Children often see adults exchange coins and bills when they buy things. As children grow and start to make choices, they learn that people, things, and money have value. This forms the foundation for understanding the importance of spending, sharing, earning and saving.
How to handle money and begin to make financial decisions are important life skills that can be taught as soon as children can count, along with the difference between a “want” and a “need.”
For school-age children
Identify and understand the differences between the appearances and values of coins.
Understand how much money is needed to purchase an item and how to count change.
Understand that money lost will not be replaced.
Understand that things cost money.
Understand that working or getting an allowance are ways to earn money.
Activities/strategies for guiding children as they learn about earning, spending & saving money:
Let’s Go Shopping
Set up a pretend grocery store where children can shop, with play food, empty food containers with prices, play money, and toy cash register. Children can shop for healthy breakfast or lunch items.
Going to the Bank
Set up a pretend bank. Children can earn play money for chores or activities, open savings accounts, write checks, use debit cards, and take turns with different job roles such as customer, teller, and security guard. A field trip to the local bank can spark interest, questions, and ideas for play.
Let’s Go Out to Eat
Set up a pretend restaurant where children can make and use menus with food items and prices listed. Children can take turns being the customer, wait staff, and other job roles.
Set up a clear jar for money donations from the children – brainstorm how they can make money (sell items they made, earn money from chores, or hold some event such as a bake sale). Discuss what goal they have for the money – a trip, a donation to an animal shelter, some special item – and how much they need or would like to save.
Getting a Job
Set up jobs and show that different jobs pay different amounts of money.
Other fun money activities:
Fill a jar with pennies and challenge children to estimate the amount; then count to check.
Research the people whose pictures are found on paper money and coins.
Discuss the cost and quality of name brand items versus store brand items.
Discuss choices children have when they don’t have enough money to purchase something they wanted to buy.
Stay safe and be well,
Cowlitz Community Network 360-442-7089 | 360-430-2991
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