How to Teach Your Kids About Money While Making it Fun

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This article is sponsored by Capitol Federal® Savings Bank

To this day, I can remember my mom’s response to every request I made as a young child for a cheap toy or piece of candy while standing in line at the grocery store – “Yes, but you’ll have to use your allowance.”

It only took me two or three times to realize my mom wasn’t going to budge and the choice was mine. And I learned very quickly how to make money decisions. 

Now with children of my own, my husband and I both place a significant amount of importance on instilling money sense, the value of the dollar, and learning from “money mistakes” while young.

Below are some of the ways we have tried to teach money sense with our daughters beginning at a young age!

How to Teach Kids About Money 

Talk About Money 

We have always talked about money in front of our kids – how much things cost, why we work hard (to make money), why it’s important to share our money (to help others), how we save for things whether they are small (like a new pair of shoes) or big (like a family vacation). Get your kids involved in the money conversation simply by talking to them, starting when they are itty bitty.

Show Them the Money (Three Jar Method) 

Kids need simple tangible examples to learn, and my husband
and I learned this the hard way by creating too complex of a system. A couple of years ago, we had this idea to give each of our girls envelopes labeled Saving, Investing, Giving. The idea was ok in theory, but things just got too complicated as we tried to show them the concept of compound interest with the “investing” envelope. Instead, I love this idea of creating 3 jars (that are clear so kids can see the money!) labeled Saving, Giving, Spending. More details here.

Make Believe Play

Young children learn best through the magic of playing. There are so many great toys for toddlers and preschoolers – like this piggy bank or these cash registers, or simply play money. Give your kiddos the task of opening a store or restaurant and watch their imagination come to life.

Give Them Jobs to Earn

Though chores are something that is an expectation in our home, we do allow our girls to earn money through special household jobs. The reason for this is to teach them the concept of earning money, which helps them make decisions on how they want to spend it. For example, my five year old backpedaled when she asked for a new toy doll and I told her she needed to spend $40 of her own money. We talked about how that took her 4 weeks of work (specifically putting laundry away and picking up dog poo). And instead, she decided it was worth it to her to spend half of that on $20 princess shoes. She plays with those shoes more than anything else – because she earned those shoes.

Read About Money

We are big fans of teaching through children’s books. Below are some of our favorites:

What’s in the Piggy Bank (Ages 4-7)
*comes with play money!And there is this great follow up Piggy Bank Quiz online. 

Quarter From the Tooth Fairy (Ages 4-8)

Once Upon a Dime (Ages 6-9)

Usborne Money Wipe Clean (Ages 3+)

The Kids’ Money Book (Ages 8-12)

How to Turn $100 Into $1,000,000 (Ages 10-14) *My seven year old loves this one!

Play Games That Teach Bartering & Money Concepts

This is my family’s favorite way to learn…without realizing they are learning. We love a good game night! The following are great games to instill money sense at an early age:

Monopoly Jr. (Ages 5+)

Game of Life Jr. (Ages 5+) 

Settlers of Catan Jr. (Ages 6-9) *But my five year old loves this game as it teaches basics of bartering strategies. 

Open a Savings Account 

My husband and I plan to open a Blue Bucks Kids’ savings account this summer because what better way to teach the concept of saving than to actually open a savings account and show our kids how money grows. The great thing about accounts tailored to kids is they receive extras just for them – like an activity welcome packet and quarterly newsletters. You can learn more about Capitol Federal’s Kids’ accounts here

*I was so excited to see my first grader’s response to this math assignment from several months ago. It goes to show she is learning, just like I did at a young age, to save her money:

How do you teach your kids basic money concepts?


About Capitol Federal®

For more than 125 years, Capitol Federal® has remained steadfast in its corporate philosophy of Safety in Savings, Sound Lending Policies, Quality Customer Service, and Commitment to Community.

Capitol Federal is a leader in residential lending in Kansas and Missouri and boasts more than $9 billion in assets. In addition to single-family residential lending, the Bank offers commercial and small business loans, business banking services, along with personal accounts, including checking, savings, money market, IRA and certificates of deposit, as well as trust services.  With 54 locations, the Bank’s network extends throughout Kansas and into Missouri.

Member FDIC, Equal Housing Lender.  www.capfed.com