Household money activities for kids

Your child may learn about money at school, but reinforcing money lessons at home is an important way to teach good financial habits for life.

But how can you make your lessons fun and engaging? First and foremost, get creative – the more fun you’re having, the more fun they’ll have, too. There are a lot of activities and resources available to make your household money lessons engaging. Here are some guidelines for ways to teach your child about money at any age.

Pre-school

Start by introducing the idea of money to your child. Give them a piggy bank, let them collect coins and talk about their different colours, names and values. You can also use coins as a way to work on your child’s counting skills. Let them play with a toy cash register or give them a play wallet as a way to start talking about money. Even weekend shopping and grocery stops can become a learning adventure.

Here are some online games and shows you can watch and play together to help start a conversation:

  • TVO Kids offers an online game called Coin Spot that helps kids learn about the different types of coins.
  • Sesame Street’s Save, Spend, Share brings together short videos that introduce the concepts of earning, spending and saving money.

Elementary school

When your kids begin to learn reading, writing and arithmetic, they’re ready to get an allowance and learn how to manage it through saving, budgeting, investing and donating. This is a good time to teach them about needs vs. wants, how to save for a goal and plan purchases.

  • TVO Kids Coin Combo strengthens money knowledge by testing your math skills with different types of coins.
  • PBS Kids’ Mad Money game helps kids learn to make saving and spending decisions.
  • The Canadian Securities Administrators’ (CSA) Make it Count program includes activities you can incorporate into family life, like going shopping, eating out or opening a bank accountAccount An agreement you make with a financial institution to handle your money. You can set up an account for depositing and withdrawing, earning interest, borrowing, investing, etc.+ read full definition.

Junior high

As your kids learn more, you can begin to shareShare A piece of ownership in a company. A share does not give you direct control over the company’s daily operations. But it does let you get a share of profits if the company pays dividends.+ read full definition “bigger picture” ideas. Encourage them to open a bank account and help them monitor it online. Teach them about earning interest through investing or paying it through credit. Use special occasions when they typically receive gift money, like birthdays or holidays, to discuss making good money choices.

  • The Kids’ Corner at the Royal Canadian Mint website shows how coins are made.

High school

At this stage, kids usually start to earn money through part-time and summer jobs, so this is a good time to encourage saving for longer-termTerm The period of time that a contract covers. Also, the period of time that an investment pays a set rate of interest.+ read full definition goals. It’s also a good time to establish good credit habits early.

After high school

As your kids get ready to leave the nest, help them to learn how to manage their finances on their own. If they’re earning their own money, start to cut back their allowance. Help them develop and maintain a monthly budgetBudget A monthly or yearly estimated plan for spending and saving. You work it out based on your income and expenses.+ read full definition so they can track expenses and income, cover their bills and find extra money to save.

  • Check out Getting an education for tools and resources for young adults.
  • The Cranial Cash Clash helps you test your money management knowledge and, based on your incorrect answer, provides specific resources to help you learn more.

Take action

Test your own financial knowledge with The Cranial Cash Clash and get the whole family competing.

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