Teaching kids positive money habits from a young age can yield lifelong benefits. Kids who learn basic concepts like budgeting and saving are more likely to practice good financial behaviors as adults. They're also more likely to have healthier relationships if there's less stress about money.
Using games to teach kids about money can help make financial discussions fun instead of boring. The best money games for kids cover a variety of financial topics in a way that's easy to understand.
- Teaching kids about money from an early age can help them develop lifelong positive financial habits.
- Money games for kids can take different formats, from board games to online games.
- Finding the right games to use to teach kids about money can depend on your child's age and comprehension level.
- Check online for free games and apps to teach kids about money.
Playing board games can be a fun way to spend a family game night, but the benefits can go beyond entertainment. Research shows that board games help players simplify complex issues and engage in creative thinking. You'll find a wealth of board games for teaching kids about money for different age levels. Let's review a few.
The Allowance Game can introduce the concept of earning money to younger kids. This game is designed for kids as young as 5 who are ready to learn skills like:
- Identifying money values
- Counting money
- Saving money
If you're ready to introduce your kids to the concept of earning an allowance, the Allowance Game offers an overview of the basics. Players race around the board earning money for completing “chores” and then spend money on things they want.
Pay Day is a classic board game that's been around since the 1970s. This game is great for teaching kids about money in a simple playing format. The object is to have the most money at the end of the game. Players will be earning a “monthly salary” that they must use to pay outstanding bills.
The Pay Day game can help kids learn about:
- Making money
- Saving money
- Banking fees
- Loans and interest
This money board game is designed for kids 8 and up and for two to four players.
Monopoly is a staple board game for many households and has different variations that can be suited for kids of almost all ages.
In a classic Monopoly game, players draw cards to move around the board. They land on different properties that they can buy with their fake money, but they could also end up in “jail.” Among the many variations, Monopoly Ultimate Banking Edition focuses more on banking, and Monopoly Junior is an introduction to the basics of real estate investing featuring kid-friendly properties like the zoo or the arcade. With each version, the main money lessons are how to build wealth through investing.
Have kids take turns playing the banker, which requires them to exercise more money skills as they pay other players and collect money from them.
Online games can also offer a wealth of important benefits for kids. Similar to playing board games, online games encourage strategic thinking and creativity. The key is finding online money games for kids that are both educational and fun.
Peter Pig's Money Counter
Counting money is one of the first money skills young kids learn, either in school or at home. Peter Pig's Money Counter is an online game that makes it easy for kids to learn the values of coins and bills and how to count them.
Kids sort coins and count money. Then, after completing the game, they're treated to a virtual shopping spree. This is a super simple way for kids to learn the value of money with a free online activity.
You can also download Peter Pig's Money Counter in the Google Play Store or the App Store. It’s designed for kids aged 5 to 8.
U.S. Mint for Kids
U.S. Mint for Kids features a number of online games designed for teaching kids about money. Most of the games are designed for younger kids who want to learn basics like:
- Identifying coins
- Counting coins
- Making change
The games are from the U.S. Mint, which makes coins for circulation. All of the games are free to play online.
Misadventures in Money Management
Misadventures in Money Management is an interactive money game developed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The game takes the format of a graphic novel in which you choose your own adventure, and it's geared toward middle school and high school students.
The game is free to play online. Players have to navigate through a maze of money decisions and learn about:
- How credit works
- Importance of building savings
- Why impulse purchases can hurt your budget
- How debt can impact a military career
While this game is geared toward military families, anyone can play it to learn about money.
The Uber Game
The Uber Game offers teens and tweens a firsthand look at what it's like to try to make it in the gig economy.
The game is based on real reporting from Uber drivers. Players have to drive in order to make enough money to cover their mortgage payments and other bills. There's an easier level and a harder level, which introduces different challenges that gig workers often face.
This game can teach kids about budgeting, earning money, and making spending decisions.
Programs and Apps
Educational apps and software programs can be another avenue for teaching kids about money. With younger kids, for example, research shows that apps that target math skills and literacy skills can build a stronger cognitive and academic foundation, both of which can help with money management.
Famzoo is a mobile finance app and prepaid debit card for kids and teens. This money app is great for teaching kids responsible financial habits since they can have some direct control over their own money.
Parents set up an account first, then create a second prepaid debit card account for their kids. They can load money to the card, which kids can spend according to the boundaries parents set.
Famzoo offers more educational features than most other prepaid cards for teens. There is a monthly subscription fee but you can get a discount by prepaying.
When choosing a prepaid debit card for kids or teens, be sure to check the fees and parental control options.
Kiddie Kredit is a mobile app game that helps kids learn about credit. Players have a "Kredit" score that goes up or down as they do chores and earn Panda Bucks for them.
The Kredit Academy offers kids a simplified look at ways they can improve credit scores. Parents can customize the tasks kids do to reflect their actual chores.
Kiddie Kredit is available for download in the App Store and Google Play Store.
Animal Crossing might not seem like an obvious choice for teaching kids about money. But it's more than just a game about cute animals.
When kids play Animal Crossing, they can learn about:
- Investing (in the "stalk" market)
- Creative money management
- Supply and demand
Animal Crossing is age-appropriate for kids as young as 3, but teens and tweens may also enjoy playing. It’s available on select Nintendo gaming consoles.
Math Lessons To Teach Kids About Money
If you want to keep teaching kids about money as simple a process as possible, you can try using some simple games at home. Hands-on activities are usually best for encouraging kids to think about how money works.
Using a Money Jar
Setting up a money jar offers kids the chance to see the power of saving visually. All you need is a clean jar and a savings goal.
For example, if you have a younger child you might set a simple goal, like saving $10 for a new toy. Each time they get an allowance, Tooth Fairy money, cash birthday gifts, or holiday gifts they can add some of that money to the jar.
A money jar can also be a simple way to introduce kids to the idea of matching. For every $1 they put in, for example, you could match 50 cents to help them reach their goal faster.
A trip to the grocery store can offer kids a chance to flex their math and money-counting skills. You can make up a shopping list together, then set a dollar amount to spend. As you go through the store, have your kids subtract the amount of each item from your grocery budget.
If you have older kids, you can use grocery shopping as an opportunity to introduce the concept of unit prices. Have kids calculate the unit price for similar items to illustrate how to get the best value.
The Bottom Line
Giving kids a thorough financial education when they're young can benefit them well into adulthood as they earn money, manage credit, and create budgets. Games about money can be one of the best ways to introduce financial concepts and keep kids' attention when teaching financial literacy.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do you teach children money management?
Teaching kids about money management may include using games about money, but it also involves regular discussions about financial concepts. Setting up a simple money jar can give younger kids a hands-on way to track savings. Older kids might benefit from having a prepaid debit card for managing money.
How do you teach kids how to save money?
Teaching kids how to save money starts with setting a savings goal together. From there, you can help kids work out a plan for saving. You can also teach kids about saving by setting a good example with your own finances.
What is a good age for kids to learn about money?
Kids may be developmentally ready to start learning about money as young as age 5. The best age for kids to learn about money is generally when they have money of their own to manage, which may be as young as 3 for some.