Money Lessons: Teaching Kids Through Games & Apps

July 1, 2014

If your kids are like mine, they just think you can go to the store and buy whatever you want because money comes from this magical place called your wallet. Teaching kids about money has gone beyond the weekly allowance and the piggy bank on the shelf.

These days, our children have taken control of our computers, smart phones, and tablets. Fortunately someone was paying attention and different sites have popped up with programs, games, and learning tools for our tech-savvy kids. Mixing those with some old school tools can get your little ones on the right path to being successful with money. Here are a few worth checking out.

Kasasa/PiggyBot
Besides basic education and assistance for parents, Kasasa has a slew of online games to teach your kids about saving, budgeting, and spending. The site is simple and easy to navigate, especially for a child. The PiggyBot app can be used on your phone or tablet and acts as a virtual piggy bank, teaching your kids how to save, spend, and share. No more worrying about if you have cash to pay them allowance -- now you can keep track of it all on your phone.

One of my favorite features is that you can give your kids can create their own passcode so they can check their “account” on their own and see what they have. It gives them control and gets them on the right track for being responsible.

Rich Kid Smart Kid
Rich Kid Smart Kid offers games for kids to learn how to manage money. They also have a “grown up” page to help parents and teachers work with children in money management by giving some direction outside of the online games they provide. Kids can navigate through the games easily on the main page and the grown-ups can ask questions to enhance the learning.

H.I.P. Pocket Change
The U.S. Mint has created a site that is a bit more extensive than the ones above. While this one does have games and cartoons to teach children about money, it also has educational pages about coins, history, and collecting. It’s easy to navigate so your child can look around and learn on their own. This site also has a page for educators to include finance in their curriculum.

Sesame Street
This website not only teaches your kids about money, it helps you learn how to talk to them about money. There is a parent/caregiver page as well as an educator page for those who want finance education in the classroom. By using characters that your child already knows and loves, Sesame Street helps the process with videos, games, and crafts.

Dinorama App
This app shows your kids how to build a dinosaur park by explaining the business side of things. It helps them add things such as photo booths to make more money to buy food and more animals for the park. This has the added bonus of showing just how much these outings can cost in real life.

Kids Money App
Apple has a free app for the iPhone that teaches kids about planning and saving for what they want. They create a list of things they want and by typing in how much they get weekly for allowance or gifts, it tells them how long they need to save before making the purchase. I love this app  because they learn that they have to wait for things, squelching those store arguments in the process.

Money Savvy Piggy Bank
The idea behind the Money Savvy Piggy Bank is that a regular piggy bank doesn’t teach your kid about dividing the money they have earned. They put coins or bills in one slot and save until they want to spend it. This see-thru piggy bank is divided into four categories: save, spend, invest, and donate. It teaches kids that you do more with money than just go out and spend it immediately. The donating option can coincide with activities like helping out at shelters and such. Teaching them to not only give their money but their time will teach them a life-long lesson of giving.