By Jessica Kelmon, Associate Editor
There’s a lot of talk about increasing kids’ financial savvy, but it’s not always clear where to begin. For young kids, teaching about coin value and using math skills to count change is a simple, straightforward start. But for older kids, it can be hard to determine what to talk about without crossing a line: you don’t want your children to worry about the mortgage, for example, or to be overly concerned with family finances, but you do want to instill values and build a sense of awareness.
So I was happy to see these two money-related activities on Parent Further, a nonprofit that researches and reports on parenting issues. They have excellent information, and these two activities are a perfect example. Both of these activities can be done with kids ages six to 18 and both are interactive, so they’ll spark family discussion.
First: 10 minute Taste Test
The idea is to pick four foods your family likes and buys often. Then head to the store to buy two versions of each item – generic and branded mac & cheese, say, or beef and tofu hot dogs. When you get home, do a blind tasting to see if you can tell the difference. In this tasting, you’ll keep track of the relative prices and maybe read the labels to compare the nutrition content. It’s a lesson in shopping, reading labels, and keeping track of prices all wrapped into one fun family activity.
Second: Points for life!
Worried that your teen is overvaluing designer jeans and the coolest socks? Here’s a way to have a family discussion about relative values – and give your child (of any age) a reality check. The idea is that everyone gets 1,000 points to “spend” on what matters most to them individually – and the options range from toys and shopping to family time and creative pursuits (like drawing, painting, acting, and dancing). There’s the math and budgeting practice (the allocations must add up to 1,000) to start, but the big payoff is the chance to better understand and appreciate what appeals to each member of your family. You can read more about the activity here, and download the 1,000 points page here.
What do you think: are these activities doable in your household?