Give your preschool children these money skills now

Dollar-coin-stackIsn’t it fun watching a young child clutching a handful of money in the check out aisle?  While adults find it charming to watch a child spend money, we may not realize that developing money skills for children can start long before the first day of school. All that required is a pocketful of cash and some parent-child time together.

Money decisions for young kids are generally simple. “Do I have enough money to buy this?” It doesn’t really matter if the child is using pennies or dollars, the determining factor is the number that the money represents. “Is this number the same as or bigger than the price?”

Here’s where parents can help the child understand that a number can represent how much money he has. Parents can use a variety of money activities to teach these concepts. Kids love to play games; playing games with money is even more fun.

In my book, The No-Cash Allowance, there is a variety of simple money activities to play with  kids in the preschool and elementary school years. All of these give kids a visual and tactile experience with physical cash and cash substitutes, while helping them understand that money is a number. For these activities you will need a supply of coins of different denominations.

  • Shopkeeper
  • Here’s the Cash
  • Take a Check?
  • Please Charge It
  • Got to Get Some Cash
  • Use My Debit Card
  • The Money Pie Game
  • Pennies, Pennies, Pennies
  • Mix It Up

As you child learns more about money there are activities to teach the nuts and bolts of money in number form. These can be started with preschoolers; older children can use the activities as a review of their understanding of cash.

  • Penny Exchange
  • What’s My Name?
  • The Line Up
  • Ways to Slice a Dollar
  • Change It Up
  • The Great Exchange
  • Write It Out
  • The Best Cashier Ever

Another way to help kids learn is through show and tell as it relates to the world of money. Parents start by showing money in the form of cash and doing the activities in my book. As your child learns about cash you tell how money works by explaining what you are doing when you use cash and cash substitutes (check, debit card, credit card, electronic fund transfer).

With all these activities you are setting the groundwork for your kids to understand how money works. This is the foundation for understanding the numbers behind the money, an essential skill as our society increases its use of cashless transactions.

Lynne Finch helps parents teach their kids about money from piggy banks to online banking. “It’s time to teach the kids how to manage money they can’t see or touch,” says the author of The No-Cash Allowance. Follow Lynne’s common sense approach for teaching children that money is a number with kids as young as pre-school through high school.

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