Kids are naturally curious and learn about the world around them through play. So the best way to help them learn how money works is to make it playful, colorful, creative and adventurous!
Try these helpful ideas to get your kids or grandkids interested:
- Set up a savings game with a fun reward. Invite your child to participate in a savings challenge that comes with something they will really look forward to at the end. When they save up $20, for example, you’ll take them to the zoo and they can buy a souvenir. Kids get to practice adding their coins and dollars to a piggy bank or a special money jar and then experience the sense of accomplishment that comes with reaching a goal. Try these printable savings jar wraps* they can color and label to decorate the jar. Kids as young as four or five can enjoy a savings challenge, especially if you share their enthusiasm. (Start with small goals, so the payoff won’t take too long!) And no one is too old to make a game out of saving. It even works for grownups!
- Make a visual chart to track their savings. Kids can get really excited about marking things on a chart. This also helps younger kids learn the values of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies, and how they add up to make dollars. Use poster board or an easel pad to make a large chart with lots of rows. For each day they add money to their savings jar, they get to draw and color code the types of money they added. Dollar bills might be a green rectangle; quarters are a large red circle; and dimes are a smaller yellow circle, for example. Older kids might have fun logging their savings amounts into a personalized notebook or journal.
- Look for everyday examples of “Needs Vs. Wants.” Life brings lots of teachable moments to help kids understand that your family uses most of your money to pay for “needs” and some of your money to pay for “wants.” At the grocery store, have kids help identify which items are needs, like milk and eggs for nutrition, versus wants, like soda and ice cream. And sometimes, something you really want is also a need – like when you really want a cool new pair of shoes, and you’re about to grow out of your old ones. Help kids understand there’s a reason you don’t go spend all your money on wants: you are saving it so you’ll have it when your family needs things in the future. Board games like Buy It RightTM, The Allowance Game®, Pay Day®, and The Game of Life® can also help kids learn about budgeting and life’s unexpected expenses.
- Take a field trip to the bank. Older elementary kids, preteens and teens might enjoy visiting the bank to open their very own savings account. Our associates are happy to meet with you and your child and introduce our Cool Blue Savings account for kids!1 You can also open a Cool Blue account by phone: (866) 952-9523. Or take a virtual trip to the bank by scheduling a video call with an Arvest banker.
Need money tips for teens? Read how to set your teen up for financial success.
For more games and resources to teach kids money skills, visit these sites:
ABA Foundation – Youth & Money*
1$50 initial deposit required to open an account.