to do the transactions. Speaking of banking…I like how this game has your child earn interest on the money that they keep in the bank!

Allowance is $3.00 (each time you pass the “Home” space), and there are ample opportunities for your child to both earn more each turn — doing things like opening up a lemonade stand, washing the car, etc. — and ways for them to spend their money (like at the mall).

Ways to earn money and to spend it are very kid-friendly, meaning there's no real-world budgeting here. For example, receiving money for a birthday, receiving $1.00 for an improved report card, getting $1.00 for losing a tooth, or having to pay a $0.60 library fine, or literally losing $1.50 of your money. However, this means your younger child will be able to really relate to the options on the board.

The goal is for them to work their way around the board and earn enough money to get to $20. That's how you win!

Best Money Games for Kids #6: Cash Crunch Junior

Suggested Age Range: 5-12 years
Players: 1-4 players

This is a game created by a former Business Studies teacher, and you can tell he has experience working with kids by what he chose to include.

Like the game's scenarios that teach budgeting and saving money in a way that's very tailored to kid’s actual lives, and not to adult’s lives. For example, instead of “Expenses” cards that have bills kids can’t relate to very well – say paying electricity, or gym membership fees – it includes kid-level bills, such as getting docked your allowance pay because you didn’t pick up your room, and forgetting your lunch at home so having to buy one from the school cafeteria.

You should know that the board part of this game is made out of cloth. Still very educational, but I didn’t want you to be surprised that it’s not like a typical board game!

Best Money Games for Kids #7: Moneywise Kids

Suggested Age Range: 6-12 years
Players: 2 players

This is an award-winning Money Math Game that teaches kids money math as well as that bills are monthly through two different games:

  • Game 1 – Bill Maker: Each player takes a turn rolling the dice and collecting money (sounds nice so far, right?). During your turn, you then need to 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. With two $5-bills, you trade them into the banker for a shiny $10-bill. The winner is the first person to work all the way up to a $100 bill first.
  • Game 2 – Bill Breaker: There are 6 markers that each player needs to purchase, with each marker being a bill of some sort (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.

Bonus: Check out the back of your boards for concrete ways to make real-world connections to the monthly bills discussed in the Bill Breaker game.

Best Money Games for Kids #8: Budget – Real World Math

Suggested Age Range: 9 years+
Players: 2-4

Budget is a game all about, well, budgeting! Except this is budgeting with a twist — players have to determine how much they think they'll need to cover their budgetary expenses each time they pass Payday. And players who are accurate with their budget “predictions”, will actually earn a budget bonus.

But if there's not enough money in the budget they set aside to pay for everything before next payday? Then there's no budget bonus (I like how players can adjust their budgets every payday and essentially learn how to predict their expense needs better!).

The first player to reach $6,000 in net worth, wins.

Players start with $2,500 each, and a player can land on the following types of spaces: purchase options, earnings, or expenses.

FYI: this game touches on investing, as well. It gives players the ability to purchase investment options (Savings Bonds and Stocks), when they land on option spaces. Saving Bond owners will collect interest, and holders of stock will collect dividends, benefit from stock splits, and might even lose money when they have to sell shares that have fallen below the cost at which they purchased. Also, real world math (aside from the budgeting part) includes players figuring out probabilities of landing on certain spaces on the board.

Note: you'll need additional setup to play this game — it comes with a “Financial Record” sheet that you'll need to make a photocopy of for each round of play.

Category #3: Fun Financial Games to Learn Investing

Dying to teach your kid how to invest (but maybe not so confident on how to do so, or how to start)? Here are some board games to help, for both younger aged and older aged kids.

Best Money Games for Kids #9: CA$HFLOW for Kids

Suggested Age Range: 6+ years
2-6 players

If you’ve ever read Robert Kiyosaki’s Rich Dad, Poor Dad book (an eye-opener, that’s for sure), then you’ll probably be excited to know he’s got a game that will teach your child some of those Rich Dad things.

Namely, to put as much money as you can towards building assets, and as least as possible towards creating continuous liabilities. Also, create passive income streams that exceed your expenses (first by a little, then by a lot!).

This game sets out to teach your younger children the relationship between their balance sheet, and their income statement. What that boils down to is this: you want to make sure your assets + passive income is greater than your liabilities + expenses.

I love how each player gets their own Financial Statement sheet in this game (that includes a side for the balance sheet, and a side for the income statement). Cards are divided up into three piles: assets, liabilities, and sunshine cards.

Just an example of a decision your child gets to make: to pay $500 cash for a video game system upfront, or to charge it and pay $100/month.

One kid gets to be banker, just like in Monopoly, and everyone starts the game out with $3,000. The winner is the first person to create passive income that is greater than their expenses.

Best Money Games for Kids #10: Bulls and Bears: The Game of Booms and Busts

Suggested Age Range: 13+ years
Players: 2-6

Is your child interested in the stock market? Perhaps Monopoly is a bit below their experience level?

This game takes stock market investing to a whole other level.

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.

Category #4: Entrepreneurial Money Games

Finally, let’s discuss money games that help teach kids to become entrepreneurs.

Best Money Games for Kids #11: Lemonade Stand – Math Game

Suggested Age Range: 6+ years
Players: 2-4 players

This game touches on some entrepreneurial/business money lessons, such as that you can’t just open up a lemonade stand and expect to make money.

There are capital costs to start a lemonade stand in this game, just like in real business. Each player starts out with a $20 loan from the bank, and must pay $2 for their lemonade stand!

The goal of the game is to finish with the most money, but this is after each player pays back their $20 loan + $5 in interest.

Cards drawn throughout the game include a Grocery Store Card (dictates the cost of your supplies), My Selling Price (dictates what you can sell the lemonade for), etc.

Location (such as “sports field” and “neighborhood” also get chosen – how many cups of lemonade you can sell depends on where you’re located for that turn. Makes sense, right?

I think this would make an excellent supplement to a real-world lemonade stand you and your family set up. You can take the lessons learned in this game, and then apply them to your lemonade stand business plan to hopefully make more money!

Family game night ideas for kids that are also educational games? Yes, please! I came across this list of best money games for kids to play. Looking forward to trying something new! | best money games for kids | math family night | money activity | money math games | learning money for kids | money teaching | educational games | #moneygamesforkids #moneyactivity #moneymathgames #learningmoney #forkids #moneyteaching #educationalgames |

Introducing Money To Kids – A Clever Way To Use Your Growth Chart

I'm going to show you how introducing money to kids can be a fun process while teaching your child to save, all thanks to the Growth Chart Method.

Introducing money to kids at an early age is such a great idea.

If this appeals to you – which I’m sure it does, because you’re here reading this! – then you’re probably thinking along the lines of ways to get them to count their change and make their first store transaction.

Great places to start, but how about we go one step further than that?

Many parents who try to instill the value of saving money into their young kids run butt-up against the problem of how to get them excited about money that sits in a savings account.

I mean…it just sits there. They can’t touch it, or hold it, or use it to purchase new things in their lives.

True, they can see the growth on a savings account statement if you were to show it to them, but let's face it: numbers lay pretty flat on a page.

So, perhaps you’ve gone the money jar route.

With money in their pockets or in a clear money jar, they can at least see whether their dollars seem to be growing “bigger” or not. And if they take money out to buy a new video game, then they can physically see that the money jar is now much emptier than before.

However, there are two issues with the money jar. First off, money sitting in a jar is not earning interest (a missed money opportunity + missed money lesson opp). Also, money in a jar becomes quit tempting to tap when the ice-cream man jingle rings.

Psst: Check out the most unique piggy banks for kids here, in case a piggy bank is the way you want to go!

But getting them really excited about money growing in a location they can't physically see or touch − a savings account − let alone the amazing effects of compound interest, is pretty difficult.

What Gets Kids Excited About Saving Money

What's going to get your kid excited about saving money is a lot like what gets adults excited about saving money: seeing the numbers go up.

Except for one difference: adults drool over savings statements, understanding that money increasing in value is exciting.

But kids? Well, that's a different story.

They drool over holding money, having some sitting in their wallet, being able to touch it, and being given the power of choice.

Savings Statements are 1D

Kids live in 3D. They want tangible things, and they don't necessarily latch onto abstract concepts like compound interest working for them around the clock.

Actually, lots of adults don't latch onto that either.

On top of that, kid savings accounts typically grow at a smaller rate than adult ones. It's not like they're out there working from 9-5, right? So, they have less money to fund their account.

This is why getting their savings statement every so often − when you actually remember to show it to them − isn't going to be really exciting.

I mean, who would jump and holler over $0.10 in interest earnings (well, besides money geeks like me)?

Let’s work on linking your kid’s savings account money with a different kind of visual so that they get interested in saving their money from the start because they can associate it to actual growth.

Nail this, and they’ll send a lot more of the green stuff to their bank account.

Pairing a Growth Chart with Money Growth

I've got a really cool idea for how kids can track their savings growth right alongside their own growth, all at the same time.

It’s using a Growth Chart.

You know, that nifty, giraffe-like chart you swore you’d fill out with them on a regular basis as they went from crawler to walker to runner?

The idea is: just as kids are excited to see how much they've grown from month to month, watching their savings account grow with a vertical visual is going to up the cool factor on saving money.

Psst: your kiddo doesn’t have a bank account yet? No worries. Here’s my article on setting up bank account for baby (even if ‘baby’ now wears braces).

How the Money Growth Chart Works

Use your growth chart as an actual growth chart, but make one minor adjustment.

On the other side, create tick marks evenly spaced apart, all the way up.

I’m using the Monster Growth Chart from Oh Bessie, which conveniently has those tick marks already laid out — click on this link and use the code MONEYPRODIGY15 for 15% off your order!). At the top of this column, write in, “Money Growth”.

Each tick mark on this side is worth $5. You can write this in (use pencil if you think you might want to change it).

Here are the steps for using this Money Growth Chart:

  • Pick a Consistent Time Duration: Choose a consistent time duration to do this, such as once a month, twice a year, annually, etc.
  • Log Into Your Child's Savings Account: Before you get ready to use the growth chart, log into your child's savings account online and find out their new balance.
  • Mark their Height Measurement: On the right side of the growth chart, you'll chart your child's growth just like you normally would. Record the date and create the tick mark. Your child will be amazed by how much they've grown since you last measured their height!
  • Mark their Money Measurement: Each tick mark on the left side of the chart is worth $5. I chose this small amount because it's helpful for them to still see some progress even when their savings isn't growing really rapidly. Mark where their new savings account balance is with a date next to it. Let them color in the column you just created. Have them watch you go through the entire process – as in check the amount of their current savings statement, then count up the tick marks and estimate where they’re at – so that they can associate the idea of money being able to grow just like they grow.

Pssst: Is your child beyond the age of thinking you measuring + tracking their growth is cool? Then high-jack their growth chart and use it solely as a money growth tracker! They’ll likely get more excited about that.

Ideas You Can Use to Make this Even Cooler

There are several ways you can adjust this chart for your own use + make it even cooler for your kiddo(s).

For example:

  • Use it for a Specific Money Goal: Use the area on the growth chart to fill in for a specific savings goal that your child may have, such as a video game, a charitable goal, a trip to the bookstore, etc. You can write this savings goal out (I would do so in pencil, as their savings goal might change and you want to be able to erase!). Not sure what they want to save for? Help them come up with the best savings goal for them with this one-page savings goal guide
  • Visually Separate Out the Free Money they're Getting: If your kid sees compound interest in action, then they're going to get pretty excited. Explain to them that since their money is at the bank, the bank pays them for it. So, fill in the savings money growth from actual money they've contributed, then use a different colored pen or marker to show them the free money the bank paid them for their own money (you can put the extra money earned in a different color on top of the other color – like the icing on the cake).
  • Time Your Measurements with a Trip to the Bank: After updating the money growth side of the chart, take advantage of your child's peaked excitement over how their money has grown by having them gather up all their loose change and dollars to physically go the bank with you and make a deposit.

Display their Money Growth Chart in a prominent location, where they can see both their own growth progress as well as that of their savings account.

Who knows? This one step might be just the thing that turns your child into a savings growth monster!

Introducing money to kids had me nervous but I'm feeling more confident after reading this article. I can't wait to try out this activity to introduce money in my household! #introducingmoneytokids #introducingmoney #firstgrade #activities #to2ndgraders #introducingmoneyactivities #teachingyoungchildren #teachingyoungkids #moneysystemforkids #raisingkids #parentingadvice #teachingkids #forkids #play #teachingkidslifeskills #pocketmoney #money |

3 Critical Money Management Skills Your Kid is Not Being Taught at School

Many schools do not teach kids how to handle money. And the ones that do? Are almost certainly not teaching kids these 3 critical money management skills.

Do you know the stats of financial education in our country?

While I geek out about this kind of stuff, I realize not everyone does. I’ll keep it brief.

Seventeen of the 50 US states have financial education requirements built into their curriculums. So, not a great start.

And even worse? Over 60% of teachers and prospective teachers say that they do not feel qualified to teach their state’s financial education requirements (per the National Endowment for Financial Education’s study, Teachers’ Background & Capacity to Teach Personal Finance).

WOW. Does that give you an indication of how little money education is actually happening in school?

Hi, I’m Amanda L. Grossman from where I partner with Mamas like YOU to teach your kids how to manage their money through educational adventures, like the Mt. Everest Money Simulation.

And today I want to talk to you not only about the dismal state of personal finance education in our country but about the 3 critical money management skills your child is certainly not learning from school (and therefore, you need to be teaching at home). Money teaching for youth is important, so let's not leave them in the dark.

Here are 3 Money Management Skills for Youth:

Money Management Skill #1: Money Confidence

You might think this one is a bit fluffy, but hear me out. How is your money confidence? How long did it take you to get to the level you’re at?

By nurturing the growth of money confidence in your kiddo, you’ll be setting them up for a successful money life which includes things like negotiating their salary pay, working through situations life throws all of us without heaping on loads of debt, and saving for the goals they set for themselves.

The reason why this one is not being taught in school is because building money confidence in your child is mainly done through exposing them to real-life experience. And kids generally can’t get real-life money experience from school.

The best ways to nurture this in your child is to a) figure out your kid money system that gets money into their hands consistently so that they can start making decisions and learning money management skills that way, b) modeling confident problem solving of money situations for your child, and c) helping your kiddo appraise their money efforts.

Money Lesson #2: How to Delay Instant Gratification

This is really a precursor for successful goal setting for kids, and once your child learns this skill, the sky’s the limit as far as what they can accomplish with their money and with their lives.

Kids are impulsive by nature, mainly because their brains haven’t developed the necessary wiring for long-term processing and emotional regulation. But don’t fret; even if your child is very unable to delay instant gratification with their money, it turns out that this is a muscle they can stretch and grow.

I’ve got a play on the famous Marshmallow experiment on my site called the Chocolate Coin Delayed Gratification Money Lesson that will help you to start the process of growing your child’s delayed gratification muscle.

Money Lesson #3: How to Make Money Grow

Your child’s school education around money is likely to be learning how to count it, make change, and making purchases at/running the school store.

These are all very necessary money basics for your child to learn, but they don’t necessarily lead to the money management skills that will get your child ahead. Like learning how to make money grow.

Your child has the ability to be a millionaire one day. Time is on their side. But if they don’t understand this concept early on, then it will literally cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I can say this from experience. When I was 16, I was super interested in learning more about the stock market. I knew that somehow it meant that my money could grow, but that there were seemingly huge risks involved as well, and I had no idea where to start. I wanted to talk to a financial advisor in the family, but the meeting was never set up. Eventually I started investing in the stock market through a retirement account I opened up at 23, which was great. But do you realize how much more money my retirement account would be worth NOW if I had started when I was 16 – a full 7 years earlier?

Don’t get freaked out about having to teach your child to invest; you can just start small with showing them how money grows when left in a savings account through interest and compound interest. Once they grasp this concept (and their eyes might pop out of their heads when they do), then you can worry about moving onto the bigger stuff.

For resources on how to teach your kids these important money management skills and more, be sure to check out my site,

Do you know if your kiddo is learning these critical money management skills in school? The answer is probably not. Don't fear Mama Bears, I've got you covered with money lessons and freebies, all to save the day! #moneyteaching #moneymanagementforkids #parenting #momgoals #parenthood #kids #parentingtips |

11 Kid Money Challenges to Help Your Kid Self-Discover Practical Money Skills

Kid money challenge ideas | savings plan | free printable | I'm looking for money challenges for kids to teach my own some of the practical money skills I had to learn on my own! #kids #kidmoneychallenge #savingsplan #freeprintable |

Worried you’re not teaching your kid enough practical money skills and money skills for kids? These money challenges for kids will help them pick the skills up naturally.

There’s almost no better learning than naturally discovering the lessons by yourself (certainly helps when building confidence in your child).

And with a little prep work, we parents can help make this happen for our kid(dos) by presenting challenges for kids!

I’ve included 11 kid money challenge ideas for children below that will naturally help them learn practical money skills.

Don't forget, have some fun with this! Here's your Money Challenges for Kids list.

Money Challenge #1: Play One Round of Monopoly…with a Financial Hardship

Everyone knows the game Monopoly, right (or at least has heard of it)?

I challenge your kid to play a round of Monopoly (one of the kid game challenges), but a bit differently this time: with one of the 6 financial hardships detailed below.

The fact is, many people have financial hardships in life – either as a default, or just periodically throughout their lives. And since we’re at the stage in your child’s life where hardships can actually be prevented, I think it’s a great exercise to make them feel a bit of how they would feel if they were actually stuck in these money situations.

Prevention is worth it, my friends.

So here you go:

  1. Low Credit Score
  2. Pile of Student Loans
  3. Starting Up a Business
  4. Being in Debt to Someone You Know
  5. Getting Laid Off
  6. Past Creditors Hunting You Down

How do you add these hardships into your game play? Check out my post for directions on adding in some money life skills for kids to your Monopoly play.

Money Challenge #2: Hot Beverage Competition – Profit-Making Challenge

This is a different take on the lemonade stand — with a focus on teaching your child how to make a profit, something that's important whether or not they want to employ themselves one day — and gives families a reason to spend a little time together both indoors and outdoors during the winter. One of the fun challenges to do when bored!

Challenge kids to turn into a biz consultant for a day when they try to fulfill a need from the local Yeti Ski Lift. Jack, the owner, needs to create a new drink for a promo he’s doing. It’s gotta be a hot beverage. So, your kids are in competition to create the best-tasting drink that also makes at least a 60% profit.

Once the drinks are created, you all have a bonfire outside (heck, you can even light up the grill) and adults judge the various drinks to choose the winners.

Hint: this kid food challenge has winners in more than one category See the free printable!

Money Challenge #3: The Great Penny Challenge

Stuck at Home Mom’s came up with a savings challenge any change-loving kid can appreciate.

On Day 1, you put a penny in the jar. On Day #2, you put two pennies in the jar. On Day #365, you put 365 pennies in the jar.

At the end of the year, increasing by a penny a day will yield your child $667 (plus an appreciation for how even little bits of money can really add up).

Money Challenge #4: 52-Week Savings Challenges for Kids/Teens

Mom Dot offers the 52-week savings challenge for both kids + teens:

  • Kids Savings Challenge: Start putting $0.25 each week into savings, and raise that amount by $0.25/week. By the end of the year, you kid will have a nice $344.50 set aside.
  • Teens Savings Challenge: Start by putting $1.00 each week into savings, and raise that amount by $1.00/week. By the end of the year, your teen will have $1,378 set aside!

Money Challenge #5: Charity Contribution Challenge

Have your kiddo go through the process of finding a charitable cause they’re passionate about, and then setting aside money to donate to.

Your kid can follow these steps:

  • Make a list of a handful of causes that you’re interested in, or passionate about. It could be a specific animal – whales, lions, penguins – or a cause, such as rainforest, feeding kids, helping the homeless, etc.
  • Go to, and search for charities that deal with these causes.
  • Choose a charity, based on their score/mission on Charity Navigator.
  • Start to set aside 10% of allowance money/earnings to donate to this charity. If this is too open-ended, then decide on a set amount of time that you'll set aside 10% of your money to donate such as for two months, one month, six months, or a year.
  • Actually make the contributions!

Hint: Your child doesn't have a lot of money to donate right now. But one day they will! So show them that their little bit of money can go a long way by choosing from a list of charities where less than $12 goes a really long way

Money Challenge #6: Join a Stock Market Game

There are multiple LIVE stock market games online that your kiddo can join to dip their feet into investment waters.

Choose one to dive right in:

Money Challenge #7: Zero-Cost Entertainment Night Challenge

Each of your kid(dos) takes a turn of planning a family fun night. Choose the night of the week, and let them know any rules you have to begin with.

Now here’s the catch: they need to plan a night of fun that costs NOTHING (by “nothing”, I mean that you can set the rules, such as gas to get to somewhere like a park is okay, but no purchases made from a store).

Help them to think outside of the DVR-box (though those can be nice as well!).


Money Challenge #8: Become the Family Gas Finder

Your child can make a meaningful contribution to the household – something kiddos love – by being in charge of researching which gas station has the cheapest price.

Help them sign onto and look the costs up. Let them do this once a week or once a month to see how gas prices have changed, and if another station is cheaper.

Bonus: Talk to them about how many miles away the gas station is, and if it’s acceptable to travel there for the amount you’ll be saving.

Money Challenge #9: Dinner Budget Challenge

Let your kid(dos) take over the kitchen for the night. Give them a budget to work with, and help them to choose a meal to make based on that budget. Drive them to the store, and supervise as they pick out the ingredients (they might want to bring a calculator and add up the expenses as they go).

Then, help them as they prepare and serve the whole family the meal.

Here’s a link to 30 recipes that kids can cook to get you started.

Money Challenge #10: Find and Apply to One Scholarship

This could be for college, for a summer camp, for a program they really want to be part of; for anything, really. The point is to get kids invested in their future selves + help walk them through the process of finding and then applying for scholarship/grant money that is out there for the taking.

I’ve written an article about Linsey Knerl’s own son did this, winning $1,000 to put into his 529 college savings plan. Other contests they’ve entered so far have been coloring contests, essays, or simply a reading program goal reward with prizes varying between $25 and $20,000.

3 Places to Start their Money Search:

Money Challenge #11: The BIG KAHUNA Savings Challenge

Your kids probably want to do something “outrageous.”And by outrageous, I mean or out-of-budget for your family. Maybe you feel a little guilty for saying no; maybe you have absolutely no intention of ever giving in on this.

Whatever that big thing is…offer this to your kid: If you can save half of the cost to do it/buy it, then I’ll kick in the other half and we’ll actually do it.


Maybe it’s:

  • Buying a day pass to a theme park.
  • Spending the night at the beach an hour from your home instead of doing a day trip.
  • Buying a (used) car when they’re 16.
  • Getting a dog.
  • Going to see Taylor Swift in concert.

Not only will this thing not cost you as much, but you’ll have cemented some “cool parent” points in your child's memory. Not bad.

And when they lose determination because they don’t believe they’ll ever reach their savings goal? Then use it as a teachable money moment with these 3 goal-saving steps.

Well, that's it. Which money challenge are you most excited to introduce to your child? 

Cash Register Games: More Than, Less Than Money Play

Through cash register games like this one, gently introduce some money context to your kid's world. Start with this game of More Than, Less Than, then have them set their own inventory prices for pretend play.

Pricing inventory. It’s something that can make biz owners cringe (ask me how I know!). I mean, we have to answer icky questions like how much would someone pay for your product? How much did you spend to create it or source it? How much do similar items on the market go for and should your product even be placed in the same category as those?

Of course, it’s all a numbers game (even though it feels like an emotional one).

So, while it might not excite you (or me), having your child go through the motion of pricing their own store’s inventory can skyrocket their money understanding in terms of providing some sort of context to what things actually cost.

I mean, how else do they know how much a steak costs in relation to how much a granola bar costs? What about a container of yogurt versus a carton of ice-cream?

Let’s bring a little more intentional money play to your child’s next toy cash register play session with this More Than, Less Than Money Activity.

Money Activity Needs + Prep Work

  • Gather these Items: Pretend play food items, or your own food item containers that have been washed out (such as old yogurt containers, boxes from cereals, empty bags, etc.).
  • Players: Works with any number of players (just 1 shop clerk though at a time!)
  • Suggested Cash Register: Don’t have a cash register for your kid(dos) yet? When designing this activity, I used Learning Resources’ Pretend & Play Calculator Cash Register. Feeling crafty? You can make your own cash register.

Step #1: Come Up with a List of Food Items

Your kid(dos) need a list of food items (aka, their inventory) that they’re going to price before cash register play begins.

Note: If you’re using the three sheets of food items + prices I’ve included in the free printable, then here’s your list: jar of pickles, apple, fish, bunch of bananas, ketchup, box of pasta, tomatoes, milk, ground beef, loaf of bread, onions, orange, whole chicken, 1 jar of spice.

Step #2: Price the Food Items

Your kid needs to see how much these food items cost in the real world so that they can price them for their store.

There are two ways you can set this, either in-home, or at an actual store.

The In-Home Version

Don’t want to leave the comfort of your home? No problem. You can use the three sheets of items/prices in the free printable.

Also, that’s what sales flyers are for!

Major Grocery Stores Weekly Ads Locator (put in your zip code to find the ad for your local store):

The In-Store Version

Grab a clipboard, and Page 2 of Your More Than, Less Than Activity Kit Printable and take your child to the store either during your next grocery store visit or as a dedicated trip just for this activity.

Have them go through the process of finding each item (with some guidance), going to the right aisle, and writing in the price that they find.

Step #3: Compare Costs of Items

Have your kid(dos) fill in Page 5 of the free More Than, Less Than printable. They’ll start to see whether or not tomatoes cost more than ground beef, or if a gallon of milk costs less than a whole chicken.

Step #4: Price Inventory

Now that they’ve seen a comparison of what things cost in relation to one another, they’ll have a better idea of how to price their own inventory.

They don’t need to use the exact same prices as the ones they discovered; they just need to price those items correctly in relation to one another.

For example, your child found that a box of cereal costs $3.99 at the store. They can price that box of cereal in their own inventory for however much they’d like, so long as it costs less than the ice-cream on their list (which costs more around $4.99 for a carton).

See how that works out? You’re giving your child some real-world money context so that they can price their items accordingly instead of using some pie-in-the-sky price off the top of their heads.

Ready for more? Now, the rest of their toy cash register play can begin.

Looking for pretend play ideas for girls OR boys? This DIY preschool (+) activities + includes one of my fave learning printables so you can set up intentional money cash register games. |

How to Set Up Teachable Money Play Using Your Kid’s Toy Cash Register

A toy cash register is awesome for your child to play with. But don't you want to set up a bit more intentional money play from time-to-time? Let me show you how.

Got a shiny new toy cash register for your child and, while they think it’s cool, there’s no real direction from you on what to do with it?

Perhaps it’s not-so-new, but you’d like to introduce more intentional money toy cash register play for your child.

I’ve got steps below to show you how to start with some intentional money play with your kid’s toy cash register.

Money Activity Needs + Prep Work

Step #1: Choose Who Plays Shop Clerk and Who Plays Customer

You’ll need at least two players for this toy cash register activity (pssst: Yes, Mama Bear, you can be one of them!). Decide who is going to play Shop Clerk, and who is going to play Customer, then cut out their badges, fill in their names, and put them on.

Step #2: Help Your (Shop Clerk) Child Price their Inventory

This particular Play & Learn Cash Register by The Learning Journey that I used when writing this article comes with 12 different food options and 12 different price options. You can mix and match between the two.

To create an intentional money play activity for your child, ask them to come up with a list of what they want to charge for each food item as prep for the actual play (you can use Page 2 of the Money Play Starter Kit free printable).

  • 12 Food items: whole chicken, 6 eggs, 3 carrots, 1 steak, 1 hot dog, 1 box of cereal, grapes, cheese, cookie, 1 box of rice, 1 apple, 1 carton of milk
  • 12 Prices: $2.25, $3.15, $0.65, $1.85, $4.05, $3.75, $2.40, $1.00, $0.90, $2.60, $3.00, $1.50

You can base this off of a coupon circular you found from your local grocery store, a trip to your actual grocery store to get a range of what these particular items cost, or just allowing them to make a guess and go with it.

Tip: Is your child very particular about cash register prices lining up with the circulars? They can just use the food selector wheel on the left-side (images of the food items) of the Play & Learn Cash Register by The Learning Journey, and then make up their own prices based off of the circulars. Write down the prices they choose on their list, and go off of that.

Step #3: Help Your (Customer) Child Make a Shopping List

Now it’s your Customer’s turn to make a list for their store play! Use Page 3 of the Money Play Starter Kit free printable.

Here’s some ideas for how to get them to decide on what they want:

  • Write down each of the 12 items that are available, and let your child circle which ones they’d like to buy.
  • Help them search for a recipe they could make with some of the 12 items offered to them. Could be some fun imagination play. Could be a search on where you enter whatever ingredients you have on hand they give you recipes that match.
  • Whatever their heart desires.

Step #4: Divvy up the Cash

Your toy cash register comes with pretend money, and you’ll need to divvy this up between both the Shop Clerk – to make change – and the Customer – to make purchases.

Hint: You’ll want to give more of the big bills to the Customer than to the Shop Clerk, and you’ll probably want to give more change and smaller bills to the Shop Clerk than to the Customer to make the process of giving change simpler. You can also supplement with your own jar of change!

Step #5: Introduce a “Restock” Day

Want to take your child’s play up a level? Introduce a Restock Day after a certain amount of time has passed, like 30 minutes, or 5 Customer transactions. Use Page 4 of the Money Play Starter Kit to set up the rules ahead of time, including the wholesale cost of restocking the store.

This means two different things to the two different roles being played:

  • Shop Clerk: On Restock Day, they need to repurchase the items available in their store (the images on the cash register scroll). And if they don’t have enough money to? Then have them choose what they can afford to restock, while putting an “X” on a list to tell the Customer what is not available.
  • Customer: On Restock Day, these guys get a paycheck. Decide ahead of time what an appropriate amount would be to give to them based on their age and the context of this game.

Remember, the whole idea is to start getting your child to think about the world in terms of money. The activities and steps above will help them to do that through the food they eat, and store transactions that they have probably watched you go through over the years.

So, which step are you most interested in implementing? Any other ideas you came up with after reading through these? I’d love to hear about them below.

Do you DIY your kid's toy cash register play? Kids do pretty well with pretend grocery store play. But why not take that up a notch by introducing more intentional money play with your kid's toy cash register? Get my FREE Money Player Starter Kit to show you how. |

Family Dinner Games with a Money Twist: Everest Avalanche Dessert Breakout Box

Looking for fun family dinner games for kids (that ALSO teach your child how to save money)? Get my free printable: Dessert Breakout Box - Avalanche on Everest for a really fun reason for your kids to BEG to come to dinner tonight. |

Family dinner games that will teach your kid a specific money lesson + have them begging to sit around the table? #MamaWins.

Mama Bears? You're about to reach cool-Mom status. Not only that, but your kids will actually want to sit down to a family meal tonight.

Why is that?

On my quest to figure out innovative + experiential ways to teach your kids about money, I've come up with an idea that takes the cake (or brownie, or M&Ms, or Heath bars…).

It's a Dessert Breakout Box (family dinner games for kids). And it's going down tonight, at your dinner table.

What does this have to do with teaching your kids about money? Well…they have to solve a money puzzle to actually break into dessert tonight.

What is a Dessert Breakout Box Anyway? Plus a Sneak Peek at the Storyline

Breakout boxes are pretty cutting edge in the education realm. Breakout EDU is leading the way with their idea to take an escape room − where a group of people get together and figure out puzzles to escape the room for entertainment − and bringing it to the classroom. They've got a stellar Breakout EDU kit, and then there are hundreds of challenges + adventures you can get to go along with it.

I mean, what kid (or adult, for that matter) wouldn't want to get their hands on one of these?

I'm feeding off this escape-room-turned-box idea even more by bringing it to your dining room table.

And the lessons your kids will learn? Are all about money.

Everest Avalanche Storyline (Sneak Peek)

There's an oxygen-deprived mad man on the mountain! Your kiddo is part of an expedition team who is stuck up at Camp 1 due to an avalanche cutting off their path. While they wait for helicopter rescue, they  notice that one of their teammates has gone a little crazy. In his oxygen-deprived state, he's heading UP the mountain instead of down. Even worse, he's boxed up dessert with a lock and set sneaky codes your kid will need to break in order to get dessert tonight. Not a good thing when your food supply is dwindling anyway.

In order to break into this box and eat the dessert, your kiddo will need to solve one of the three money puzzles included as part of this free printable. It's your choice which one (and feel free to use the other two for other memorable family dinner games)!

Pre-Work Overview + Details

Mama Bear, you get to choose from one of the three money puzzles that your child has to complete in order to break into their dessert box.

The three money puzzles are:

  1. Money Puzzle #1: Emergency Fund Balance
  2. Money Puzzle #2: Derailed Savings Plan
  3. Money Puzzle #3: Savings Account Purpose

You can pick by: divvying up a different puzzle to each child, choosing one puzzle for the whole family to solve, or by the money lesson you'd like your child to take away from the dinner table tonight.

Get the instructions + free printables by clicking to subscribe below:

How to Get Your Kid(dos) to Beg to Sit down to Dinner Tonight

Get your kid(dos) to beg to sit down to dinner tonight by leaking various hints throughout the day about what's going down at family dinner time tonight.

Such as:

:: Write on a kitchen chalkboard your dinner menu + “Dessert: Held Captive”
:: Watch the family-appropriate Everest DVD Beyond the Edge with your kids, and tell them their hint for tonight's dessert is in it
:: [Insert your own idea!]

Use this Dessert Breakout Box to add a second course to dinner the kids will never forget.

9 Money Books to Read Your Kid to Ready them for their First Store Transaction

Trade in those cash register games for kids for these books. Use the Mama talking points to prep your child for their first store transaction.

Moving from cash register games for kids to that very first store transaction. You know, where your kid actually hands over money (perhaps their own, perhaps yours) to buy their very first item.

It’s exciting! It’s nerve-wracking!

And it’s also a key milestone in your child’s money development.

Because one day, Mama Bear, they’ll be making ALL the transactions in their life by themselves. And you want them to be prepared for that, right?

I’ve curated 9 money books to read your child in prep for their first store transaction. Also included are a few talking points for you to help associate what they’re reading with what they’re going to do eventually themselves.

Money Book #1: Sheep in a Shop, Nancy Shaw

Age Range: 2-3 years old

This is the perfect book to show your very young kiddo what the purpose of a store is for: to go with money with something specific in mind that you want to buy.

A group of sheep are on the mission to purchase a birthday gift. Unfortunately, they don’t have enough in their piggy bank for what they want to buy. So, they learn to barter for it!

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: The real money lesson here is that things in stores are not free. You can also discuss that saving up to buy something is best…or else you might have to barter something like your own fur! In other words, stores do not operate under a barter system anymore, and money is the means to pay for something.

Store Money Activity: For the next birthday-buying occasion in your household, walk your child through the process of buying a gift for someone either with their own money (if you’ve figured out an allowance for kids, or if they’ve figured out how to make money for a kids). Talk about how much money to spend for the gift (in relation to how much they have), then brainstorm several ideas with them before heading to the store. Once you get to the store, walk them through the process. Let them choose from the shelf something close to one of the brainstormed ideas, as well as price compare if there are similar items. Ask them if the item is under the agreed-upon budget. If not, look around for another item. Have them put the item up on the counter at the cashier, and if you’re ready for it, have them hand over the money. Walk them through accepting the change, getting a receipt, and picking up the bag.

Money Book #2: Bunny Money, Rosemary Wells

Age Range: 3-5 years

Bunnies Ruby and Max want to buy the perfect birthday gift for their grandmother: a beautiful music box with skating ballerinas. They’ve saved up their own money to do so, and head to the store for this one purpose. However, things start happening, and temptations arise that cost them some of their money. Also, they didn’t research the cost of what they wanted ahead of time, so they didn’t have enough money to buy it to begin with.

They end up making a pretty bad spending decision − purchasing glow-in-the-dark vampire fangs that cost them their bus ride fare home. In the end, they spend their last $0.25 calling their grandmother to come and pick them up.

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: Talk about why researching what you want to buy before you head to the store is a good idea (so that you can make sure you have enough money would be the most immediate one, as well as finding alternatives that are less expensive for when you can’t find what you had originally wanted). Another great lesson is to prioritize your spending for needs first (a bus ride for home), then wants. Otherwise you might get stuck somewhere!

Store Money Activity: Have your child go through each item the bunnies spent their money on, and tell you whether it was a want or a need. Let them defend their answers before telling them your answer.

Money Book #3: Paddy’s Payday, Alexandra Day

Age Range: 3-8 years

Wondering how to teach kids about spending money? A great introduction to the most common way for money to get into a person’s hands is a good place to start. Paddy is an Irish Terrier who performs for a living. It’s his payday, and he’s got a long list of ways to spend his money.

The message that I don’t like in this book is to spend, spend, spend on your payday.

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: With payday money, you need to spend money on both needs and wants. To truly get this lesson, you’d have to add that in, though, because Paddy seems to spend, spend, spend (without any remark on how he’s spending his paycheck away!). You could turn this around by opening a discussion about which of the things Paddy spends on that are needs versus wants. Think: Boston Cream donuts, haircut, movie ticket, dinner at a restaurant, a bouquet of flowers (Paddy’s on track to be poor before his next payday!).

Store Money Activity: Take a few minutes to discuss with your little one where you and/or your spouse work. Discuss some of the ways you use the money you get on payday to keep the household going, and which stores you make purchases from for needs for the household.

Money Book #4: Apple Farmer Annie, Monica Wellington

Age Range: 3-7 years

What I like about this book is that your child will start to get an idea of the process involved in the other side of a store: the supplier. This is through the farming process (psst: I get exhausted just thinking back to my cow-milking, hay-making, silo-filling days on the dairy farm where I grew up).

Annie, an orchard farmer, takes your child through (though in a really cursory way) how a product gets to market. From picking the apples, sorting them, producing sweet apple cider, applesauce, various baked goods, to actually selling the most beautiful of all of them at the farmer’s market.

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: When you grow your own food, you can keep some for yourself to munch on (or bake really yummy things with), and then you can sell the excess and make some money. This is also a great opener for discussing with your child your own job and how it enables you to earn money. Which you then spend on needs + wants for the household.

Store Money Activity: There are Annie’s recipes in the back. So, you could extend the study by picking your own apples (or making that the first store transaction for your child), sorting them, then making a recipe together with your child.

Money Book #5: Pigs Will Be Pigs, Amy Axelrod

Age Range: 5-8 years

The Pigs will be Pigs series, including this book, has been designed around the National Council of teachers of Mathematics’ Thirteen Standards.

But that’s not the fun part about this book (nor did that sound fun, right?).

This pig family has eaten through all their groceries from the morning (yes, pigs will be pigs!), and they’re hungry for a snack. The problem? There’s only a dollar between the lot of them. So, they go about hunting for money in all kinds of peculiar places around their home.

Then, they’re presented with a menu with prices, and so your child gets a chance at the end to figure out what else they could have bought from that menu.

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: Have your child add up their own pot of money (if they’ve got one) and see what they could afford on the menu, as if they were actually going to buy it.

Store Money Activity: At your family’s next restaurant visit, have your child choose something based on price. Give them a budget to work with, then ask them how many different combinations they can come up with from the menu and still stay under that budget.

Money Book #6: Follow the Money, Loreen Leedy

Age Range: 4-8 years

This book will give your child a great overview of money circulation + different ways that money can be used (like in a vending machine or as a donation).

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: There are a few calculations your kiddo is asked to make, such as how much change a customer should receive. Make sure they understand the concept of change after they do these calculations.

Store Money Activity: You can practice change-making with your child by setting up different-costing transactions, having them pay for these pretend transactions, then seeing if they change you gave them is correct. A change jar is really helpful for this exercise!

Money Book #7: Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, Judith Viorst

Age Range: 4-8 years

In this book your child will see that Alexander used to be rich (and by rich, he means he used to have $1 his grandparents gave him) until he spent his money a bit foolishly. Honestly, what barely-out-of-a-car-seat-kid wouldn’t?

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: There are always “opportunities” to buy things with your money. But sometimes, they’re not opportunities at all. Like a one-eyed teddy bear.

Store Money Activity:  Have your child identify what they think are “wants” that Alexander spent his money on. Now, add up how much each of these wants cost Alexander. How much money would he still have if he had not spent on all his wants? What else could he have done with that money? Your child can go through an exercise of identifying 5 of their own wants, then pricing them out to see how much it would cost them at a store.

Money Book #8: Jenny Found a Penny, Trudy Harris

Age Range: 5+ years

Jenny has her eyes set on purchasing something special (though you don’t find out what it is until the end). She needs a whole dollar, so she sets out to find all the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters she can. She also earns a dime from sweeping her grandfather’s porch and sidewalk − this is one determined gal! Unfortunately, she’s thrown for a loop at the cash register when she learns that not only does she have to save up for what she wants to buy, but also for the sales tax that is assessed on it.

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: Something you could talk about from this book is an alternative way to get that plastic piggy bank without her having to spend all her savings on it (such as making one from a two-liter soda bottle, or from a mason jar. Just look on Pinterest for ideas). Also, your child will be introduced to sales tax in this book, something that may well have confused them before (especially if they’ve paid attention to the price tag on an item + how it is always more at the register).

Store Money Activity: Discuss sales tax with your child, and the idea that it’s different in different states and areas. Look up the sales tax in your own area for reference. Are there any items that are not assessed a sales tax?

Money Book #9: Those Shoes, Maribeth Boelts

Age Range: 5-8 years

Whether we like to remember this happened to us as tweens/teens or not, there is a lot of peer pressure when it comes to having “cool” clothes. And often the “cool” clothes cost more than parents’ paychecks can support.

That’s why I like this book. A boy gets transfixed by the newest trend of shoes at his school. His jealousy is palpable. Unfortunately, his grandmother can only afford to get him shoes that he needs − winter boots.

Even worse, his own “everyday” shoes fall apart at school. A helpful guidance counselor gives him a pair to have, but they’re what’s considered “baby” shoes and he gets embarrassed.

What happens? He finds that the one boy who didn’t laugh at his “baby” shoes actually was worse off than him. When he actually finds the shoes of his dreams − albeit one size too small − from a thrift store, he ends up gifting them to this other boy.

Mama Talking Points to Extend the Money Lesson: Definitely discuss buying used versus buying new with your child. Also, point out how strong the grandmother was in unabashedly told him what they could and could not afford instead of racking up a charge she didn’t need on her credit card to satisfy a current trend.

Store Money Activity: Have your child talk to you about something that they want that they cannot currently afford. Then ask them to think about ways they could get what they wanted for less money so that they could afford it sooner. Give them some hints to help this exercise along, especially if they’re not used to finding discounts for items.

Cash register games for kids can only take your kid(dos) so far. From sales taxes, to getting change, and everything in between (like buying used), these books will prep your child for their first store transaction.

Move on from pretend store play + cash register games for kids. Use these 9 books & the bonus store money activities to help your child make their first store transaction! How exciting. |

Done for You DIY Money Summer Camp for Kids (One Week Schedule Example)

Here's your kid's summer camp activities list for money camp (includes lesson plans). DIY money camp this summer with this done-for-you schedule over one week (bonus: an extra lesson plan in case you'd like to substitute!). |

Looking for a kids summer camp activities list for a DIY money camp? Check out this 5-day schedule + lesson plans below.

Would you like to structure just one week of your kid’s summer vacation as a DIY money summer camp? I’ve got a week’s worth of money lessons outlined for you below, plus the supplies you’ll need so you can skim ahead of time and have everything ready.

Psst: Mama Bear Prepwork: I really suggest you go through this post about figuring out what the heck it is you want your child to learn about money a week or even a day before your camp starts. This will shape what lessons you choose now & moving forward. Clarity is golden!

Here’s your kids summer camp activities list to choose from + an Ideal schedule to maximize learning:

Monday – Stretch Your Child’s Delayed Gratification Muscle as a Precursor to Goal-Setting

Looking for activities when teaching goal setting for kids and students (especially with a growth mindset)? This Delayed Gratification money lesson using chocolate coins is the perfect precursor to goal setting, as it ensures your kid will not only be goal setting in the future, but will be able to stick it until they reach their goal. Great for elementary and middle school. |

Set up a Delayed Gratification Experiment in your own home.

Supplies You’ll Need: Chocolate Money Coins (you can pick these up at a Party City), plus either an item, experience, or more chocolate coins as the reward for waiting to eat the chocolate.

You can choose any duration of time you’d like to have your kids or teenagers wait for the bigger reward. Shorter duration works well with little kids (just a few days), and a longer duration works well with kids/teens who have flexed their delayed gratification muscles a bit. Since this is a one-week money camp, feel free to set the duration to be the end of this week.

Let’s see how your kiddo does!

Tuesday – Teach Your Kid to Save with this Money Growth Experiment

Get kids to listen to you about money, mom, by having them discover what you're trying to teach them on their own using this idea. You'll teach children to WANT to put money into a savings account after they go through this EYE-OPENING, hands-on money growth experiment. Kids save money? What a novel idea. |

This experiment takes several months to reach the outcome. So why did I include this on your summer camp activities list? Because once you set it up, you don’t need to do any other work. So, take the time to actually set it up during this week, then watch it unfold naturally.

Supplies You’ll Need: A jar (any old one will do), a savings account that earns interest, and seed money to populate both the jar + the savings account.

Wednesday – Savings Accounts Activities to Keep Your Kid’s Account from Collecting Dust

Savings accounts for kids tend to collect dust (moreso than money!). But yours doesn't have to using these tips. Check out these 3 money activities you can do with your children, even if their account is particularly growing at the moment. |

Choose one, two, or all three of these activities to go through during your DIY Money Summer Camp Week. Activities include naming (i.e. giving purpose to) their savings account, having your child shop around for the best interest rate, and starting a savings statement binder.

Supplies You’ll Need: A savings account for your child. If you don’t already have one (I walk you through how to set one up here), then move onto a different activity, or make the activity opening up a savings account together.

Thursday – Start Up the Money Dialogue with Your Family

Use these free money conversation starters for kids to open up money dialogue in your household (plus keep the kids interested at dinner time and road trips). |

Grab your free set of printable money conversation cards for kids and parents. Use these on commutes, road trips, or around the dinner table. They’re super fun, plus you might be really surprised with what you learn about your child’s understanding of money.

Supplies You’ll Need: Printed conversation cards, available in the post, plus a jar or other holding container to put them in.

Friday – Ignite Your Child’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

Turn your child into a consultant by using the dialogues I’ve set up as an example to discuss with them about consumer needs plus fulfilling those needs to make a profit.

Then turn them loose as they figure out what some of your own household’s needs are, how much you are or are not willing to pay for them, and how to do the work to a customer’s (your’s) satisfaction.

Supplies You’ll Need: Nothing in particular. Just time.

Bonus or Substitute Lesson: Play Compound Interest Detective

Compound interest can literally change your child’s future. Moderate as they go through this lesson (there’s a 9:02 minute video to teach them what compound interest is in case you’re squeamish to do so) and open them up to the possibilities of money earning its own, actual, money. How cool!

Supplies You’ll Need: A savings account, and two consecutive statements representing two compounding periods from your child’s savings account.

Excited by some of these possibilities on this summer camp activities list? Now it’s time to choose one week to claim as Money Summer Camp, and schedule one of the money activities for each day. Remember that within some of the articles, there are multiple activities that you can choose from (or do them all and I’ll give you a digital high-five!).