Raising young kids with a thorough understanding of financial literacy is extremely important to ensure proper money management skills later in life.
From budgeting to planning, from earning to saving and responsibly managing credit and debt to learning how to invest are essential life skills, and each individual must master them. It is not enough to understand the value of a dollar, teaching children about fiscal responsibility helps prepare them for life in the real world. Money management is a vital life skill.
Unfortunately, many students enter into adulthood without entirely understanding how to manage their finances properly.
Before we proceed to top online financial literacy resources for kids, let us understand these essential financial terms.
It is the ability to understand and effectively use various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. Financial literacy is the foundation of your relationship with money, and it is a lifelong journey of learning. The earlier you start, the better off you will be because education is the key to success when it comes to money.
Money management refers to the processes of budgeting, saving, investing, spending, or otherwise overseeing the capital usage of an individual or group. The term can also refer more narrowly to investment management and portfolio management.
Here are some of the best online resources for kids to help them learn about money and investment.
The United States Mint has a fantastic website dedicated to kids called H.I.P. Pocket Change. The website comprises helpful tips and games to teach children about the uses and the history of many. Using H.I.P. Pocket Change, kids get access to a wealth of information about how coins are manufactured, current U.S. coins, coin collecting as a hobby, and the mint itself. Other than these, the game that can help children the most with real-world money skills is ‘Counting with Coins’ that teaches how to identify different coins and their values, add prices, and perform basic math tasks. As kids complete challenges, they earn badges and collect supplies for cartoon characters going on a camping trip.
The website comprises various games, like Hoop and Darts, Gold Rush and Map Mania, and teaches U.S. history or geography. Most of the games are narrated by a synthesized voice to help younger kids understand. However, older kids can turn it off and read the instructions instead.
Using Practical Money Skills Play, younger kids can easily learn about money. This tool has a subsection of the financial literacy site Practical Money Skills featuring games that teach various money skills. Kids in the age group 3 to 6 can have fun with Cash Puzzler that cuts an image of a $1, $5, $10, $20, or $100 bill into small squares, and the solver needs to put it back together. Once the puzzle is solved, kids can read fun facts about the president featured on the bill. For children aged 5 to 8, Peter Pig’s money counter teaches how to identify coins and add their values.
Children earn virtual money to play, which they can choose to save or spend on accessories for Peter Pig in the virtual shop.
This Visa-sponsored game, Financial Football, uses a football to make multiple-choice money quizzes entertaining.
The players answer questions about personal financial skills to move down the field and try to score. It includes budgeting, saving, establishing good credit, identity theft, and avoiding debt. The built-in game has several levels of difficulty: Rookie for ages 11 to 14, All-Pro for ages 14 to 18, and Hall of Fame for 18 and up. Kids can play on their own or go head-to-head with another player. They can also set the length of the game from five to 30 minutes.
Saving spree is an exceptionally designed game for kids ages seven and up to learn how to save money for a specific goal. It is presented as a game show hosted by a talking cartoon pig. The game plays out as a series of mini-games, such as matching or a maze. Each one gives players the chance to win or lose money with their decisions. Their score at the end is their “nest egg.”
Savings Spree also shows that daily lifestyle choices can affect long-term savings. Furthermore, it teaches how unforeseen expenditures can derail your savings plans and the importance of having an emergency fund. The Savings Spree app costs $5.99, but it can provide kids with hours of entertainment along with some helpful knowledge.
Sponsored by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, You Are Here teaches kids to be smarter consumers. Suitable for 5th to 8th graders, the website features an imaginary shopping mall populated by colourful cartoon teens. An animated version requires Flash software to use and an HTML-only version with just text.
On You Are Here, kids visit different areas of the virtual mall, helping them learn about various financial topics.
The West Terrace of the mall teaches kids about advertising techniques by designing a poster ad, play a matching game to learn about target marketing; Gr8 Gadgets helps understand how T.V. ads can be misleading, and also check out the Nutritional Emporium to learn about suspicious health claims.
The east terrace section of the mall teaches kids about scams, bogus modelling offers fraudulent health products etc., and tips for spotting scams at Kablamo Comics.
The other section, the food court, highlights the business ideas. They learn about the competition by visiting three competing pizzerias, watch a documentary about monopolies at the movie theatre, explore the concept of supply and demand at the Candytooth Kingdom, and protest a proposed merger at the Tripple Cold Creamery.
Lastly, the security plaza explains how to reduce your identity theft risk, while network security discusses online privacy protection. Then kids can head to the arcade to learn what information is most important to protect and the book cafe to learn safety on social media.
The Biz Kids is the companion site to the “Biz Kids” T.V. show site that celebrates young entrepreneurs. The show profiles young entrepreneurs and explores credit and debt, budgeting, taxes, saving, careers, financial markets, and the economy.
The website features:
- Clips from the show
- Games about resource allocation, such as running a lemonade stand or buying piggy banks to attack rival pigs
- Resources for starting a business, such as a sample business plan and tips on marketing, bookkeeping, and making the sale
- Resources for adults, including a blog called Money Talk with tips for parents on talking to kids about money and a treasure hunt activity to run at school.
On Biz Kids, most contents are available for free, but you can pay for extras like full episodes of the show, copies of the book “How to Turn $100 Into $1,000,000,” or an online financial literacy course based on the book. Middle school and high school teachers can also access companion lesson plans for each episode of the show.
Con’ Em If You Can is a game about financial scams suitable for middle and high school students. FINRA Investor Education Foundation introduced it. In this game, players take on the role of a novice scammer working in Shady Acres. They learn the trade tricks from the master con artist, aptly named Conner, and build an arsenal of shady tricks to manipulate their marks.
While playing, they learn vital lessons about spotting a scam and recognizing such tricks as making extravagant promises, faking expert credentials, and creating a false sense of scarcity. By getting inside a scammer’s head, they become better able to recognize cons when they meet them in real life. It also features educational videos on the art of the con and a quiz on fraud techniques.
The JumpStart’s Reality Check, a financial quiz for teens, is one of the JumpStart Coalition for Personal Financial Literacy tools, a nonprofit promoting financial education for kids. The quiz comprises multiple-choice questions about what lifestyle the teen players imagine after graduating from high school or college. For instance, where they plan to live, what type of transportation they plan to use, and how much student loan debt they expect to have.
After submitting the answers, they get the reality-check part. The website also estimates how much the student’s chosen lifestyle would cost and gives examples of jobs that pay the salary they would need to finance it. It also outlines what level of education they are likely to need to get these sorts of jobs. This preview of the future helps steer youngsters toward realistic choices about their future career path. Based on the answers they get, they might decide they need to stay in school longer, choose a different career, or scale down their expectations about their future lifestyle.
Bankaroo is a virtual bank account, especially designed for kids to track their allowance money. Any child with basic reading skills can use it.
Using this platform, kids can keep track of their earnings and spending. They can view past and upcoming transactions and even make transfers to other kids in the family. They can also set savings goals, monitor progress toward them, and earn digital badges for achieving them. Bankaroo offers extra features for parents. Besides using their kids’ Bankaroo accounts to pay them for chores, they can choose to encourage saving by adding interest to their kids’ savings accounts or matching the money they set aside in savings. Since Bankaroo is not tied to a real bank account, kids need to seek permission from a parent or guardian to withdraw their earnings. They are not literally in control of their own money.
The basic Bankaroo app is free for iOS, Android, and Kindle. There is also a Web-based Bankaroo Online that works with any Internet-connected device. Its free version includes an online portal for teachers and a mobile app for students.
However, to access Bankaroo Plus app comprising three separate accounts: checking for daily spending, savings for long-term goals, and a charity account for donations, parents will have to pay a certain amount. There is also a special Bankaroo for Schools app for the classroom.
To understand money management, it is essential to understand the vocabulary used to describe finances and financial terms. The financial literacy vocabulary lessons have PDF lesson plans that help introduce “fancy” words often used in discussing finances into your child’s vocabulary. Spend, Save, Invest, or Donate.
Intended for kids in 3rd-5th graders, the spend, save, invest or donate lesson plan introduces kids to basic financial terms. Philanthropy wants, opportunity cost, needs as well as scarcity are all covered in the lesson. Even, provides an opportunity to learn a handy song to help them remember the new terms. Parents, too, can adapt the lessons to help their children learn at their own pace. For sure, the app will give a fantastic foundation to start their financial literacy journey.
As the name suggests, Fun Brain is a fantastic gaming platform for kids. It has all sorts of engaging games for kids to explore a variety of topics. In the Math Zone, the games teach kids all about different math-related lessons. On the other hand, the Change Maker game teach younger kids counting. Children see the virtual piggy bank’s correct answers added to the piggy bank, while the incorrect responses see that change subtracted. It has four difficulty levels:
- amounts under $1
- amounts under $5
- amounts under $100
- Superbrain level utilizing much more significant amounts
Introduction to saving and spending is a PDF lesson plan to teach young kids about the importance of saving money. Letting kids know the value of saving money and creating simple savings plans can create a long-term impact on their financial literacy. It is free to download PDF, and though it is geared toward a traditional classroom setting, it can be translated into an at-home activity with your child.
Sesame Workshop has many Sesame Street characters, often liked by kids, teach them about financial empowerment; after all, financial literacy is a critical life skill. With Sesame’s “Dream, Save, Do” initiative, children can learn how to plan for their financial futures. Also, the characters Elmo, Grover, and others teach kids how to differentiate between wants and needs, save up money, and budget.
Money Confident Kids is a step-by-step educational program designed to help children develop financial confidence. Lessons cover a range of topics, beginning with goal setting and ending with diversification. All lessons are available online and offline; it includes various exercises as well.
The Stock Market Game is an online simulation designed to involve students in grades 4 to 12. It explores global capital markets, economics, investment and personal finance. Players will manage a $100,000 portfolio, exchange shares and learn the basics of investing.
iAllowance is among the best platform to have one place to keep track of your kids’ benefits, chores and rewards. You can set targets and tasks within the application. Children, too, can look at their progress and see how much money they have saved. The app allows an unlimited number of children in the account, tracking multiple benefits and finances simultaneously.
A Yen to Trade Curriculum is excellent at introducing children to the basics of trading and how people of different countries trade. This downloadable PDF curriculum teaches middle school students foundational economic concepts like economic wants and needs, scarcity resources, goods and services, opportunity costs, tariffs, and more. The resource features ten lessons total in the curriculum that parents can teach as a whole or individually.
Scholastic, a one-stop solution, lets you teach your child basic financial literacy concepts in a fun and exciting way. The lesson plans provided are laid out for parents or teachers. There are multitudes of materials that can be printed to help your student along. The lessons follow Common Core Key Standards to help your kids learn how to set and meet short and long term financial goals.
Having enough money to buy what you want is one of the first real scenarios your child will face during his or her journey to financial literacy. Iowa State University’s Allowance game teaches children how their decisions will affect their financial well-being using beans to demonstrate how to manage their income, save properly, and spend responsibly.
Have you tried any? Share your experience with us in the comments.