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So - you want to teach your Kids Economics?

Updated on March 27, 2015

Fun and Easy Ways to Teach your Kids Economics

I am sure every parent will agree that their children need to learn the basics of economics. Our kids will grow up to be the leaders of our cities, counties and country - and if they don't have a firm grasp of economics, we will all suffer. But economics sounds like such a boring subject, and perhaps you know little about it yourself. So, how can you teach your kids economics and make it fun at the same time?

1. Use the news!

Economics happens all the time. A company downsizes and a friend loses their job. Talk to your kids about it. Explain why a company might need to downsize, and the effects it has. Explain why prices are going up and why some things are relatively more expensive than others. Use ordinary English to explain, and they will understand.

2. Read

Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments (An Uncle Eric Book)
Whatever Happened to Penny Candy? A Fast, Clear, and Fun Explanation of the Economics You Need For Success in Your Career, Business, and Investments (An Uncle Eric Book)

This is a brilliant book which gives simple clear explanations of basic economics. Students as young as 5th grade will understand it - and high schoolers will also profit from it.

 
Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics
Economics in One Lesson: The Shortest and Surest Way to Understand Basic Economics

This is high school level and beyond and is well-known as an excellent book on the subject. It isn't long and I would suggest that you read it with your students / children and discuss as you go along.

 
The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance
The Invisible Heart: An Economic Romance

Yes, this really is a novel about economics. Both my son and daughter read this in high school when they studied economics - and both enjoyed it. It is not heavy on the 'romance', but manages to weave a lot of economics into a good story.

 

Duck Tales Inflation Lesson

Gather your kids round you and watch this one together - it is superb! You may enjoy it enough to watch it a few times!


3. Watch movies

Many movies have elements of economics in them. You can find a long list on www.moviesforecon.com but many are only appropriate for teens, or are not appropriate at all, so I am just selecting ones you can watch with the whole family to highlight. It's a Wonderful Life and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory are two that come to mind that fit the category.

4. Play Board Games

Playing board games with economic themes is a great way to reinforce concepts with students. They won't even think about how much they are learning because these games are a lot of fun. While playing students get to use economic terms - and understand their meaning. And because they are "using" the terms and not just learning them by rote from a stuffy text book, they are more likely to remember them and make them part of their vocabulary.

Made for Trade
Made for Trade

This is set in colonial times. Bailout and Puerto Rice are two other board games that have economic principles as part of the game play.

 

5. Let them 'play' the Stockmarket

The Stockmarket is a great tool to teach your kids about economics. And you can do it without spending a cent of your money. How the Market Works is a free website that allows you to invest a 'pretend' $10 000 in the Stock Market and see how well your investments would do. You can open accounts for all members of the family and turn it into a mini contest over a defined number of weeks.

And if your children enjoy this, find a few more kids their age and register them for the Stock Market game. Read more about it at Contests for Students

Any other good ideas to share? Were these ideas helpful?

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      TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Some good ideas. They don't teach much about economics in grade school.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      I found out it is best to use kids' natural curiosity. When they ask a question, I try to provide clear and honest answer. a lot of people don't want to talk about money with their kids, but they are missing great opportunity. Thanks for your ideas:)

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      justinulrich 6 years ago

      Nice article. I had an Austrian Economics professor that told us he used a funny approach with his 12 year-old son. He called it the "Bank of Dad." He would let his son "deposit" money, and give him a high interest rate of about 8% a month. This way he could actually see his money grow, with out getting burt out for the wait. If his son forgot or didnt have the money for something, he would also lend money at a high rate, to show just how detrimental getting into debt can be. Pretty cool lesson, I thought.

    • MerylV profile image
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      Meryl van der Merwe 6 years ago from USA

      @anonymous: Thanks - I am going to order both those - they look great!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great article. Thanks! I love both Penny Candy and The Invisible Heart. You might also want to list An Island Called Liberty by Joseph Specht and the Striker Jones economics book by Maggie Larche. They're both great resources.

    • lasertek lm profile image

      lasertek lm 6 years ago

      Very informative and great looking lens. Awesome job!

      If you have time maybe you can visit our lens: Homeschooling 101: Guide to Free Curriculum and Other Resources.

    • MerylV profile image
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      Meryl van der Merwe 7 years ago from USA

      @joanhall: Great idea. Kids remember what they are taught if it is related to real life and isn't just a bunch of theories. Playing the Stock Market Game has often given my students 'aha' moments as they see a stock price rise or plummet because of something that happens in the world eg Hurricane Katrina

    • joanhall profile image

      Joan Hall 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Great lens!

      One of the things I do with my kids is talk about the economic implications of things we do in our daily activities. The question we discussed the other day was "How does it benefit GameStop when they give you this discount card?"

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I think teaching kids economics is very important as this is a lack in our own education. Good that you highlighted it here.