The very word money gets people all riled up. Everyone has opinions on the best ways to earn money, spend money, save money, or invest money. I feel like the topic of money is very personal, as people tend to face criticism from someone no matter how they choose to spend (or save) their money.
Still, it’s an important topic to talk about with young kids. We all want our kids to learn the value of a dollar, and how to be financially responsible, right?
My dad is a money guy. He went to school to study money. He works with money. He helps manage people’s money. He’s a money person.
So, logically, you’d think money was a topic we talked about often in our house.
Of course, you’d be wrong. Money was always very hush hush. To this day, I’ve never known my dad’s salary, or my parents’ financial situation. I don’t know what monthly payments they make, how much they set aside each pay period. I know nothing about finances.
I had a credit score of 0 until I was 20.
Obviously, hindsight is 20/20 and if I put myself in their shoes, I can think of a very logical explanation for their avoidance of talking about finances. They never wanted us to have to worry.
It makes sense, right? But it resulted in me growing up not knowing what money was worth. Not learning about things like interest, loans, or investments.
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On the flip side, I once dated a guy whose mother told him about every problem she had. I believe she thought it gave them a closer bond. But it seriously traumatized him to learn about his mom’s financial situation and marital problems.
I think, as with most things in parenthood, there needs to be a middle path. Which is why I was seriously excited when I opened up this month’s Kid’s Night in Box. It’s all about money!
What’s in the Finance Box?
Of course, we get a booklet explaining all of the activities. This month, I also wanted to spotlight their revamped Faith Night add-on! So we got a little pamphlet that ties in a little spiritual message (more on that later).
We also get a book, which you know I love. Books are one of my fondest childhood memories. My mom read to me every night, and I still cherish that. Ever since the day I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to read to my son, so he could have similar memories.
They also include play money; both coins and bills. Plus all we need to make our own ice cream (except the ice and the milk, for obvious reasons). So, in this case, you do need a few things, but you probably already have them available.
They even include little cups and spoons which I thought was an adorable touch.
I will say that you would definitely want to read the plan over beforehand. Whereas the Farm Night Box took literally no preparation and everything was included, this one is a bit more involved since there is essentially a lesson plan.
Teaching Financial Literacy, with a Book
Alright, so I’m pretty sure I learned something from this book. It’s called
If You Made a Million by David M. Schwartz. Feel free to start singing the similarly named Barenaked Ladies song… No? Just me? Alright then. Well, this book is all about money, for kids!
So this book starts off very simply. You learn about increasing values of money, starting at a penny and working up to the $100 bill. You learn a bit about how banks work and how interest builds up when you leave money in your account. It’s all done in a way that is super kid-friendly.
They also talk about and explain checks. You learn the basics of how a check works and what goes on behind the scenes when you pay someone with a check.
There are also even more in-depth details at the very end. Definitely too complicated for small children, but it was interesting stuff!
Teaching Kids About Money with Fun Activities
My son is only 18 months old, so he wasn’t a very active participant. But that’s fine with me. The inner child in me is pretty strong, not gonna lie. Half the time, I’m not sure I’m qualified to be a mom when I’m having this much fun playing with fake money.
Related: The Very Best Motherhood Quotes
Anyways, there are a bunch of fun activities that help teach your child the amount that the different coins are worth. You can really make this as in-depth as you want, which I love. This could definitely be a great teaching moment, depending on your child’s age.
Whereas last month, our Kid’s Night In booklet was pretty much just instructions, this month’s has activities in it. I loved that they had options for younger kids and older kids.
For the younger kids, they can just match the coins to their names. Older children can match the coins to their values, and do a bit of money math.
How to Earn Money as a Kid
The reason we’re making ice cream is to sell! This is awesome! I know that selling ice cream or lemonade isn’t going to make your kid rich, but it’s so empowering to show a child that they can make money, too.
I remember when I was a kid, I was so jealous that adults had money. I don’t think I realized they had to go to work to make money, and then spend a good amount of that money on boring things. But, I digress.
So, the booklet instructs you to have your kids “purchase” (with the fake money) the supplies and ingredients they will need. This is another moment where you could really have a good lesson with older kids.
You could give them a set amount of money and have them choose which supplies to spend their money on. Maybe you have sprinkles and chocolate syrup, but after buying all the vital ingredients, they can only afford one. Another idea is adding some items like gloves (shaking that ice cream is so cold) that aren’t essential, but could make the job easier.
Then, they sell their ice cream and learn what it takes to earn money. I love this activity, and you could totally do similar activities whenever the kids want to make something!
More Activities for Teaching Kids Money
They also have some fun money songs. And, boy, does my son love a good song. He’s such a music-lover. They were just some simple songs that helped teach more about money.
They also tell you how to play a game that explains interest. I would tweak it just a bit by adding some treats for them to buy. Basically, you put a penny on the table and tell them if they wait X minutes, they’ll earn “interest”. The longer they wait, the more interest they earn.
I would have some treats set to the side with various prices (to tempt them to spend the money). A small treat for a penny, a larger treat for a nickel, etc. That would be a fun way to demonstrate how we have choices about how we spend our money, but each choice has a consequence.
Faith Night Add-On
I was super excited to learn that Night In Boxes revamped their program. Previously, they offered three boxes: Kids Night, Date Night, and Faith Night. Now, they offer two main boxes (kids and date) with the option of adding on a faith component to either.
I think that faith, like money, can be hard to teach your kids. There’s no right or wrong way to do it. Because they’re your kids, you get to decide how to handle teaching your kids about religion (if you even want to).
This add-on makes it so much easier, though! They give you a little pamphlet that perfectly correlates to the box’s theme. They include a scripture verse (Matthew 25:21), which they encourage you to have the kids memorize. They also have a parable (The Parable of the Talents) and then a small lesson. I think it would be fun to offer a small prize if they can recite the Bible verse by the time next month’s box arrives!
It’s pretty short and simple, which I personally think is perfect for small children. It gives them the opportunity to learn without overwhelming them. At the end, they also include a prayer, and an idea on how you can continue this lesson throughout the month.
Where to Go From Here
Kid’s Night In doesn’t want the learning to just end that night. They give you a simple chart to encourage your child to save up money for something they really want. They have a spot for you to brainstorm some chores and how much money that will earn them.
An idea in the Faith add-on was to give your kids (real or play) money and have them “buy” their cleaning supplies. This will help them learn that sometimes you can spend (or invest) your money in order to make more money. So if they want to earn their $1 for sweeping the floors, they have to pay you $0.10 first for the broom. But once they finish, they have more money than they started with.
I love that idea! It provides so many awesome learning opportunities that you can continue for as long as you’d like. And you could always make more ice cream (or anything, really) to sell and have them purchase the supplies again.
How do you handle teaching kids about big topics, like money and faith? Do your kids have opportunities to earn money for themselves?
Also, be sure to sign up and grab next month’s box before they’re all gone!