Using games to teach kids about money

Teaching children about money can be difficult and stressful. You know it’s important to help your kids understand the value of hard work, saving money and then using money for the things they value—but how do you do it?

My coworker Jon tried The Allowance Game with his family, including his three children, and liked the concepts the game can teach kids.

The Allowance Game has realistic-looking money, giving Jon and Kristen a chance to teach their kids about real money in amounts they can expect in real life. Monopoly is a fun game, but when it comes to learning about using money, $500 in orange bills may not be quite what you’re looking for.

The best part? After the game, Jon and Kristen’s kids said they wanted to play it again! Did your kids ask to hear it again the last time you lectured them about not spending all of their hard-earned allowance on Bubble Yum? Since repetition is an important part of learning, finding a way to learn about money that your children will want to repeat is important.

One drawback they found was that it took too long for younger kids to save $20 and they lost interest—so consider your kids’ ages when you’re looking for games to help you teach your kids about money. You might need to adapt a game or separate your kids by age. Teaching my two-year-old the faces on U.S. coins might be all she can understand right now, but it’s a start.

If you have older kids, what about something like this game Design Mom came up with? She used an imagined monthly income, nine spending categories and threw in a few unexpected costs to help her teens begin to think about making choices when it comes to money. While it’s important to teach children about saving specifically, it’s also critical to help them understand that using money wisely also means spending on the things you value. This game might be a fun exercise in beginning to learn to balance income and expenses, and needs and wants.

What games or apps have you tried for teaching your kids about money?

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