Financial Literacy for Kids Games & Websites
10 Educational Games and Lessons to Help Kids Learn about Money
These 10 games and interactive lessons will help your kids and teens learn about money and improve critical skills in financial literacy, a topic most school do not emphasize in the classroom. Managing money - making, saving, investing, spending wisely, and donating it - is a skill you can teach your kids at an early age and encourage through their teen years.. These free websites offer games and role playing lessons to make learning money management easier and fun.
Do your children receive an allowance? My daughter does. She started receiving one when she was 7. Before that, I dreaded our shopping trips. Her constant chorus of, " Mommmyyyyy, pleeeeze buy me this ______ "(candy, toy, dress), had its usual exasperating effect.
Now with an allowance that includes a savings, charity and clothing budget, my daughter is free to make these decisions. And she gets better at it every day. She's learning invaluable lessons in financial literacy. And a weight has lifted from my shoulders as her money management responsibilities have shifted to her.
Many of these educational websites have helped guide me and my daughter. I hope they will help you and your children, too, with the five important aspects of money and finances:
$ Earning money and allowances
$ Saving and investing money
$ Sharing money (charitable giving)
$ Spending money
Image courtesy of Timeout Kids
How to Teach Your Kids About Money
Strength: Videos on allowance, money management
Narrated by Janet Bodner of Kiplinger Magazine , this first site is actually for YOU. Bodner has advice on how you can help teach your kids key principles of money and finance. How to Teach Your Kids About Money is a series of 23 short videos, in which Janet Bodner talks to you about how to help your kids learn how money works and how to handle it responsibly.
She answers questions such as
- Should allowance be tied to chores?
- What is the right amount of allowance? and
- How much should my children contribute to savings?
Bodner, a parent of three, has been writing about kids and money for more than 15 years. She's been on several TV shows, writes columns for Kiplinger and AOL, and... Her book, , elaborates on the themes in the videos. Both the videos and the book provide lots of common sense advise that helps you demystify money and finances for your kids. Many public libraries carry the book. Raising Money-Smart Kids
The Banking Kids Page
Strength: Educational interactives to help kids learn to use banking tools
Children can practice their banks skills and learn about budgeting on The Banking Kids Page. Designed by DGM Graphics, Inc., The Banking Kids Page has sections for Preschool, Elementary and Teens.
Interactives in the Elementary section show kids how fill out deposit slips and how to deposit checks and cash. Another interactive explains key financial planning terms, including budgeting, goals, interest, financial security, income, savings account, and deposits. Kids can watch how their savings account balance grows as they deposit a weekly allowance and it earns interest.
Interactives in the Teens section shows kids how to use an ATM, how to properly fill out a check, and how to balance a checkbook and reconcile it with the monthly bank statement.
There are also several money-themed crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, coloring and matching games for younger children to play. The section for parents explains each of the activities in more detail.
Rich Kid Smart Kid
Strength: Role-playing games for money making, saving and charitable giving
To help your kids learn about the basics of business, making a profit, assets and charitable giving, go to Rich Kid Smart Kid. Using cartoons to instruct, the Rich Dad Organization has put together interactive learning tools with age-appropriate lesson for kids from kindergarten through 12th grade.
On Big Cheese Island, children learn how to make a profit from a small business when Jesse starts an ice cream stand. Reno uses games to help kids understand working for money, borrowing money, and paying debts back with interest. Kids help Ima achieve her dream of charitable giving by earning and investmenting money, and donating a portion of it. And kids help Jesse make a big change from working to earn money from his ice cream stand to investing money in assets that will make money for him with less work. Older children learn how to calculate return on investment (ROI) in this activity. All of these lessons has different learning activities for your child, depending on their grade - K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12.
For teachers, there are downloadable lesson plans that accompany each activity.
Money Game for Classroom or Home School
My kids enjoy this fast-moving money game so it's great for the classroom. They earn money by landing on earning squares for things like chores or a lemonade stand, bank withdrawals, and money exchanges. The game compels kids to think critically. For instance, they might need to provide 60 cents in change without using any dimes.
The game is a great gift for an early elementary school teacher.
Banking on Our Future
Strength: Financial education for kids of all ages
Operation HOPE is helping 5 million kids to understand that education and learning the language of money are two of the keys to success in life on their Banking on Our Future website.
Free registration is required to use the site. There are in-depth lessons for kids on banking, checking and savings accounts, ATM use, credit, budgeting, shopping, insurance, investing and preventing ID theft. Separate lesson tracks are geared to elementary, middle and high school students. The elementary and middle school tracks contain interactive lessons with cartoon figures. The high school and adult track consists of video lessons with periodic questions for review.
Operation HOPE has received numerous federal public grants to further its work in financial literacy. It has been recognized by national, state and local leaders and media for its work.
Sense & Dollars
Strength: Financial literacy role-playing for teens
Maryland Public Television offers a website targeted to the teen audience. Sense & Dollars, is all about earning and spending money -- sensibly.
Budgets, credit cards, interest rates are all explored in interactive games. Buy a pair of sneakers on your credit card, plug in what you can afford to pay each month, then see how much those sneakers actually cost when you finally finish paying for them.
Earn a paycheck and budget your expenses and savings so you don't go broke each month.
Plan for your dream prom. Budget for tickets, clothing, accessories, dinner and transportation.
Learn if you have what it takes to own your own business, or how much you'll make flipping burgers.
NEFE High School Financial Planning Program
Strength: Financial Literacy Curriculum for teens
NEFE's award-winning free program is designed for classroom use. The seven-unit student and teacher guide was designed by the National Endowment for Financial Education to give teenagers practical skills and practice to:
- Create a financial plan
- Create a budget
- Develop a personal savings and investment plan
- Create strategies for managing credit and handling debt
- Demonstrate how to use financial services
- Create a personal insurance plan
- Explore the impact of their career and lifestyle on their financial plan
The planning isn't limited to your teens. The program calls for parent involvement, as well as classroom visits by financial planners.
If you are a teacher or parent who would like to start the program at your local school, you can order an information kit
Strength: Authoritative IRS rules on tax withholding and payments for teens
An essential part of money management, particularly for teens, is budgeting for and paying taxes. Understanding Taxes is the IRS site designed for kids.
In comprehensive - and, at times, excruciatingly boring - IRS fashion, the federal government offers 38 lesson to students. They explain why we pay taxes and how we pay taxes. What I have found to be the most helpful and useful feature are the simulations that provide instructions for what to do in 20 different taxpayer scenarios.
There's a lot of info here that is helpful to adults as well as students.
Strength: Money lesson plans for teachers and homeschooling parents and financial guides for parents
EconEdLink is for teachers and parents. It's my go-to site for lesson plans on money and economics. Compiled by the Council of Economic Education, it has more than 600 lessons for children at all grade levels.
The lesson database is searchable by grade level and standards. Another useful resource is the Current Events section, with economic stories in the news, and lessons that relate to them.
How's your financial literacy? - Click on the image below to take the FINRA Financial Literacy Quiz
The FINRA Investor Education Foundation conducts periodic studies of the financial IQ of American adults. Take the short - 5 question - financial literacy quiz to see how you rate. The national average is 2.8.
How did your score compare to the national average?
These Kids Mean Busines$ - PBS movie on kids starting their own businesses
Kids + Money - by Lauren Greenfield
Teens in Los Angeles - rich, poor and in between - discuss money: getting it, spending it and learning to live without it. KIDS + MONEY is an original short film by award-winning filmmaker and photographer Lauren Greenfield.