I have been working on a fun little
project lately that deals with teaching money values to students. Any grown individual can relate to the fact that money makes the world go round and the importance of knowing your money inside and out. Money management cannot be achieved until money is understood in its most basic forms. As always, everything I do comes back to the value (pun intended) it has to myself and my family. As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I have a five year old daughter who is learning about life and all that goes with it.
Within the last six months or so, we began explaining money values to our little girl. We began with the penny and moved up from there to the nickel, dime, and quarter. We then introduced the dollar. I think it has helped her that she already knows how to tell time and that there are sixty seconds in a minute and sixty minutes in an hour (thus she understands that within one thing is another). I used actual dollars and coins in the beginning and then we found a few fun money apps. I also sing the “penny song” with her and play money bingo (which I’m not sure if I made up or not…I got the idea of money bingo from seeing a picture online, but didn’t bother to read the instructions and came up with my own method to play). So, I’m not the first parent to play the game with her child, nor am I taking credit for being brilliant at inventing games. This is how we play: I made bingo cards that have pictures of different coins and a one dollar bill as the “free space.” I have a huge change jar and randomly draw coins out and she has to then place the coin on her playing card (if she has that coin available). Whoever gets five across, diagonally, or vertically, first-wins. After she got good at that game, I made new boards with the actual value in the place of pictures of the coins. We played the same way, only she had to figure out what the value of each coin was. This was a fun way for her to practice her money values! I try to incorporate learning into many aspects of our everyday lives.
Each summer we enjoy heading to farmers markets to purchase fresh produce. This year I began giving my daughter a five or ten dollar bill when we arrive (what ever I have laying around in my wallet in cash). I let her spend the money on whatever she wants at the market that day, but the catch is that she has to handle everything on her own (of course I’m there supervising and helping along the way). Her first purchase is always easy (all she has to do is hand over the ten dollar bill), but the second and third (if she gets that far) are where she has to really start to think. She gets to handle the exchange, count her money and make sure she is given the correct amount of change. This has been an excellent source of education for our entire family. My daughter sees why learning about money is so important and it also gives her a sense of pride when she gets to come home with a bag full of yummy goodies to show her dad!