Making a Pretend Credit Card for Kids
Play shopping is one of the most popular types of pretend play for toddlers and preschoolers, and young kids can be very picky about how they play. In order to do it right, your kids will want to do it the same way you do. If you use a credit card, they will want one, too.
Here's how to make pretend credit cards with your kids that they can use for all their play shopping needs.
How to Make a Pretend Credit Card
You will need:
- thin, light-colored cardboard (You can use cardboard from a shoebox for a sturdy credit card for a younger child, or a file folder for an older child.)
- fine-tipped markers or colored pencils
First, cut out several credit-card-sized shapes. Your youngster may want more than one, or he may try several times until he hits on a design he likes. You'll want at least one for you to design, as well.
Show your child your credit cards, so he sees the elements of a real credit card and the different styles and colors that real credit cards use. Don't forget to show the signature on the back.
Next, get started designing. Adjust your expectations to the age of your child. A two-year-old will be proud of her colorful scribbles (probably more on the table than the credit card!), while a kindergartner may be able to write his name and a series of numbers, as well as color the background neatly.
The whole project won't take more than fifteen minutes, and your child will have plenty of fodder for pretend play shopping.
Set Up a Play Store
Once your children have their play credit cards in hand, it's time to set up a store. Let them choose whatever they want to buy or sell. My kids usually play bookstore now, because we have hundreds of children's books in our house, but when they were younger they often played grocery store with fake food.
More uses for a play credit card:
- Play restaurant, and give the waitress the credit card to pay for the meal.
- Use the pretend credit card to pay for entrance to a private club. (My daughter tricked my son once into paying to enter her room, although she made him use real money! We had a little talk about that stunt.)
- Pretend your living room is a furniture store, and let your child pay for his preferred spot on the couch for a day.
We have had this durable cash register for more than five years, and it still looks and works like new. Includes a credit card slot!
The other key item children love to use for a store, besides a credit card, is a noisy cash register. The more beeps and rattles the better, it seems. If you have a toy cash register that you can actually run their new credit cards through, well then, all is right with the world! Don't forget to use play money as well as their new credit cards. Learning to identify the value of different bills and coins is an important skill for young children.
Teach Your Kids About Finance
Of course, I don't mean you should sit your four-year-old down and explain all the intricacies of a market economy! However, preschoolers aren't too young to learn a few facts about money.
- You use money to pay for the things you need and the things you want.
- You and your spouse have to work to get money, and so will they when they get older.
- Credit cards are not free money. You still have to pay for the items you buy (and sometimes they end up costing more).
If your kids are interested, give them an old check register and a couple of voided checks so they can play at paying off their pretend credit card bills, too. It's never too early to learn about using credit responsibly!