Financial Literacy Month: Games to Teach Kids How to Count Money

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Financial literacy awareness is so important. Like most things, I believe the earlier you start, the better your chances of success are, especially in terms of education. My daughter may only be four but we’ve already been active in trying to educate her on financial matters. To make it fun though, there are things, like games to teach kids how to count money, which make it more fun and entertaining. She thinks we’re just playing but we’re actually teaching her useful, everyday financial tools.

November, being financial literacy month, is the perfect time for me to talk about various games we’ve used to teach kids how to count money, ones that we’ve had success with. I really do believe that playing these silly games is making a difference in my daughter’s life now and more importantly, in the future, when she’s independent and away from the financial protection of her parents. I want her to avoid some of the mistakes we’ve made and learn from our past.

Games to Teach Kids How to Count Money

There are three different things we do or games we play that help teach our kids how to count money. The first is simple, piggy banks. We currently have two piggy banks on the go. One to save and one to spend (adding a third ‘’to give’’ is also a good idea). My daughter understands that when they get full, she will either be able to spend or save (ie deposit into a bank account) its contents. We give her coins, usually just a few cents at once in various coinage and allow her to decide what goes where. Though she doesn’t quite understand the value of a quarter, she is old enough to understand when we tell her it is worth more than, say, a dime. Once we go through the explanation of denominations, she counts her different coins, dividing them between her piggy banks. How she divides the money really depends on her mood. Sometimes she’s all for saving and other times she has something in mind and decides to put almost all of it in spending. We let her decide.

Another useful game to teach kids how to count money is actually quite fun. For it we use monopoly money and allow her to ‘’buy’’ things. We don’t need to use monopoly money, real cash would work too, but we really are making a game out of it. We’ll give her 10 $1 bills and allow her to buy objects of different values. I will go to the dollar store and pick out a few decent toys/stickers/treats and apply values to them. They will be valued in such a way that she could never afford to buy everything at once teaching her not only to count the bills when ‘’paying’’ but that you can’t necessarily have it all. We’re at the point now though, at 4.5 years we can start to give her real cash and actually buy something from the store itself. I’ll give her $2.00-$3.00 and go into the store explaining what she can and can’t buy with her counting her coins.

One of the best games to teach kids how to count money, in my opinion, is to buy a toy cash register. One was given to us when my daughter was about two and she still loves playing with it. There are toy coins that go into various slots and she’s at the point now of counting the denominations on the coins (1,2 or 3) and adding them in her register. She will usually sell us things, and we have to buy them from her fake store. Most of the time it’s food that she sells, like the grocery store, but the main point is that she is counting the money to give to us and helping us decide if we have enough money to buy what the object is.

There are a ton of games to teach kids how to count money out there. Pinterest has a mecca of ideas but these are a few we keep going back to and seem to be working for us.

How did you come up with creative ways or games to teach kids how to count money? Either your own kids or others close to you?

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  1. Educating our kids on financial topics is SO important, yet SO ignored. 🙁 These are some good tips to get things started off on the right foot.