Summer is my favorite season! It’s the most fun-filled and relaxing time of the year! It’s the time of year that parents anticipate that their children will be given the opportunity to go on vacation or attend summer camps. Activities such as these, children sometimes enjoy with their grandparents, uncles or aunts; this affords parents the opportunity to have a mini vacation from parenting. Now, with all the fun that is enjoyed during the summer, there are so many opportunities to introduce money activities into the lives of children.
I consider summertime to be one of the most important times of the year to educate children about money. Generally, children have more free time during this season and as a result, they have access to a lot more money. With this available money, children buy snacks from the local store or ice cream trucks within the neighborhood. During their summer travels, they are given extra cash to purchase souvenirs and other fun things. While vacationing, they also observe as their parents spend a lot of money on activities, such as theme parks, museums, airfares, or in preparation for summer outdoor activities, such as pool parties and cookouts. All these activities create opportunities to teach children about money in a fun way!
Money Lesson Activities
Here is a list of four money lesson activities you can complete with your children during the summer. The goal of each of these activities is to show children how to develop a budget and price compare, all while having fun. These money lesson activities will not only educate your children about money, it will make them feel proud to be a part of the decision making process.
1. Family vacation planning. Ask your children for three summer vacation ideas and encourage then to evaluate the cost of the each idea. For example, let’s say one of the activities is a trip to a theme park. Ask them to identify what are the standards costs for attending the theme park (i.e. Epcot Center at Disney World). They should also consider whether there are any special deals or discounts (such as Florida resident discounts) for the applicable park. They should evaluate the family’s mode of travel (car, flying, train, bus, etc.). What are the different options for lodging while there, consider things such as hotels on Disney’s campus, local area hotels, renting homes (depending on the size of the family or friends attending), and various ratings of hotels. Finally, ask them to consider the cost of food during the vacation. Last but certainly not least, remind them that though we wish it did, money doesn’t “grow on trees,” so they will be provided with a budget for the entire trip. This will allow them to prioritize which aspects of the vacation are more important to them.
2. Pool party grocery shopping. Generally, children are “simple” when it comes to eating, therefore they may be able to create a fairly straightforward menu for the event. You should encourage them to create the menu and consider everything that will be needed to “round out” the menu. An example would be hot dogs. Make sure they understand that having hot dogs will include not only the hot dogs, but also the bread, mustard, ketchup, relish, onions and any other condiments that may be included. This is also an opportunity to help them consider healthier eating habits. Ask them to create a food list, to include items from the food plate (choosemyplate.gov). You can use this as another opportunity to teach them the importance of planning. With proper planning they are able to watch for when items on their list go on sale, identify applicable coupons, buy in bulk and compare prices at different stores to ensure that they obtain the best price for the items being acquired.
3. Bake sale. Fun time in the kitchen can quickly be turned into a money making venture! All the time spent figuring out how much it costs to make those cookies and cupcakes in the kitchen will help to determine what price those goodies need to be sold at to turn a profit. Remember to include a cost for your time, for you time is just as valuable as the brown sugar used in the dough. Help them turn their passion into a profit producing business. From lemonade stands to tutoring services the options for children are infinite.
4. Volunteer during the summer! The importance of giving back to others is one of the greatest lessons you can teach a child. As evidenced in the Bake Sale, your time is just as valuable as the money that is given to help charitable organizations operate. Volunteering is the key to economic regeneration! It teaches children humanity, humility and lets them know that they are important and needed in the world.
Enjoy these fun-filled money lesson activities and share them with your family and friends!