- Bargaineering - http://www.bargaineering.com/articles -

Kids & Money: Online Games Make Learning about Money Fun

If your kids are anything like my son, the minute you start telling them about the importance of saving, and careful spending, they start to shut down. You can lecture your kids all day long, but if you don’t make learning about money at least a little bit fun, you’re just wasting your breath.

The good news is that the Internet offers a number of opportunities for your kids to learn valuable skills — while playing games. My son loves being online, and he thinks these money games are a blast. So, while you still want to teach your kids about money [3] yourself, you can supplement, and help them get the idea, with the help of these online games:

  1. Mad Money [4]: PBS kids offers this game, designed to help kids learn about how to save up for purchases, and make spending decisions. They can choose from sneakers, a video game console, a DVD or a concert ticket to get started. They get an “allowance” every seven “days”, and have a list of expenses (and unexpected spending) and they need to spend wisely, and look for money making opportunities, if they want to have enough to reach the goal.
  2. Counting Coins [5]: This is a basic game, with three levels. Children use the mouse to drag coins onto the table to get the right amount. A good game for teaching children the relative value of coins, and how to count them.
  3. Money Flashcards [6]: Another counting game, this one shows an amount of money, in bills and coins, and has you count it. Keeps score, so you can set up a reward system to encourage your child to do well.
  4. H.I.P. Pocket Change [7]: The U.S. Mint has a number of games that can help children learn concepts related to money. A lot of the games and activities are designed to help children recognize different coins, and some of them are more puzzles, so your kids might not get all money lessons, but it can familiarize kids with money.
  5. Practical Money Skills [8]: Visa has put together these different games based around learning about money, and developing financial knowledge. There are games based on sports, basic money counters, a fun road trip game, and a money quiz show. The site offers a wide variety of games for various age groups.
  6. Reality Check [9]: Do your kids have realistic expectations for their lifestyle costs? JumpStart offers a calculator that can help teens get an idea of what they’ll need to make to live the life they want as a young single. It comes with the hour rate you need to earn to support the lifestyle, and possible vocations [10] that can help them reach their goals. Perhaps it’s a wake up call for some kids.
  7. It All Ads Up [11]: Practical games and management that can help your kids learn about credit management, saving up for things, and other important money concepts.
  8. Stock Game [12]: This is a great game to help teens get practice with investing. You can learn how to invest, and there is a great education section that can help kids learn the basics before getting started.

(Photo: PBS [4])