Financial Responsibility

teaching kids financial responsibility summer learning
Money Management for kids summer learning

My husband, Steve, is the finance guy in our household. He’s a Dave Ramsey certified financial counselor as well as an author and speaker—a straight up numbers guy. My area of expertise as a counselor is said to be in the realm of child rearing and helping people overcome personal obstacles. I’m a people person and somewhat numbers averse. We come at life with completely opposite personalities and perspectives!

However different we are in our approach to life, we both agree that financial literacy is an important basic life skill to help all children navigate the future with confidence and success . . . and to help them circumvent many of the mistakes we made in our own youth!

For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.

Activities to Teach Kids About Financial Responsibility

Neither of us received any financial education, training, or conversations before leaving home. To do things differently, I talked about money with our children from a young age. We have had many conversations about saving, giving, and spending with our four children over the years. Getting our children familiar with controlling their spending and expanding their income strategies requires a bit of effort because the natural inclination is the opposite.

One creative thing I did with my kinder and early elementary children was to use small stacks of quarters on their dressers to motivate them to quick obedience and good attitudes. In the evening we’d go over the day and figure out together whether quarters from the stacks were to come back to me or stay with them. The visibly shrinking stacks were far more motivating than my lectures, yelling or nagging! Good conversations about character, choices, and habits developed over that exercise.

On the weekend I would help them divide up the quarters remaining into their giving banks, divided into giving, saving, spending. It was a simple and effective process to build appreciation for money.

Our children now have personal checking and savings accounts. In their high school years, we decided to give our children jobs in our publishing company—taping and packaging boxes for deliveries.

They earn a salary according to how much they work. Our children do chores around the house that they do not get paid for, just contributing as a member of the family. When they want to purchase anything outside of our budget, they use their money that they have saved up from their own hard work, understanding that this money goes towards future car, college and special goals. The value of hard work and money is slowly growing in them, though we can see that each of them have very different spending personalities!

Books and Games About Financial Responsibility

Another thing we’ve been doing during COVID school-at-home has been spending half an hour reading a financial book. The books they’ve gone through so far are Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Treasure Principle and Money, Possessions and Eternity by Randy Alcorn, Debt-Proof Living by Mary Hunt, and Get Real, Get Rich by Farrah Gray. Thirty minutes reading together Monday through Friday and talking about the week’s reading on Saturdays. Simple.

Over the years we’ve played Monopoly Jr., The Game of Life, Monopoly, as well as Robert Kiyosaki’s Cashflow Game—and now there’s a Cashflow for Kids game.

Activities for Preschoolers

But before getting to all of these games and activities, it’s best to start with the basics: Let the youngest children handle/play with money and have them sort and learn the values of each coin and paper bill.

Use coloring pages. Start from the very beginning for young ones and help older children figure out how to earn money that they can learn to manage.

Help them save and budget for special purchases or events and help them come up with goals that you can cheer them on to completion. The sense of satisfaction of setting goals and meeting them is phenomenal!

Kids’ money videos, songs, storybooks crafts and games are all included in the resources listed below

Money Songs

“The Money Song: Penny, Nickel, Dime, Quarter,” Jack Hartman Kids Music Channel

“Counting Coins Songs for Kids”, Math Songs by NUMBEROCK

Money Games and Activities for Young Children

I think hiding a variety of coins in a basin full of rice and having a pre-K child sort them into glass jars would be sensory home run!

“Money math for preschool, kindergarten, and first grade,” Anna G, Measured Mom, May 3, 2014—Coin based activities for 3–6 year olds

“Learning About Money,” Measured Mom—Free printables and lessons for toddlers to 2nd grade

100 Children’s Books about Money, Simply Outrageous Youth, February 7, 2019

“4 Simple Financial Literacy Games/Activities for Kids,” Simply Outrageous Youth, April 4, 2019

Activities for Grade Schoolers

Here are more resources for teaching financial responsibility to children in their middle years.

Money Games for Kids

Cashflow for Kids—from the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad

The Allowance Game

Money Bags Coin Value Game

Exact Change

Pay Day

ThriveTime for Teens

Monopoly Junior

The Game of Life

Peter Pig’s Money Counter—an online game about currency

This video, Financial Literacy for Kids While Playing Monopoly, shows you how to teach your child terms like Assets, Liabilities, and Transactions while playing Monopoly.

Money Activities for Kids

“6 Banking Activities for Kids: Making Financial Literacy Fun,” John Lanza, Money Mammals, February 18, 2015

Harness your children’s imaginations to think like entrepreneurs! Here is a set of fun crafts to teach financial literacy and encourage resourcefulness. Here are my favorites: encourage the kids to run a restaurant, make a lemonade stand, make crafts out of items you’d otherwise throw away, and commission a piece of art to go on the wall.

Advice About Money Management for Kids and Teens

First, teach the basics of budgeting, managing a checking account. Then, help them to understand the real cost of living. My oldest is undertaking a month of her own budgeting, grocery shopping, and cooking, to prepare herself for college life this fall. So far week one is on budget . . . it’s a good beginning! Making your teen responsible for dividing up the household income to pay out every single bill is also an eye-opening exercise. Then, with the basics in play, help them figure out how to turn their interests or hobbies into cash flow, to give themselves something motivating to manage.

Our oldest child babysits, bakes muffins, and sells plates of food to raise money for her mission trips. Her friend crochets hats and headbands to sell to do the same. Our second daughter babysits and pet sits. Our oldest son will be looking for a job nearby this summer to help him with his confidence and people skills. Other students may walk dogs, mow lawns, tutor younger students, sell homemade items, develop an app, or create a startup business in their garage.

The sky is the limit!

Online Resources to Teach Money Management for Teens

“4 money lessons every teenager needs to know,” Kathryn Vasel, CNN Money, January 26, 2018

Teen Budget Worksheets

The Checkbook Project

“When to Give—and When Not to Give—Financial Help to Your Teen,” Family Education

“10 Things Teens Waste Money On,Dave Ramsey

“Best Summer Jobs for Teens,” Anthony O’Neal, Dave Ramsey

Online Games About Finance for Teens

Cashflow Classic—from the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Financial Football—from the NFL

Books About Finance for Teens

Money Matters for Teens, Larry Burkett

Dave Ramsey online store—books for kids and teens

Rich Dad Poor Dad books

O.M.G Official Money Guide for Teenagers by Susan P. Beacham and Michael L. Beacham

The Complete Guide to Personal Finance: For Teenagers and College Students by Tamsen Butler

The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton

The Richest Kids in America: How They Earn It, How They Spend It, How You Can Too by Mark Victor Hansen

Life After School Explained by Cap & Compass

Read More About Teaching Financial Responsibility

“15 Fun Crafts To Teach Financial Literacy To Kids,” Kasasa, August 15, 2019

“9 Smart Ways to Teach Your Middle School Students About Money,” Crystal Rennicke, We Are Teachers, October 16, 2017

“12 Fun Saving and Budgeting Activities for High School Students,” Megan DeMatteo and Leslie Jones, We Are Teachers, June 4, 2019

“6 Great Board Games That Teach Money Skills,” Beau Mueller, The Money Wise Teacher, August 6, 2019

“Back-To-School Tips: Teaching Kids About Money,” Spectrum News, August 21, 2019

Charter Moms Chats

Watch Nancy Sheridan’s interview with Inga Cotton on Charter Moms Chats.

For more ideas about summer experiences you can do while learning at home with your kids, visit the main page, Charter a Summer of Learning.

About the Author

Nancy Sheridan is a professional family and trauma counselor at Liberty Alliance Group. She has four children, three teens and one 10-year-old with the oldest one heading off to college in the fall. Her husband is a publisher of business books and a certified Financial Peace University counselor who has helped many individuals and couples reduce or eliminate millions in debt over the last 20 years.