Clipping coupons, searching out sales, saving before spending – this economic recession has adults evaluating their spending habits and looking for ways to make sure they are economically sound. And, while kids do not necessarily understand all of the ins and outs of making, spending, and saving money, one thing they do know is that they like to imitate their parents and caregivers in their daily tasks. For many people, these tasks involve looking at their finances and finding ways to save money – what a great opportunity for kids to learn through play!
Math games are fun and help kids understand how to add and subtract money, but there are also a number of toys that give kids a deeper understanding of how money works in their daily lives. One of the important first concepts regarding money about which children learn is how to save, and we have many toys to help make children excited about this important lesson! In addition to standard piggy banks or banks that children can decorate, we also feature a high-tech version of the piggy bank, which is a large part of adults’ lives – the ATM.
The Bank AmeriKid ATM from Educational Insights is a real working ATM machine that teaches kids to save their money just like they would at a real bank, which helps to prepare them for the day when they really will have to use a checking and savings account. This Bank AmeriKid ATM is perfect to help teach the concept of saving money, as well as taking out money when it is needed! And, since kids have to go through the step of accessing their money, it will help them realize that they have to evaluate each financial decision, particularly regarding the amount of money they want to save versus the money they want to spend.
In addition to this “high-tech” toy that teaches kids how a bank works and how to manage their own “accounts,” parents can also take time to teach kids about bigger picture financial decisions. While people have to evaluate their own financial needs, they also should take time to evaluate the various charitable contributions they can make. The LearningCents Bank is the perfect bank for kids to help teach children about the concept of sharing their money with those less fortunate.
The LearningCents Bank not only helps kids realize there are multiple ways that they can divide up their money, but it gives them a structured way to do it, while also emphasizing the importance of creating financial goals. And, since this bank includes 3 areas – sections for spending, saving, and giving – it helps kids plan their expenses ahead of time, put the money in the proper place, and learn that they need to follow the savings structure and goals they created.
And, after kids have a solid understanding of these important monetary concepts, parents can transfer this to real life experiences. Not only can kids then open a checking and savings account at a “real” bank, but they can take part in fun spending, saving, and planning exercises based on real life experiences. One of my favorite activities when I was in elementary school was working with a “fake checking account” and planning real life expenses – including a Thanksgiving dinner! I had to evaluate the money I had, pour over coupons and flyers, and try to come up with an economical way to serve this dinner within my budget. Talk about a great learning experience that helps kids understand how parents plan to use their money! This real life experience might even help keep children from constantly asking for different items, knowing that their family is on a budget and needs to spend money on many things and not just the things they want.
In addition to building math skills and helping kids understand currency, these money toys will also serve to introduce children to “bigger picture” financial concepts, fostering an early understanding of a lifelong skill. And hopefully, this early practice and learning will turn them into financially responsible adults when it is time to spend their own money!