Children and Money

Fun Money Activities for Kids Ages 3-18

Fun Money Activities for Kids This Summer | www.TheHeavyPurse.comIt’s hard to believe but soon school will be out with kids ready to spend afternoons at the pool or park or hanging out with friends. Thoughts of reading, writing and arithmetic will be replaced with concocting various ways to have fun (or create mischief) instead. Of course, I’ve never believed that fun and learning cannot coexist peacefully together. In fact, my kids embrace money lessons when they are fun and I imagine it is the same in your home. With that in mind, I’m going to share some fun, age-appropriate money activities for your kids to enjoy over summer vacation.

Plan for Money Activities

One complaint I regularly hear from parents is they that struggle to find the time for money lessons and don’t know what to teach them. I understand as we all have very busy lives these days. However, helping your kids build a healthy relationship with money is just as important as teaching kids how to read, write, tie their shoes and say please and thank you. While it does take some planning and effort on your part, it needs to be a priority because the end-result of happy, financially confident kids is worth it.

Sometimes opportunities to talk to your kids about money just fall into your lap, like when Taylor wanted to join me during a shopping trip, and other times you need to plan in advance. To help you start these conversations and lessons, I’ve put together some activities for you.

Money Activities for Ages 3-6

I believe kids as early as 3 years old begin noticing how parents handle money and start forming their own money beliefs and habits based upon what they observe. It’s critical to start with some basic money activities at this age before they develop any money bias to help them build a healthy relationship with money.

Set Family Goals

In the 3-6 age group, I recommend introducing them to money through family save, spend and share goals and the idea that money needs a purpose. Experiencing goal success firsthand will help create excitement for when it is time for them to set their own personal goals (I recommend setting individual goals for children ages 6 and above). We set save, spend and share goals by asking ourselves these 3 questions:

  1. What will you save for? This is a generally a bigger item — something that excites the whole family, such as a vacation.
  2. What will you spend your money on right now? This is generally something you can do as a family more frequently — weekly, monthly, quarterly.
  3. Who will you share your money with? This can difficult for young children to understand, so I recommend starting with something tangible first, such as donating supplies to a local animal shelter. It’s been my experience once children feel the joy of sharing firsthand, they become huge fans of giving.

Be sure you regularly talk about your goals and progress to keep kids engaged and excited. Another bonus of setting family goals is that they also give you the best answer when your kids get the “I wants”.

Money Activities for Ages 6-9

At this age, you can become a bit more tactical as kids really begin embracing money lessons. Why? Because at this age, they also begin to understand the power money wields, so teach them how to use it wisely.

Run a Lemonade Stand

This is a personal favorite in our home. In fact, I wrote a children’s book about it! The girls love selling lemonade as way to earn extra money to support their save, spend and share goals. And we do treat it like a business. We calculate the cost of their business expenses (supplies and food costs) and they pay me first, just as any real business must do, before they divvy up their profit.

The Grocery Store Game

Grocery stores offer many wonderful teachable moments. Invite your kids into the kitchen with you to help plan your weekly meals. Explain how meal planning can minimize waste and help you spend less. Give your kids your weekly grocery budget and have them look for coupons to increase savings. Set aside the saved money and do something fun with it at the end of the month. Now they understand how budgeting, meal planning and comparison shopping can free up more money to do other things.

Money Activities for Ages 9-13

My girls now fall into this group and they particularly love to taking more ownership of their money. I love how confident they are becoming about their money decisions.

Host a Garage Sale

Kids can turn into mini hoarders and struggle to let go of items they no longer use. However, once they learn they can earn cold, hard cash for selling items they don’t use, they become less attached to those things pretty quickly. A couple of ideas:

  1. Have your kids help you price items, display them attractively, make signs and project earnings. Explain how doing these things can improve sales, which teaches them valuable lessons and decreases complaining. The profits from the garage sale will be used to fund something the family will enjoy together.
  2. Do the same as above but track items sold, meaning kids will be paid their share of the profits based on the items they sold. Make sure they allocate earnings to their save, spend and share goals.

Bonus Tip: Have your kids sell bottled water or lemonade and snacks like homemade cupcakes, cookies or brownies. Don’t forget to have them pay you first for the supplies.

Other Ideas:

Money Activities for Ages 14-18

Some kids in the age-group will be able to get part-time jobs and be sure that you still have them set goals and allocate earnings. They may choose to put more money towards their spend jar, but you still want them to maintain the habit (and mindset) of sharing and saving their money too. For kids too young to get part-time jobs or prefer to be their own boss, here are a few ideas for them.

Tutor Other Kids in Activities They Excel In

If your children are extremely good at a sport, musical instrument or school subject, have them tutor or coach younger kids, individually or in small groups. You would be surprised by how big of an audience there is for these types of tutors and coaches. Parents are willing to pay generously, especially if your child is known within your community or school for excelling in a specific skill set.

Work with your kids to create a business plan, including the types of services and/or classes they will offer. Determine any costs they might have and need to be considered as they set their prices. Help them figure out how to target kids by creating a marketing plan and work with coaches and teachers to promote your services and identify kids who may benefit from your coaching.

Other Ideas:

Summer Fun and Money Lessons Do Go Together

Kids deserve some time to recharge their batteries, but these are easy and fun ways to incorporate some good money lessons in between afternoons at the beach or playing video games. If your kids are like mine, they will soon start looking for more ways to earn money so they can do more fun things.

Shannon

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Comments

  1. Monday, May 4th, 2015
    Setting family goals is a big one for me! I think you can determine your future through setting goals, and doing it together as a family is unifying and creates a "team" aspect. It also teaches kids about money in a positive way.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      It really does, Natalie. Working towards a common goals really unites us and makes it easier for the girls to understand the choices we make.
  2. Monday, May 4th, 2015
    These are all great ideas Shannon! We're enjoying being able to do more with our oldest, she's 7, since she's getting to be of the age and understand a little more about how money works. Like you said, it does take some planning but there can be a lot of opportunities to be had if you simply look for them. We do a lot of the family goal setting as well - they can be a great way to work together towards a goal and work in the needs/wants differences.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      You're oldest is really at fun age because they start to truly grasp the lessons. There are so many opportunities to talk about money if you just look for them. People put almost too much pressure on themselves and they don't need to be difficult or fancy conversations. Family goals to me are always the best way to start the dialogue because kids like fun!
  3. Monday, May 4th, 2015
    I loved having a lemonade stand as a kid, although I'm sure we probably inadvertently poisoned everyone in the neighborhood with too much sugar. lol! I also think it's a great idea that around 13 or 14 kids need to get some kind of part time job. I wish I had been more "forced" into that as a kid. Then had a lesson on how much money really comes out of a paycheck.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      The girls love their lemonade stand and it's such a good learning opportunity for them. Part-time jobs, whether formal or not, really give kids a chance to take more ownership for their money and understand those pesky things like taxes and so on.
  4. Monday, May 4th, 2015
    I also loved having a lemonade stand. And I love your idea about coaching other kids. My 20 year old daughter plays the piano beautifully, but she doesn't have enough confidence to start teaching. A group might be just the thing, since expectations will be a bit lower.
    My girls (now ages 20-24) all babysat as teenagers and they ran backyard camps in our house. The deal was I provide the house and aircon and you take in your younger brothers for free. It was a great way for them to earn money and for me to keep the little guys entertained.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      I would absolutely encourage your daughter to give lessons. It sounds like she has an amazing gift to be shared and I bet she would easily find a few students and go from there. What a great idea to have your kids lead a backyard camp and have them also watch their younger brothers too. Win-win! Thanks for stopping by and sharing your ideas with us!
  5. Monday, May 4th, 2015
    When I have kids I'm going to really push them towards entrepreneurship at a young age. I think supporting your kid's business ideas and helping them get the confidence (and expertise) to start the business can have huge implications on whether your kid pursues a business either in their teenage years or later in life. There are a ton of things teenagers can do as a business. I know I would have loved spending my summers as a teenager running a business (and setting my hours) instead of slaving away in a pizza shop ;)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      I agree, DC. Helping kids embrace entrepreneurship can really make a huge difference in their lives. While not every child will want to be a "boss" being able to lead and understand how businesses works at a young age will still provide incredible experience for them. And I think so many teenagers get stuck in after school jobs they don't really like and never thought about creating their own business.
  6. Monday, May 4th, 2015
    I don't think it's ever too early to teach money lessons. That way it just becomes what you do like brushing your teeth. We might be ready for a lemonade stand. I could set it up in front of my office. Patients would make a captive audience!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      I love the idea of having your daughter setup a lemonade stand in front of your office. She'd have a booming business because who could resist such an adorable little girl!
  7. Monday, May 4th, 2015
    I love these tips Shannon!

    My daughter will be leaving for college this summer and we've been talking money and making a budget. I know she is going to be more ready than I ever was when I went out on my own and it's a great feeling!

    Definitely going to share this :). Hope you had a great Monday!

    Cori
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      Thanks, Corina! I love that you're talking to daughter and helping her prepare a budget and make wise decisions when she leaves home. She's going to be ahead of her peers, thanks to you!
  8. Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
    I am having a garage sale next month and my six-year-old is soooooooooo excited to have a Lemonade stand again. She is trying to decide what to charge - one year we did 25 cents and she didn't think we charged enough. Last year we did 50 cents and most people just rounded up and gave her a dollar. This year she says she is going to charge a dollar- we'll see how that goes!
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      Love it, Holly! With your adorable girls, I can't imagine that people wouldn't be happy to pay a $1 for a glass of lemonade. :) Lemonade stands can really be great money makers for kids, plus they are just fun!
  9. Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
    We do SO many of these things and as such, our kids are getting highly educated about money, which is such a relief for us. Simply having that education under their belts gives them a significant edge over what Rick and I had for financial education when we entered adulthood.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      I know you and Rick are doing a great job educating your kids about money. And thanks to your efforts, they will be ahead of their peers and know how to make good money decisions when they leave home.
  10. Tuesday, May 5th, 2015
    Great ideas Shannon! I'll be having a garage sale in a few weeks and I can't wait to lighten my load and make a little money back at the same time. :)
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      Garage sales are a great way to get rid of the extra stuff and earn a little extra money. :)
  11. Wednesday, May 6th, 2015
    Shannon, we run a lemonade stand last Saturday. My kids loved the activity and seemed to have learned important lessons out of it. They would like to do it again next Saturday. I think I am gonna introduce to them The Grocery Store Game. Thanks for the cool ideas.
    • Shannon Ryan
      Thursday, May 7th, 2015
      Love it, Jayson! I'm so glad your kids have such a wonderful experience running their lemonade stand. My girls love it too. And definitely have the kids play the grocery store game. They will love it too!
Shannon Ryan SHANNON RYAN, CFP®
  • Meet Shannon

    "As a Certified Financial Planner, it is my passion to help individuals and families build a healthy relationship with money. I look forward to helping you raise financially confident kids.” - Shannon Ryan
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