“No money? Let’s go to the ATM”. Kids don’t think money grows on trees, but they do think that it sprouts out of ATM machines. Kids know money can get the things they want pretty early. As parents and grandparents, we like to indulge children. However, children need to understand that this ‘thing’ that they use extensively must be understood better and therefore, used with greater awareness. This learning can start when they are very young. There are many wonderful picture books and chapter books that you can read to them to help understand money better.
In Bunny Money, Ruby bunny saves money to buy her grandmother a gift – a music box with two dancing ballerinas.
She sets out with Max her brother to shop for the gift. A lemonade, vampire teeth, dirty clothes that need to be cleaned see the money going out of the wallet. Ruby realises the gift is far more expensive that what she thought it might be. The shopkeeper suggests a cheaper alternative. Max buys the vampire teeth for grandma. They run out of money and grandma has to pick them. She is delighted with her gifts and insists on travelling with her vampire teeth on.
The book explains how things and services need to be bought with money. Money runs out and money can buy someone’s happiness. An altogether fun and educative book about money.
Alexander Who Was Rich Last Sunday is the tale of every child with good intentions and little will power. Alexander is the recipient of a gift of money. Alexander hopes to save it for a walkie talkie.
His good intentions unravel pretty quickly and he finds himself squandering the money on gum, renting a snake and paying up for bad behaviour.
At the end of the book, Alexander finds himself penniless and no hope of getting a walkie talkie, thanks to his poor saving habit. This book will make you laugh and the young reader ponder about what she spends on.
The Everything Kids’ Money Book: Earn It, Save It, and Watch It Grow! by Brette McWhorter Sember explains how kids can save online, saving, stocks and financial software.
The book discusses how children can watch their savings grow by putting it in a bank or invest it in a small business. Online banking, opening a bank account, and saving allowance are explained in this comprehensive guide to money for kids.
Choosing where to spend money is an education in itself. The first step, therefore, is to categorise our requirements as needs and wants. “I need this glitter pen”, or ” I need this toy” are common refrain parents hear.
Children can understand the difference between needs and wants in this lovely picture book by Lisa Bullard ‘Lily Learns About Needs And Wants‘.
Worksheets are available for Science, History and Math. How about some practice on how to balance a checkbook, read a stock table and understand common financial terms.
The concept of money, simple and compound interest are the other concepts visited in the book. The Young Investor is an excellent book by Katherine R. Batemen. This ‘how to’ book can be used effectively by children who want to know more about how and how to grow it will enjoy.
Saruni is saving for a bike. He doesn’t just put his allowance aside. He works alongside his mother, helping her as she sells her wares in the weekly market. He hopes the cycle will help ease his mother’s load. But first he must save. My Rows And Piles of Coins by Tololwa. M.Mollel and illustrated by E.B.Lewis is the story of the power of money in everyday life.
Kwabena Dorko started with one hen, but pretty soon his poultry farm was the biggest in Ghana. One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Differencetraces the story of Dorko through the character of Kojo.
One Hen: How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway is Kojo’s story. After his father’s death, Kojo helps his mother collect and sell firewood. His mother gives him a small loan, with which he buys a hen. One becomes twenty-five.
Kojo rejoins school with his earnings. One Hen traces the business acumen and smart decisions Kojo makes to save his family and himself. A powerful story that no one is too small to change their lives with smart business choices.
Crime and Economics come together in the wonderful Striker Jones: Elementary Economics for Elementary Detectives by Maggie.M.Larche. Striker Jones our boy genius solves mysteries, one economic concept at a time.
Incentives, risk, supply and demand, and trade-offs all come to play in this Mamie Eisenhower Library Project recommended book.
These books can be good starting points to discuss money frankly. The use, budgeting/rationing, growing and saving of it. Children can get involved in purchase decisions based on budgets. It is important that children understand that money is a commodity that can be used wisely and not a symbol to be associated with power or control.
Good teaching moments can be before allowances, big purchases for children when the iron is hot!
I’d like to close with the Wall Street Journal’s poster of The Jumpstart Coalition For Financial Literacy standards in Financial Literacy for children.