I recently asked my friends in the financial services industry to recommend their favourite games to teach children about money.
But Moneywise readers are also full of great ideas for games too and many have written in to tell us about them. Thank you to everyone who wrote in to share your ideas.
Monopoly comes top
One of the best games for learning about money is Monopoly. I have used it with my grandchildren. Mental arithmetic is brilliant with this also. It’s five steps to the first station, then five to the corner, you can’t move along unless you have added the values of the two dice together, and you must remember to calculate the rent if you own all the properties etc. It also brings lots of discussion over money.
It has to be Monopoly! Not only does it teach them how to handle money but also about property investment.
How about Monopoly Ultimate Banking? It’s good to play and will teach our children and perhaps us the value of money, and not having any!
My favourite game for teaching my daughter about money is Monopoly. But she also loves being a shopkeeper or pet shop owner and pricing and selling her various stock items! This has resulted in her having a great awareness of pennies, pounds and change from an early age.
Totopoly by Waddingtons, makers of Monopoly. It was invented in the 1950s but is still sold today. It’s a horse racing game. It’s great for excitement but it also teaches about losing and the fact you don’t win all the time.
Dominoes is second
We have started playing Dominoes with our son who is seven. He loves it. Obviously, it teaches him about numbers and also trying to get your Dominoes out. He also spent a lot of time when he was younger with a toy cash register.
My young grandchildren love to play the very old game of "Penny a Spot" with Dominoes.
This is an ordinary game of Dominoes played with the aim of playing out your highest numbered dominoes so that at the end of the game you either win by having none left, or you have to pay the winner a penalty of 1p for every spot left in your hand. If no one can play out their hand, the one with the fewest spots in their hand wins and the others pay him "Penny a Spot"!
Dominoes teach counting skills, the ability to work out which Dominoes have gone and which remain, the ability to handle money, and, if playing with real pocket money, the desire and ability to hang onto it.
We have played this with our grandchildren from them being very small. We save milk bottle tops for cash, different colours for different coins, and they love to have turns as banker as, to begin with, there is often recourse to borrowing until they learn better.
Ideas for younger kids
I recommend the Money Bags Coin Value Game and the Pretend and Play Calculator Cash Register from Learning Resources.
Both toys offer the use of realistic play coins and notes and develop the recognition of real currency. They also develop maths skills to learn addition, subtraction and equivalency with currency.
I have bought these toys for my grandchildren and was very pleased with the outcome.
I love the Money Magnetic Activity Chart for helping my six-year-old to learn combinations of coins and notes needed to make up different cash amounts. I have ordered one for my nephew for Christmas too!
I think the best toy to teach younger children about money (ages four to seven) is a toy cash register or 'till' with fake money. Kids of this age have endless fun playing 'shops' but also simultaneously learn that all goods have a value, and begin to understand the concept of budgeting for items that are important to them.
I think that Rat-a-tat Cat is a good game for children to enhance their numeracy and decision making skills. It’s not strictly about money. It teaches comparison of numbers, assessing probability of unknown elements, remembering past events, assessing other players’ moves and predicting likely outcomes. I don’t think I would teach my six-year-old Poker, but it includes many of the elements of that!
Top Marks is the educational website I would choose (www.topmarks.co.uk). It covers a range of ages and money games, such as toy shop money game, the coins game, price lists and many more.
The best game I use with my grandchildren is Pawn Shop. They pawn their favourite toy and to retrieve it, they do simple tasks earning cash to buy back. I'm 80 and they're five- and six-years-old and we all get lots of fun. They have become pocket money savvy since we started playing Pawn Shop!
I would like to recommend the Cashflow game from the Rich Dad Company (www.richdad.com) because it is a really useful educational games that teach adults and children a lot about money, assets, liabilities, employee vs self-employed etc. They also have online games and Android games teaching the same concepts.
For games to teach children about money I have found a fantasy share/funds portfolio to be useful.
It helps with conversations about maths, investments, geography, environmental impact, business and politics. It is a good way to instil wider thinking about money and its place in the world.
Both my youngest grandson (10) and youngest granddaughter (eight) were amazed when I told them how they could earn FREE money if they saved. They loved learning about compound interest... simply put even I wondered why I hadn't saved more. Both now regularly put pocket/gift money in their respective savings account and enjoy informing me of their progress.
For more ideas on how to educate children about money, visit the Moneywise Get Financial Education Working Campaign, where we spread the word about resources and best practice. Together we can make the next generation better equipped to deal with the everyday challenges of managing money.
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