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Helping our kids to learn about money is probably one of the most valuable things we can teach them. Budgeting, saving, money management etc, are all things that are vital to life as an adult, but something that can often be overlooked when it comes to teaching children.
There are lots of good ways to teach kids about money, but one simple way is through playing games.
Before our kids ever even open their first bank account, games can serve as their first foray into the world of money and finances.
Board games, digital games and even apps can all help children gain a basic understanding of earning, saving, and spending.
As well as being fun, these games can be interactive lessons. They can teach kids about the value of patience – like saving up for a much-wanted toy, or about the joy of budgeting pocket money to buy multiple smaller items. When kids grasp these concepts early on, they’re better equipped to make informed financial decisions as they grow up.
This can all start by learning through games that teach these values in a fun and engaging way.
6 ways games can help shape a child’s understanding of finances
1. Basic financial concepts
It’s important kids to gain a foundational understanding and board games are a great introduction. Monopoly is a perfect example—it’s not just about accumulating wealth; it’s a lesson in property investment, taxes, and understanding assets. Similarly, board games like The Game of Life take players through life’s financial milestones, introducing them to ideas like loans, insurance, and salaries.
But we’re in a digital age now, so kids are often as much on screens as playing board games, so online games like Grocery cashier are a fun way for kids to play and help them learn basic concepts of adding and subtracting.
2. Budgeting made fun
In the digital world, games like SimCity or allow kids to manage resources. Whether it’s allocating funds to build a city or determining how to use in-game currency to expand a farm, these games introduce budgeting in a fun and interactive manner. Kingdom Wars is an online game inspired by monopoly that involves managing resources to save and spend.
3. Patience is a virtue
In console games like Animal Crossing, children learn to save their in-game currency for bigger and better items, mirroring real-life saving habits. This kind of games can help kids learn the virtue of delayed gratification—waiting and saving for something they really want.
4. Interactive financial lessons
Games like Cashflow 101 or apps specifically tailored for children, like PiggyBot, teach about income, expenses, and the importance of balancing the two.
These tools make financial learning hands-on and engaging, to help the lessons stick.
5. Risk and reward
Games like Wall Street Survivor, are aimed at a slightly older audience but simulate stock market dynamics. While the actual buying and selling of stocks might be a bit complex for kids, the basic principle of assessing risks versus potential gains can be a valuable lesson.
6. Strategy and forward thinking
Even strategy games like Age of Empires, which might not directly deal with money, teach resource allocation and planning ahead, skills that are vital in the world of finance.
The early bird gets the financial worm
Starting financial education early gives children a long term advantage. Rather than reaching adulthood and struggling with looking after their finances, they already have a good understanding of how to manage their money. Introducing these concepts in a playful and stress-free environment helps to set our kids up for future success.
Games, whether physical board games or digital adventures, are more than just simple entertainment for our kids. They can be part of the first step in a journey towards financial literacy, making sure children are equipped with the knowledge and skills to navigate the financial challenges of the future.
So, the next time your child begs to get the Monopoly out again, remember: it’s not just play; it’s preparation for the real world.