Children learn through play so what better way to learn about money than through board games and role play. Here is my round up of four of the best games to teach children about money whilst having a lot of fun.
Pop to the shops
Aimed at 5-9 years. RRP £9.99.
We have always been great fans of Orchard Toys in our house; Pop to the shops is fast becoming a new favourite. I can totally see why this has been one of Orchard Toys’ top 10 bestselling board games every year for the past 15 years.
Every player owns a shop with various items for sale and corresponding prices. Players take turns to pick a card showing a product to go and buy from someone else’s shop using their kitty made up of play money. A player receives money from others when items are bought from their shop.
It’s great for teaching children how to:
- handle coins of different denominations
- work out combinations of coins to match the price of an item
- work out change to give the customer.
My 6 year old has been learning about coins at schools recently. They have been learning how to add them together to make different combinations so this game provides a real world setting to practice this skill. My 4 year old loves being the banker and handing over the coins to the other players when they pass the centre square.
There are so many ways to start talking about money concepts with this game; why certain items cost more than others, what options you have when you don’t have enough money to buy something, how change is calculated.
TIP: You can swap the play money for real money if you want to make it more ‘real’ for them, especially if you want to add in smaller coins as well.
Aimed at age 4-9 years. RRP £12.99.
When my daughter came home from school during Global Money Week, she was so excited to be learning about money. When I pulled out Magnetic Money, her eyes lit up. There were not just coins but notes as well to play with!
The child selects from a variety of items to buy (or makes up their own) and use the wipeable marker to write down its value. Then they can either:
- Use the magnetic coins to calculate the exact cost of the item; or
- Use a larger denomination note to pay for the item, and calculate the change required from the note which is owed to them
Adults need to be on hand to check whether they have done the sums correctly. If not, they can just keep moving the magnetic coins around until they have.
My daughter really likes the activities on the reverse of the board as well. You can select a note and then work out how to make the same value in smaller coins. At 6 years old, this is probably her favourite part of the game right now.
TIP: Keep the small coins safe. Although they are magnetic, they do tend to end up everywhere!
Money Match Café
Aimed at 5-8 year olds. RRP £12.50.
If you have children who enjoy creating elaborate tea and cake from their make-believe restaurants, they will love Money Match Cafe.
Creating a café with their own teddies and dolls as customers, children can use role play to add up the coins to match the price of a meal and serve it to the correct customer. The player to serve all their meals first wins!
My girls get total absorbed in playing this game – they don’t even realise that they are learning about money handling which is fabulous. Plus they love having their dolls as their ‘real’ customers.With two levels of difficulty for progressive play (the harder version has smaller denominations of coins), it suits both older and younger children within the 5-8 year age range. We are still on the easiest level so there is lots of life in this game. My 4 year old does need some assistance with adding up the coins but enjoys playing and counting the coins.
TIP: Orchard Toys have a free activity sheet all about coins – see here to download.
Taking the role play theme one step further is the immersive learning experience that is Kidzania.
KidZania London is an experience for children 4-14 years old where kids can choose from more than 60 real-life role-play adventures.
The idea at Kidzania is that just as in the real world, children can earn and spend money when taking part in various activities. The Kidzania currency – kidZos – can be used in all the KidZania cities around the world.
When you check in, children each get 50 ‘kidZos’ from the Bank of KIdzania. They then go off and independently explore the real-life activities – they can become a dentist, work at a TV studio or in the pit lane as an engineer, earning and spending on leisure pursuits as they go.
What a fantastic place – we can’t wait to visit this summer. See here to get your reduced tickets in advance.
If you want to learn more about teaching children about money through pocket money, check out my post on RoosterMoney, a digital pocket money tracker.