Don’t Miss This ChanceI volunteer in my daughter’s second grade classroom, and I am blown away that so many kids in her class struggle with basic money concepts, even after having spent two months learning about money (something that I thought they already learned in kindergarten and then in the first grade). Here is a conversation with one of these students:
- Me, “You need to buy an orange that costs 37 cents. What coins will you need?”
- A student, “Umm… I need that silver big one, and then… um… 2 small ones.. pennies, yes. I am done!”
Use Preschoolers’ Natural InterestThinking back to all the questions our daughter was asking about money when she was younger, I am convinced that every kid wants to understand what money is and how it works. Unfortunately, credit and debit cards are not helping matters – many people, ourselves included, barely use cash any longer. But here are a few suggestions to help children understand money better and come to school more prepared.
Tips for Teaching Kids About Money
1. Let kids play with real money – sort them, examine each coin and be there naming coins and giving some frame of reference, for example, that we need 25 pennies to buy a piece of candy from a vending machine, or we can use one quarter, which is the same amount of money.
2. Let your children see you pay with cash at the store and explain what is happening.
3. Give them a small allowance or allow them to earn money for specific chores, so they can start first counting coins and eventually count their own money.
4. Play shop often – my daughter still loves these games. Start with prices in number of coins, but I was often mentioning real prices and what kind of coins or bills we would need to buy these items in a real store.
5. Clean coins – most kids love this popular experiment. Keep talking about coins and their values.
6. Read books about money – I recommend Lots and Lots of Coins for age 4+
7. Most importantly – do not consider money to be a taboo object – something young children shouldn’t know about. I am not recommending telling them how much you earn or how much your house costs unless you want the whole neighborhood to know these “trivia facts”, but I think we are doing a disservice to our children making money a mystery to them. It really doesn’t pay to wait until school starts – then money lessons become just one more topic to learn in the subject that some of them already consider boring or difficult.
Resources on Money and Measurements
- Measuring Your Hands from Little Bins for Little Hands
- Read a Thermometer from Kids Activities Blog
- Measure Me from Afterschool for Smarty Pants
- Capacity Scarecrows from Love2Learn2Day
- Teach Your Preschooler Money from Afterschool for Smarty Pants
- Alice In Wonderland Watch from Almost Unschoolers
- Learning to Tell Time from Afterschool for Smarty Pants
- Learning Coin Values from Nurturing Learning