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. |

Teach children to save with this money experiment

Are you trying to figure out how the heck others teach children to save (maybe because your own kiddo hasn’t exactly picked up on the notion)?

Maybe there’s a better way to go about it than just pleading with your child each time they receive an allowance or other source of money.

An Experiment I Clearly Remember from 25 Years Ago

In 7th Grade I decided that I wanted to show my farmer family how un-cool Country Music is.

Do I still think Country Music is un-cool? Not at all. But back then you’d be more likely catching me getting up an extra hour early and heading out to the barn than wanting to listen to it. #rebelliousfarmgirl

I needed a tangible way to show that subjecting us kids to country music every car ride was harmful. So I decided that a science experiment was just the thing (especially since it coincided with a requirement in science class).

So I purchased three different plants and raised them in as controlled an environment as a sixth grader can get (the same amount of plant food, the same amount of water, and the same amount of sunlight). What was different was that one of the plants got to listen to Rap music for an hour a day, one got to listen to Country music, and one got radio silence.

Amazingly enough − and I’m still not sure why, but man did I love this outcome − by the end of the experiment the Country music plant was like half the size of the Rap music plant.

Finally: tangible evidence to take to my parents about why they should change their car station to Rap music instead of the Country music they exposed us to.

I’m sure they just loved hearing this.

Even though my parents probably rolled their eyes − I can’t remember their reaction − the point is that I still remember conducting the experiment + the results about 25 years later.

That’s a powerful lesson I learned.

Teach Children to Save as the First Step on the Road to Becoming Money-Growth Oriented

Money Prodigies are money-growth oriented.

They not only seek to grow their money, but they are comfortable with the concept. It’s natural for them to seek out opportunities.

But how do you expect little ones − who by design are short-term thinkers − to give their money time + the proper environment in which to grow?

Just like with my plant experiments, one of the best ways to teach children to save is by having them discover its coolness on their own, in real time.

That’s why I was delighted when I came across this Compound Interest experiment in the CHI Spirit Magazine article (Summer 2016).

Your Kid’s Money Growth Experiment

If you want to teach children to save, then you need to make it a fun discover-able activity with guaranteed results (if they stay the course).

The least risky method available to make money grow − thanks to the FDIC insuring bank accounts up to $250,000 each − is to put it into a savings account with an interest rate.

You and I both know this is not only because the bank is paying you for using your money, but also because of the magic of Compound Interest (or when interest earned on savings starts earning its own interest).

I could include one of those cool tables here (at least I find it cool, but I’m a nerdy numbers person) that shows this concept.


Your little one could experience it right before their very eyes, on their very own money that they get to keep.

Which do you think they’d get more from? (Hint: I think it’s pretty telling that I still remember the very details of that plant experiment some 25 years later. And watching their own money grow? Well that’s monumentally more interesting than watching plants grow).

Here’s Your Child’s Money Growth Experiment

You’ll need a little seed money to start. To find this money you can:

  • Have them use their own
  • Gift them the funds
  • Save any money they receive as gifts (say, around the holidays?) until they have a sizable enough sum to see some results

Looking for some seed money to get this experiment started? Sign up for a CapitalOne360 Savings Account for your child. You can get a 10% return on your money through my referral link ($25 is deposited into your account as long as you use this link to open a regular savings account + deposit $250 to start).

Once you’ve sourced the money (with the low interest rates of today, you’ll need at least around $50, doubled, in order to see this in action; so $100 is recommended), take the following steps:

Step #1: Open up a Savings Account with the highest interest rate you can find. Deposit half of the money into this account.

Step #2: Stash the other half of the money in a clear jar at home. A washed-out jam jar works fine.

Step #3: Let both amounts of money sit for an amount of time. Six months would be best, though your little one might lose their attention span by then. I would say three months at least.

Step #4: Decide how often to let your child check their balances. You can also set a reminder date on your calendar six months out to check everything over. First, have your child count the money in the jar. Then have your child check their savings account balance.

WOAH. The Savings Account money should have grown! But of course the same amount that was put into the jar to begin with will still be there (unless there’s any jam-jar, money fairies out there that I don’t know about).

If you’d like a preview of what your child will see at the end, check out this compound interest calculator. Unfortunately, the shortest duration you can input is 1 year; however, the chart will allow you to estimate the outcome after six months (make sure to check “monthly” for compounding in Step #4, which is what most banks will do).

Teach children to save little bits of money today to prime them for a money-growth mindset that will make a big difference when they’ve got BIG bits of money to play with. Looking for some seed money to get this experiment started? Sign up here for a CapitalOne360 Savings Account for your child with at least $250. You can get a 10% return on your money through my referral link ($25 is deposited into your account as long as you use this link + deposit $250 to start).