Fun Teaching Kids About Money

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Readiness is an important principle of all teaching. When teaching kids about money it is important to remember that they cannot learn what they are not ready to learn.

Young children learn primarily through their senses of touch, taste, smell, hearing and sight. Around the age of four or so they can be familiar with the texture and smell of money, and can do things like barter, without really understanding the concept behind what they do. These early experiences are the foundations upon which later learning rests.

Understanding can be fostered by giving a child a purse at the age of about six. She will be delighted, and start playing shopping with her dolls. This may be the start of a lifelong passion. Initially, however, she will enjoy 'make belief' and that in itself is an essential step towards later conceptualization.

Around the age of fourteen, in early adolescence, children are still learning through play, but beginning to think in more abstract terms. At this stage of readiness generations of people have learned to handle money through the board game, 'Monopoly'. It teaches many lessons of buying and selling, of collecting rentals and going bankrupt. In later life players may find themselves looking back on the board game, and relating it to real money matters.

It is now possible to use the Internet and find many money games as good as Monopoly. Some may lack the element of social inter-action which is such a fine feature of the board game, but others may teach specific outcomes more effectively to learners who are ready to learn from them.

During late adolescence and into early adulthood teaching kids about money becomes very important. Now they can generalise and think in abstractions like prudence, budgeting, thrift and responsibility. They are nearly ready to take control of their own money and keen to learn.

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