When it comes to kids and learning, two rules generally apply. The first is that kids have to learn in a way that is fun—by staying engaged and interested, kids become more likely to remember the learning experience. The second is that you have to pay attention to learning styles and cognitive level. When kids are young, they usually like to have a hands-on approach to learning.
What does this have to do with money, you ask? Researchers are releasing survey after survey that show that most kids don’t know a lot of money basics, and that parents aren’t taking the time to talk to kids about money the way they should. Although some schools are driving initiatives that provide money-related courses, kids usually need money skills before finance enters the curriculum. Crafts are an easy, fun, hands-on way to be your child’s best money teacher.
- Crayons or markers
- Copies of family photos (preferably wallet or 4X6 size)
- Additional decorations (e.g., stickers, fuzzy balls, etc.), optional
- Have your child cut rectangular pieces out of the paper.
- Help your kid out the faces in the family photos in a circular or oval shape.
- Work together to glue one face to the center of each paper piece.
- Decorate each piece of “money” to show its value and your own personality.
Kids sometimes see adults or older siblings as “bigger,” so you might want to assign photos for these family members to higher denominations to help your kids understand that higher denominations are worth more.
Print out lots of copies of the photos for the lower denominations because your child will need more of them.
To keep printing expenses down, print your photos from your family from your home printer using grayscale. Alternately, you can have your child cut out pictures from old magazines, but the family pictures are nice because they add a more personal touch to the project—kids like seeing their own face on things!
Coffee Can Bank
- Metal coffee can
- Construction paper
- Markers or crayons
- Additional decorations (e.g., fuzzy balls, stickers, etc.), optional
- Help your child cut out a rectangular slot in the top of the coffee can lid.
- Work with your child to cut construction paper to fit the coffee can and glue it around the can.
- Decorate the can as desired.
The point of this project is to introduce saving concepts. If money is tight or your child is still very young, it’s fine to use play money in the new bank for a while, but be consistent in monitoring your child’s saving progress and setting specific savings goals.
- Large poster board or art project paper
- Play paper money
- Markers or crayons
- Glue one $100 bill to the poster board or paper near the top center. Draw two lines down from the bottom of the bill, one to the left and one to the right (as in a triangle), at roughly 45 degree angles.
- Glue one $50 bill under each line you drew in step one. Draw lines down as in step one from the bottom of each $50 bill to continue breaking down the “money tree” to smaller denominations. You can either go to two $20 bills and one $10 or use 5 $10 bills here. The 5 $10 bills option sometimes is easier for younger kids to grasp because you don’t have to combine denominations to total $50, but the down side here is you have to skip using the $20.
- Hang the money tree in a place your child will see it. Refer to the tree any time you want your child to practice making change.
By attaching your paper money together with string instead of putting it on a poster board, you can turn this project into a mobile with a simple hanger. A great time to use this project would be around Christmas.