9 Financial Education Activities for Kids (aged 3 to 12)
What you will find in this article:
- The piggy bank
- “Homemade” Money
- Keep / Throw / Give
- The three jars – 50/30/20
- Draw your goals
- Shopping AZ
- The Lemonade stand
- Paying bills
- The first bank account
Are you looking for financial education activities for kids? If you want to learn how to put the financial theory into practice, you came to the right place. Keep reading to learn about nine examples of financial education activities for different age categories (3-6 , 6-9 and 9-12).
How do financial education activities help kids?
No matter how aware you are (as an adult) about the importance of financial education for your kids, they don’t know very much about its significance. You didn’t either, at their age. Imagine how you felt whenever you “had to” study for any subject.
Financial education activities are, therefore, a great way to put the theory into practice in a fun way. You’ll see that the activities we show you, especially in the first two age categories, are almost like playing. Kids love playing.
In recent years, the benefits of learning through play have been intensively studied. The LEGO Foundation proved that this type of learning through play develops skills such as critical thinking, involvement, collaboration, and creativity.
Financial education activities for 3-6 year olds
Are you thinking that maybe it is too early to start talking to kids about money? Don’t worry! Research says that you should start talking to kids about money whenever they are old enough to understand that they shouldn’t be putting it into their mouth.
At this age the learning activities aren’t complicated at all, they are more like games around information and knowledge that is essential for their future financial wellbeing. Start with: money – what is it, how do we make it and what do we use it for- and what are the three basic things that you can do with money – spend it, save it or donate it.
1: The piggy bank
Try to craft piggy banks together with your kids out of mason jars, bottles, coffee cups, cans, felt, boxes. These piggy banks can have different shapes and themes (you may add some stickers with the cartoon characters that the kids like).
If you want to adopt a more traditional style, you can reinterpret the classic piggy bank in the shape of a pink piglet. You can build it from plasticine or play-doh and you can paint it with whatever pink paint you have available.
After you build the piggy bank, use it to teach kids about saving. If you want to build some cool piggy banks get some inspiration from this article.
2: “Homemade” Money
At this age, kids should learn about the types of money used in the country they live in. Show them different types of bills and coins from your wallet and teach them how they all have different values.
Let’s be serious, there’s no way that kids aged 3-6 will find this any fun, right?
Therefore, we encourage kids to create their own money. This will help them understand the specifics of money (the faces on different currencies, numbers, where the sum is located and so on) and to associate them with their actual value.
After you have played with money and created new coins and bills it’s time to make the connection between them and the real world. You’ll be surprised to see how easy it is for them to remember now.
Teach kids aged 3-6 that they can do three things with their money: They can spend it, save it or give it away.
Practice first with things around the house, anything that doesn’t involve money.
This could be a good activity to start with:
At the end of every month (or once every few months) make an inventory of their toys or clothes. In this way you can check cleaning and teaching altogether.
a. You will “trick” kids into cleaning their room
b. You teach them to donate what they don’t need anymore, throw trash or broken things and keep the things they need
Financial education activities for kids aged 6-9
At this age, the activities are meant to teach kids the following lessons – recurring income, budgeting and saving, shopping, and long term and short term goals.
If you want your children to practice the above lessons and also solve some fun quests download Investory – the financial education video game for kids.
4: The three jars – 50/30/20
This financial education activity is meant to teach kids about the 50/30/20 budgeting rule, which says that out of all the recurring income, 50% must be spent for needs, 30% for wishes and 20% for savings.
For a 6-year-old it is pretty hard to spend money in such a controlled way, especially when they don’t even know about the difference between wants and needs or about the importance of saving.
The activity consists of building three different jars with the following tags on them – Needs, Wants and Savings. Depending on the way in which the kids get their recurring income, help them divide it in these three jars.
5: Draw your goals
Another concept kids must know at this age is the difference between setting short-term and long-term goals. This is a great exercise for them to practice.
Every time the little ones talk about something they want, in the category of wishes, have them draw it, whether it’s a vacation or a new toy.
Take the drawings and put them on the fridge, so the next time they get their recurring income, remind them about the savings jar and make them look at what they have drawn. In this way, kids will visualize the purpose of their savings and they’ll understand the importance of them.
6: Shopping A-Z
Shopping is a complex process, even for an adult. Therefore, kids aged 6 to 9 need to learn how to shop properly. At this age, other than the shopping itself, you need to talk about similar concepts – comparative shopping and the opportunity cost.
The next time you go shopping, take the kids through the WHOLE process. From the very beginning – make an inventory of what things you need to buy, make the shopping list, go shopping, choose the products and so on. Even if for you this might feel like a burden, for the kids it might be really fun!
If you don’t have time to take the little ones shopping with you, they can learn about shopping from Martha’s shop. Download Investory and they’ll be able to go shopping for fruit seeds, lemonade supplies, boats, flashlights and a lot of other things a junior detective needs during a quest.
Financial education activities for 9-12 year olds
At this age, you are already dealing with grown kids, so the lessons should take it up a notch. They need to be doing activities that teach them about: financial responsibility, bank account management, jobs to earn an income or peer pressure.
7: Lemonade stand
You have definitely seen kids building a stand and selling lemonade, around the neighbourhood. This is a great financial education activity for every kid aged 9 to 12.
The lemonade stand is more than the place where kids squeeze some lemons. It is a real business – they have to build the stand, get tools to prepare lemonade with, get the ingredients, to make the lemonade, to store it, sell it and so on.
If the kids can’t build a lemonade stand outside, you can simulate this inside the house, with the help of the Investory game, which you can download for Android or iOS.
8: Paying bills
This activity is nothing but, well, paying all the bills in the household. It’s a good opportunity for the little ones to learn about the responsibilities of a house, the different types of utilities you pay for, but also how they can be paid for – online or over the counter.
9: First bank account
The same as the previous financial education activity, this is also a serious one which can be turned into something fun for the kids.
How can you turn creating your kid’s first bank account into something fun? Well, turn the research into some kind of competition, create milestones and goals and use treats for each completed point (e.g. find 5 banks in your city, find 3 benefits for each bank, find 2 minuses for each bank).
The kids can also learn about opening a bank account from Investory, where they sign fictional bank contracts, they open savings accounts, they get an ATM card and they learn how to use the atm machine with the PIN number by depositing and withdrawing cash.
Now that you’ve seen what financial lessons children need to learn based on their age, let’s make a little summary for the activities that help them practice:
Financial education activities for children aged 3-6:
- The Piggy Bank
- “Homemade” Money
Financial education activities for children aged 6-9:
- The 3 jars – 50/30/20
- Draw your goals
- Shopping A-Z
Financial education activities for kids aged 9-12:
- Lemonade stand
- Paying bills
- First bank account