Summer break is the perfect occasion to discuss finances with your family. Events like vacations, road trips, or even gardening projects involve cycles of saving and spending. These money lessons for kids will last a lifetime, and we’ve broken them down by age. As you teach your child financial literacy, remember to use the summer fun to your advantage.
Introduce the concept of money (age 2-3)
While at the beach, play a game of trading shells for other items. As the play continues, explain to your child that money works in the same way. To obtain goods and services, people exchange them for cash. Don’t forget to mention that people use checking and savings accounts to hold funds too. They may not understand banking yet, but as they grow, they will.
Teach about specific values (age 4-5)
Have your child create a list of outdoor exercises. Then, assign each action a price. Tell your child they need to do a make-believe amount of activities by the end of the afternoon. Let them create different combinations to fulfill the request.
Practice the difference between wants and needs (age 6-7)
Suggest the timeless “stuck on an island” scenario. Ask your child what they would bring. Then ask, how would it help them survive. Being able to spot the difference is a very important money lesson for kids.
Discuss saving and spending (age 8-9)
Do a scavenger hunt for loose change around the house. Instruct your child to place what they find into a piggy bank. If you’d rather have a set location for searching, you can set up the backyard and add the coins yourself. As your playing, explain to your child how the collection of money adds up. Shake the bank to demonstrate the savings.
Provide examples of smart consumerism (age 10-13)
Plan a vacation with your child. Describe how much different amenities will cost and ways to save money on the trip. Remember to provide examples of how budgeting is part of good financial health.
Give them their first test of financial independence (age 14-15)
Give your child a set amount of money, then go to the store. Tell them they need to purchase snack items for an upcoming road trip. Explain that they will need to cover the gas as well. This activity tests your child’s decision-making skills, as well as their financial independence. Just be sure to share how far your car can drive on a tank of gas and how much it costs. That way, your child knows before spending.
Establish their knowledge of credit (age 16+)
As part of our money lessons for kids, choosing the right credit card is the most significant. That’s why it’s crucial to establish wise practices before the age of 18. This summer, take a trip to the library with your child. Find books or magazines regarding credit that are on their level of reading. The more concepts they review regarding the subject, the more informed they will be.