Your child's financial habits might develop sooner than you think. As Forbes.com points out, many children form their money habits by the age of 7, so it's never too early to start teaching your children about how to save money. Money games can make teaching kids financial basics a bit more fun for everyone involved. Use a combination of online games, classic board games and homemade games to help your kids develop great money habits.
The Penny Game
One fun way to teach your kids about compound interest is to play a version of the penny game with them. As this video from Bloomberg shows, thanks to compounding, you can end up with more than $10 million dollars after just a month, even if you start with a single penny. To show your kids how it works, give each of them one penny and tell them you will double the amount of money they have each day for 10 days (if you do happen to have $10.7 million lying around, you can play the game for the full month).
The next day, give them another penny, so that they have two. The day after that, give them two more pennies, so that they have four. On the fourth day, give them four additional pennies, bringing the total up to eight pennies. Keep doubling the amount you give them, until you reach day 10, when they should have $5.12. The penny game shows your kids the importance putting money in a savings account that earns interest and leaving it there to grow.
The Bean Game
Designed for older kids, the Bean Game is a classic way to teach kids about budgeting and saving. At the start of the game, you give your kid 20 dried beans and a budget sheet. He or she then figures out how to allocate the beans, which represent a salary, based on the categories on the sheet. As the game goes on, new scenarios can develop, such as a salary reduction to 15 beans, which mean your kid needs to think about where to trim his or her budget.
Hit the Road
Hit the Road is like Oregon Trail for the 21st century. During the game, which is available from the National Credit Union Administration, your kids make a cross-country trek with their friends. They have to figure out how to spend and make money during the trip so that they can make it to the West Coast unscathed.
When Will You be a Millionaire?
A simple game from TheMint.org, When Will You Be a Millionaire? has kids put in an amount (such as $1,000 per year), then choose an investment or savings option. The game calculates how long it will take your kid to earn $1 million based on his or her choices.
The Allowance Game
When kids play the Allowance Game, their goal is to save up $20 by the end. You can think of it as a less complicated version of Monopoly. The board setup is similar, except instead of buying properties, kids are faced with challenges such as "Overdue Library Book" and "Babysit (earn $5)."
Although it can take forever to play, Monopoly can be a great game to teach kids not only about savings, but also investing and making wise purchasing decisions. It's probably best suited for older kids, in part because of the length of the game, but it does have some valuable lessons for younger kids. For example, it can be a good game to help kids learn to count money.
The Game of Life
The Game of Life is another classic board game that's a great tool for teaching kids about money and savings. During the game, kids can choose what sort of path to take in their lives, such as buying or selling a home, going to college or not and the type of career they want.
Money games can help your child learn better, as adding some fun to lessons helps improve learning, according to the Washington Post. After your kids have had a chance to play with money, help them learn to manage the real thing by encouraging them to open their own savings account and to start putting aside money for a rainy day or other goal.