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Why not add a little learning to the fun this holiday season? These eight inexpensive gifts for toddlers through adolescents can help increase a child’s financial literacy.
Here’s a thought: Don’t just give the game. Jump in and play. That way you get in on the fun and they get the benefit of your experience and wisdom.
Hasbro/ Amazon / Money Talks News
If you don’t know Monopoly the chances are you were raised on the Moon. Here’s the game you know and loved but it’s a faster-paced updated version. As in life, cash is absent. This time, purchases are made electronically. Nostalgia buffs may regret that, but it means a simpler playing experience without the need to keep track of all that paper money. Swipe your bank card to buy real estate that now has been inflated to more modern prices. The lessons are timeless, though: Be a canny capitalist if you want to get ahead. $30 and up, at Amazon.
Mathopoly / Money Talks News
Even if you missed out as a student, you can help a kid learn critical math skills. One way: Mathopoly (about $20), a board game invented by a teacher and recommended by math teachers. The game’s focus is pre-algebra math and is based on math curriculum (aligned with U.S. curriculum) for fifth through eighth grades. Purchase a “Junior” card bundle (about $9) for students who are less advanced — or a “combo” set, with game and Junior bundle (about $26). U.S. customers can order from the Canada-based company through its website with PayPal or credit card (or click at the right side of the page to download an order form “for international customers or school purchases”).
Will Penner, inventor of the game, teaches middle-school math and science in Winnipeg, Canada. “I was a terrible math student,” he admits in an interview with Canadian Mennonite Magazine. “I know first hand of the struggles some students face when it comes to mathematics, as I struggled my entire life with the subject,” he says on the game’s website.
3. Play money
Amazon/ Educational Insights / Money Talks News
There’s nothing like the (almost) real stuff to spark family fun. Kids can earn play money from this tray of bills and coins while learning the power of earning and how to spend, save and make change. A few ideas: play yard sales, bake sales, toy exchanges, “cash” for chores or a lemonade stand. About $7 at Amazon.
FUNERICA/ Amazon / Money Talks News
Any toy cash register is a fun way to spark learning about earning, spending, counting and saving money. But this set has an up-to-date electronic cash register with a card scanner plus a bunch of little restaurant items: play food, pots, pans, utensils, stovetop and a grocery basket. Only thing missing: customers. About $30 at Amazon.
Palto / Shutterstock.com
Pay Day is a classic board game that guides players though an imaginary month as they juggle and pay bills and expenses. They’ll get the chance to earn money and broker property deals. Each player uses a salary to pay bills — borrowing, if necessary, to get through the month. Pretty much like life. Ages 8 and up. About $10 at Walmart.
LearningResources.com / Money Talks News
Perk up! This Learning Resources game, for kindergarten level and up, makes learning fun. It includes a game board, four “swamp creature” game pieces, two numbers dice and an operations die. The object is to navigate across the crocodile shortcut and through the swamp to the end by adding and subtracting numbers on the dice. About $20 at Learning Resources.
Möbi/ The Grommet / Money Talks News
Players use plus signs, minus signs and multiplication and division signs with numbers tiles to build math equations, helping them internalize math basics. The game includes 162 plastic/acrylic tiles and a blue whale cloth carrying pouch. Ages 7 and up. About $20 at The Grommet.
Learning Resources/ Amazon / Money Talks News
Head Full of Numbers looks goofy but the concept is great. Shake your dice in a cup that’s shaped like a silly professor’s head. Now, set the egg timer and start writing equations — as many as you can — from the numbers and symbols on the dice. Stop when the time is up. Ages 7 and up. Good quick fun for all ages, including adults. About $12 at Amazon.
What games have helped you understand math and money? Share with us in comments below or on our Facebook page.