Start the Conversation
The following games and lessons provide guidance, plans and activities for parents interested in introducing their young children to early personal finance concepts.
Children in grades three through six are capable of managing small amounts of money. They can divide their money into several categories, including “spend,” “save,” and “give.”
Peter Pigs Money Counter
Learning about money is fun with Peter Pig. In this interactive game, kids practice identifying, counting and saving money while learning fun facts about U.S. currency. After completing the game, players are rewarded with a trip to the virtual store to buy accessories within budget and dress up Peter Pig in fun scenes. Ages 5-8, also available for Android/Apple devices.
Use the suggested scenarios and play off your children’s imagination while weaving in different situations based on your role. Help your child go on a pretend shopping trip, visit a bank, open a new store, or even invent a new country with new types of money. Through pretend play and everyday activities, young children can develop thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors that will lay the foundation for their later financial well-being. Ages 3+.
Financial Literacy Lessons for Pre-school, Pre-K,
Kindergarten, First and Second Grade
The following lessons provide guidance, lesson plans and activities for teachers interested in introducing four to seven year old children (pre-school, pre-k, first and second grade) to early financial literacy concepts.
Financial Literacy Lessons for Grades 3 - 6
The following lesson plans are designed for elementary school children in the following grades: third grade, fourth grade, fifth grade and sixth grade.
Financial Literacy Tips for Ages 3 - 6
Don’t underestimate them – at 3, your kids can grasp basic financial concepts, and by age 7, they have already formed money habits, according to a Cambridge University study. Start with the basics, including the idea that you work to earn money in order to pay for what you want and need – and help your kids understand the difference.
Other money milestones mapped out by the experts at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau include the ability to focus and persist through tasks. Saving for retirement takes large amounts of patience and self-control, so we might as well start teaching them early.
Recognizing tradeoffs is another important early milestone. Try thinking aloud when you’re grocery shopping about the amount of money you’re exchanging for a product, or have them help you compare the unit price of similar goods. Whether a trade involves money, treats or time, discuss with your child how every decision has consequences.
Around age 5, it’s important to give kids some cash to manage. A regular allowance allows them to start thinking in terms of financial tradeoffs, and you can offer them a three-part piggy bank (save, spend and share) so they begin to understand the different functions of money.
By age 6, your child should be able to focus on completing small chores to earn money and understand the value of different coins and bills well enough to sort and count them.
Financial Literacy Tips for Ages 7-12
As your child grows, help them develop values such as empathy and gratitude. Knowing that some families live in poverty and need assistance is part of financial literacy. Using a site like Dollar Street that shows photos of different families around the world living on a variety of incomes can help. So can letting your child have a say in where the family’s charitable dollars will go.
It’s also a good idea to pass down family stories to the next generation – how your parents pitched in to help you build your business, your first big purchase, or how spending habits helped you weather the ups and downs of life. These tales can help them understand their place in the world and develop perspective on what has value in life.
These years are also a good time to have your child open a bank account, which can help them claim the identity as a “saver” and associate positive emotions with it. You should also help them track what they are earning in interest. “There’s nothing like receiving an interest payment (even if it is a few cents) in your name for the first time,” Asheesh Advani, CEO of Junior Achievement Worldwide, told Inc. magazine.
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
- Benjamin Franklin