Kids & Money Board Games
Did you play Monopoly as a child?
Did you have an older sister, say, who simply loved being the “Banker,” and a younger one who thought nothing of buying up all houses possible and turning them into hotels? Believe it or not, the types of games your children play that deal with currency, leverage, and money now can have an effect on the money smarts they take with them into adulthood.
These days, you can choose from a great deal more than “Monopoly,” “Payday,” or “The Game of Life” to help your child learn about money. Although these classics should stay in your toy closet and get plenty of playtime, they may soon be sharing shelf space with the newer generation of money-centric board games.
Depending on how old your child is (younger kids, ages 3-6 or so, it seems, love to feel and handle money–older kids 7 and upwards love to learn about how money works), you can offer your kids a fun and challenging way to increase their financial literacy by playing some of the following “money” board games:
- Moneycent$™ from Kid Games Ltd.
(ages 5 and up; call 888-543-4263 to order)
Using life-sized pieces in the shapes of quarters, nickels, dimes, and pennies, children learn how to count and change money. This is especially fun for younger kids who are beginning to wonder how money feels, looks, and how “coins” can be changed into bigger bills. You can play it one of three levels, with children ages 5-6, 7-8 and 9+.
Steve LePage, founder of Kid Games, discovered that his own children (aged 5 & 7) were beginning to ask questions about money, but “it was apparent that neither one of them had a good understanding about the basics.” He set out to create a fun board game to familiarize very young children with the use of currency. It has since won numerous awards in the U.S. and Canada and is a parents’ top pick.
- Cashflow for Kids
(ages 6 and up; call 800-308-3585 to order)
Robert Kiyosaki and his partner Sharon Lechter, C.P.A. (authors of the bestselling book Rich Dad, Poor Dad) designed this intelligent game “to help you raise your child’s financial IQ.” Both creators were concerned that children were not being well taught about money at school or at home and set out to design a game that would address this problem.
Believe it or not, kids learn how to create a balance sheet, figure out assets and liabilities, and earn passive income by using colorful money pieces representing various denominations. Kids get to pick “Doodad” cards with expenses they have to swallow (“Your family plays miniature golf! Pay $20 cash now!) or yellow “Sunshine” cards with draws like “Big New House” (you now have a bigger mortgage) or “Pay Off a Bill” (when you’ve paid off your loans). Parents as well as teachers can learn much from this game!
- Moneywise Kid$
(ages 7 and up; call 800-634-7738 to order)
Moneywise Kid$ offers two fun math games that teach the meaning of money–“Bill Maker,” where kids get to earn money by rolling dice and exchanging smaller bills for larger ones until they reach $100; and “Bill Breaker.” In this game, kids get to draw markers–representing food, clothing, housing, etc.–and aim towards saving $100 in order to win.
Julie Creighton, an independent California-based toy consultant for 23 years who consults for Parenting Magazine as well as several national toy companies, says that when it comes to money games, it “isn’t enough to produce a game that teaches about money; it also has to be entertaining–something kids enjoy well enough to plead with their parents to play it again and again and that they (the parents!) will be willing to consider.” She gives thumbs up to all of the above games and has played several with her own family.
And pat yourself on the back for choosing to spend time with your kids in this way. Creighton says that board games such as these are “most valuable…no matter what form they take, for the time that families spend together playing them. Kids sitting around a board tend to talk more freely and easily about what’s happening in their day-to-day lives. It’s not like the usual conversation between parents and children.”
Do you have financial/board game children’s memories? I’d love to hear from you. Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.