Anyone who has kids has had to become a full time teacher this week, with many facing the possibility of home schooling for the next three months.
The biggest challenge for those of us who are not natural teachers is coming up with new ideas to entertain and educate at the same time (whilst trying to also juggle our day jobs).
One area which kids often struggle with is money. Unlike maths, english and science, classes on money and finance are simply not high up on the agenda at schools, meaning many kids have to learn about money much later in life.
However, the lockdown could be the perfect opportunity to change this, according to Adrian Lowcock, Head of Personal Investing at Willis Owen.
“Most of the previous generations – including the millennials and generation Xers – were not taught about basic financial concepts, having to learn the hard way once we started working.
“This could be our chance to change that for the younger generations. Whilst none of us would choose to be stuck in our houses for an indefinite period, we have an opportunity now to ensure something positive comes out of this crisis. Teaching our kids new things – including about the value of money – could be a real benefit to them in the future.”
The topic is broad and varied, but below Lowcock offers five ideas to try to help parents teach kids about money and hopefully keep the kids entertained – but no guarantees:
Bank of Mum and Dad
- Create your own money. Cut out the money by dividing a piece of a paper into a grid of 10 rectangular shapes, splitting the paper once down the middle and four horizontally (those are your notes). You can also cut some circles to create coins.
- Choose a currency you want your family money to be – you’re now your own country! You can also use different colours: a blue for a £5, orange for £10 and purple for £20 and so on.
- Once you’ve got the colours, time to draw! Choose a family member or a pet (or the Queen!) and draw their face on the notes.
- Once that’s all done, you’ll have 10 £1 notes, 10 £5 notes, 10 £10 notes and 10 £20 notes. Count up all the kids’ money, put it into a special money bag and there you go – your very own family bank!
You can use this money as a simple distribution for chores, to talk about money or to practice playing maths games. As always, make sure to give back the proper change!
Here are some steps to get your child involved and play shopkeeper whilst learning about money at the same time.
- Using a pencil and notebook, write down the items your child is going to sell in their shop and price against it. E.g. apple – 25p, banana 25p, pack of crisps 50p, biscuit 10p etc.
- Next up stock the shop with the goods to sell
- Take turns to be shopkeeper
- Every time your child buys an item they have to work out how much it costs and get the right coins or notes and make sure they give you the right change.
This game is an excellent way to show your child that food at home doesn’t appear out of nowhere but actually costs money. Doing this activity shows not only the value of different items, but also gets them into maths mode.
Find 100 (reduce to 25 as it’s indoors)
This game can be as simple or as complicated as your kids can handle. You will pick an item, or an attribute of an item, and ask your kids to find 100 of them (or less given you are probably indoors). If your kids are young, then look for simple characteristics, like shapes, colours or patterns. For example, have them find 100 items with red letters on the packaging.
If your kids are a bit older, make it a little more complicated by throwing some math in there, too. Have them search for 100 items, with 25% of them containing all-natural ingredients, 25% containing tomatoes, 25% vegetables and 50% containing chicken in the ingredients. Of course, what you have them look for is completely up to you.
Sort and Save
Little kids usually love to organise things, so let them sort out your spare change jar for you. This game is not too challenging so should be good for the younger ones. Get four paper cupcake cups and write the numbers 2, 5, 10, 20 inside and put them on a tray. Then hand your loss change jar to your child and help her sort the coins into the right cup.
A variation of the tuck shop, through the week you pay your child for chores or good behaviour with some play money. You could give them 50p for putting their toys away or £1 for doing their school work. At the end of the week they can spend their money in the home store. This works especially well if you already have things in the house for them to buy (like treats or small toys), but it could also be a coupon for a trip out when things return to normal.
Adrian Lowcock, Chris Tuite
Head of personal investing Director & Head of Consumer Finance
Willis Owen MRM London
07849 846387 020 3326 9925