The 8 Best Board Games for Teaching Kids About Money
Learn the importance of money and have fun doing it
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We have all been at the cashier counter at least once where the computer glitches and the fear is evident in the clerk's eyes because counting change back seems like an impossible task. Learning money skills at a young age is vital for lifelong math skills. Board games make learning about money fun, but it is essential to pick the right match for the age. Purchasing a game too easy for your kids can be boring, and if they are too hard, it is not fun.
Most people think of Monopoly and The Game of Life as the best board games for teaching money. While they are both top rated games, there are a lot more options available than you might think. Let's take a more in-depth look, beyond the themed monopoly games, at other great board games that teach kids about money.
Best for Math Skills: Buy It Right
Buy It Right is a popular game among teachers and homeschool students. It utilizes lots of different math skills, including addition, subtraction, multiplication, division and decimals. An adult does need to be present to ensure the math is done correctly. The toy money looks very realistic and the game includes a calculator. Kids set their prices and buy and sell items making their way around the board. It is intended for 4th through 6th graders but can be tailored to make it easier for younger children. Getting hands-on experience with coins, paper money and using a calculator will benefit kids both in school and in life.
Best Classic Game: Pay Day
Are you looking for a classic game that is not Monopoly or The Game of Life? Pay Day was created back in 1975 and is here to take you back to your childhood. The best part is that it only takes 15 minutes to play a round (a stark contrast to Monopoly's seemingly endless gameplay). Players will earn a paycheck, pay outstanding bills and have the opportunity to make deals on property. It is hard for kids to grasp the concept of a paycheck and bills now with everything being electronic, so this game really helps to offset that. There are a few windfall opportunities along the way to help pay for all of the expenses. Windfalls are exciting, but they do make the game much easier to win. Payday is perfect for ages eight and up and requires two to four players.
Best Game for Teens: Thrive Time for Teens
Teaching teens about money can be tricky. Thrive Time takes the player all through the different stages of life. From being a student with a part-time job to investing and starting a business, they will learn about accumulating debt or being patient and paying with cash. Thrive Times is the teen version of Rich Dad Poor Dad's Cashflow; however, they are not made by the same company. It comes with 120 playing cards and play cash. It also includes a balance sheet that helps keep track of your income and expenses. Teens will learn about the importance of passive income. It is a great game to get you thinking about money and different strategies on how to make it.
Best for Teaching Debt Freedom: Act Your Wage
Dave Ramsey is a celebrity in the finance world. He is best known for his debt snowball plan. He has created a board game to help teach money principles called Act Your Wage. The game includes Ramsey's seven baby steps to debt freedom. At the beginning of the game, you will draw a life card and three debit cards. You will roll a dice to move around the board. Using the baby steps, you will navigate through paying off debt. It is a great conversation piece and helps demonstrate money strategies that can be applied to real life. Act Your Wage is an excellent game for beginners ages 10 and up. No prior knowledge of Dave Ramsey is needed to have fun learning about money.
Best for Learning Stocks: The Stock Exchange Game
Take a different approach to learn about money with The Stock Exchange Game. Money does not always mean cash in your hand. Build a stock portfolio with this fast-paced, family-friendly game. Buy and sell stock and make mergers and acquisitions to learn about economics and how the stock market works. It is fun and exciting to be in charge of a hostile takeover or make an advance deal. Stock concepts can seem complicated, but the game keeps it simple with no stock experience necessary to play the game. The instructions are easy to follow and are best suited for ages 10 and up. Race around the board selecting high-risk stocks early on then go with safer stocks as you get closer to retirement. The person with the most money at retirement wins the game.
Best Coin Counting: Money Bags
Money Bags has a fantastic game board with a huge dollar sign as the spaces and lots of mechanical looking cartoon graphics (think handy helpers from Mickey Mouse Club House). Players will learn coin identification fast with this simple and fun game. Lots of counting and exchanging of money are involved in Money Bags. Kids love the lifelike money, which includes both coins and dollar bills. Spin the wheel to find out what coin you have to avoid. It is recommended for ages 7, and up but with little help kids, 5 and up would enjoy playing.
Best for Ages Five and Up: The Allowance Game
The earlier you can teach money confidence to kids the better. The Allowance Game is great for children as young as five. After a few game plays, kids will become familiar with counting money and saving it, too. The board is full of different chores to earn cash, so expect the kids to get lots of ideas about doing work around the house. Winning is entirely up to chance based on the roll of the dice. Games can be won in 15 to 30 minutes even though it does have a monopoly feel to it. The Allowance Game teaches more than money. It also teaches social skills and has spaces on the board like paying a library fine or for a broken window. Younger kids will get a kick out of this game whereas the older kids might not find it as enjoyable.
Best Card Game: Exact Change
Even though this is a card game and not a board game it makes the cut as a great money teacher. Developing math skills and building math confidence with money is easy after playing exact change. It is a simple card game with numbers and change on the cards. To win you want to get rid of all of your cards. Then you get the other player's hand and put the money in your bank. Once you get to $2, you win. Discard cards by matching the amount of the card on the pile, the color of the card on the pile or by adding the money of your cards together to match the card on the pile. Exact change is easy to learn and great for ages seven and up.