Equipping children with money skills at a young age will benefit them for life but is nonetheless a daunting task for the adults. Many would deem finance and entrepreneurship concepts too complicated for kids to digest, or simply too dull to hold their attention.
Fret not; making your kids money-savvy can be fun and engaging. Here are some educational games – perfect for kids to learn about finance and entrepreneurship without them getting bored or confused.
Fun with Finance
Mad Money is a free web-based game that encourages kids to manage their finances, particularly in the areas of saving and spending.
The game begins with your child selecting a “big-ticket” item he might wish to have, such as the latest video game or a cool new pair of sneakers. He is then given an allowance as well as opportunities to earn extra cash throughout the 30 days, as he stays motivated with the chosen item in mind.
However, things are not as straightforward as simply having to save for what you desire. Players will also be given a shopping list of things to buy before the end of the month. To complete the list, they will have to make spending decisions wisely, often by choosing value over price. To add on to the difficulty, players will encounter unexpected expenses along the way too.
Through this game, kids will develop an awareness that prudent decisions in saving and spending their money have to be made in order to reach their goals. With four levels of difficulty, determined by the price tag of each big-ticket item, Mad Money is suitable for starting kids of various ages in training them to make sound decisions on saving and spending.
Mad Money may be found and played online here: Mad Money.
One of the most common board games in the market – and one made even more popular with MacDonald’s marketing stints here in recent years, Monopoly is a great resource that imparts the very basics of finance and investing.
As kids throw the dice and move about the board, they learn the concepts of banking, taxes, personal income as well as growing wealth with real estate purchases. For example, one has to choose between investing to gain passive income, in terms of rent, versus saving and sitting on your cash.
Scenarios that arise during playtime, such as having to negotiate with another player to complete a set of property or taking the risk of mortgaging one of your properties for investment purposes, provide opportunities for kids to learn real-life financial lessons too.
Monopoly is a great game for families that – as with life – requires both skill and luck. Dads may further interest your child by buying special Monopoly editions like a Disney, Marvel Comics or Hello Kitty version too!
1. Lemonade Millionaire
Kids get to realise the dream of owning a lemonade stand while learning various aspects of running a successful business. Specifically, the basic mechanics of a typical business – the infamous four P’s (Product, Price, Place and Promotion) – are covered.
Your child will be given a starting capital to kick off his lemonade business. First, he will have to formulate the ultimate product recipe, by varying amounts of sugar, lemon juice and ice, and then thoughtfully set a price for it.
Next, your child will have to strategise between an affordable location and popular place, as well as which advertising medium, whether the radio, the newspaper or television, to market his product.
The game throws in a new “P” too, as players have the option of upgrading items, such as automatic ice markers or fanciful stands for increased productivity.
Like a true boss, your child will have to make decisions that will affect the sales of his business. Through reports generated at the end of each working day, he will have to evaluate sales factors and adjust accordingly – a good chance to teach him the economic concept of ceteris paribus (holding all other things constant) as well as patience in developing and improving a business over time.
Parents will need to walk through this game with younger kids who may not have the tenacity or the patience to figure out its intricacies, giving you opportunities to communicate and grow your child’s ability to grasp new ideas. Lemonade Millionaire may be found and played online here: Lemonade Millionaire.
2. The Sims 2: Open for Business
Kids these days are increasingly addicted to computer games… Well, if you can’t beat them, why not join them? The Sims 2: Open for Businessis an extension of the popular PC game The Sims, dealing specifically with entrepreneurship.
On top of managing the sales aspects of entrepreneurship, human resource management is particularly highlighted here. Your child will have to hire staff as his business grows and match Sims of various skill levels to relevant jobs.
Interestingly, true-life situations, such as family members helping out owners for free or higher-skilled staff demanding to be paid more, are incorporated. Additionally, kids playing this game will learn that a business runs more smoothly when you earn business perks including connections, wholesale prices and motivation.
The Sims 2: Open for Business is like an advanced version of Lemonade Millionaire, but with many more choices of businesses to build – suitable for the older kids who might not be keen on lemonades. For one, you can open a beauty salon, makeover Sims and have fun seeing them move about in the new hairstyles you gave them!
As engaging as they are educational, these games make great gifts. To help kids fully grasp the concepts taught, we recommend that dads play the game together with your child, stepping in to engage, guide and explain concepts and ideas on money and business.
About the Author: The Dads for Life Resource Team comprises local content writers and experts, including psychologists, counsellors, educators and social service professionals, dedicated to developing useful resources for dads.
First published on 04-05-2012.