With the rise of eWallets and other FinTech apps that promotes financial inclusion or the means for individuals to have more access to financial products and services such as payment, credit and investment – the need to further educate people (most especially the kids) on how to better manage their finances has been elevated from just a secondary “skill set” to basic knowledge.
Teaching kids about money management habits is crucial for their development and probably one of the most important tool you can provide them as they navigate their lives from childhood to becoming adults when money becomes a bigger part of their daily lives.
Money is a form exchange, we use it (or the value that it represents) as an exchange for something that we need. Kids, even the very young, can learn this basic fact very early when adults bring them along during grocery shopping time or basically any activities that will involve you paying for a purchase. Letting them pay at the counter is one good way to teach them about this.
However, this will not answer fundamental questions like:
- “where did your money came from?”
- “what happens when you don’t have any money?”
- “How do I get more money?”
Now, letting your child experience running a lemonade stand might do the trick and give them some ideas, and it did work for the boomers (1946-1964) and the Gen Xers (1965 – 1980), and maybe the millennials (1981 – 1996), but for the digital natives like the Zoomers (1997 -2012) and the emerging Gen Alpha ( 2013 – 2024) – there’s always a better and easier way ONLINE.
Now I found out that there are really a lot of FREE resources online that can teach the young kids today about better money management, and usually it’s in the form of online games. And one site I am quite fond of is MONEY GAMES via mortgagecalculator.org because it’s like a one-stop shop for all kinds of games that involves financial education.
What’s great about their games is that it teaches you about money but in a very subtle way.
They’ve got basic money games and games about real estate, farming, various businesses, and even some games that talks about office politics, cryptocurrencies and software development. Again, presented in a way that young kids can really enjoy playing.
I’ve wandered into their site specifically looking for some games that I can incorporate or recommend to participants in my youth leadership seminars. I then asked my Gen Z kids to try the games in their list and to tell me which ones are their favorites. The Gen Alphas might give you a different list, but here are the top 5 money games on this site:
REAL ESTATE TYCOON
In Real Estate Tycoon your goal is to profit from buying low and selling high.
This game does not have all the gritty details of the real estate market but it is instead an oversimplified game for kids that helps children manage their attention to track trends. As more expensive buildings appear it is generally better to focus on tightly managing the entries and exits on a few big buildings rather than managing a portfolio of smaller and cheaper buildings which are hard to track.
Cash Back is a math game where players need to give customers the correct change using bills and coins.
CONSTRUCT A BRIDGE
Construct a Bridge is a 10-level structural integrity game where players have a limited amount of material to use to build a safe bridge.
BITCOIN BUBBLE SHOOTER
Bitcoin Bubble Shooter is an 80-stage bubble shooting game themed after cryptocurrencies. Aim your bubble shots to create sets of 3 or more identical adjacent bubbles to remove them from the stack. Use a limited number of bubbles to reach the level goal on each of the 80 stages to earn up to a 3-star rating on each stage. As you advance through the game you earn power ups. Beat all 80 levels to save the cryptocurrency from industry villains.
GUMBALL TIDY UP!
The Amazing World of Gumball Tidy Up is a house cleaning game for kids. Help Darwin clean the Watterson home and look out for Gumball who likes to ransack already cleaned rooms. Click on the dirty parts of the room until they are cleaned. When a room has been completely cleaned an indicator will state the room is cleaned. If you have already cleaned every room in the house visit previously cleaned rooms to see which one Gumball wrecked again and clean it once more.
There are dozens more in the site. Best part is that because it’s free, all you need is just a stable internet connection and your child can have hours and hours of fun learning.
The thing with learning money management skills is that it’s the same with having an insurance policy, or a savings account or any type of investments – the earlier is always better!
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