My Money Week: It’s game on when it comes to teaching the X-Box generation essential money skills
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
At one time, the only thing computer games and finance had in common was Mario collecting coins from his defeated enemies. Now, smartphones, tablets and gaming devices are an everyday part of family life even when it comes to managing your finances.
You probably wish you could get your junior gamer to put some of the time they spend clicking and swiping to get to the next level on Candy Crush Saga or Angry Birds to better use.
Here's where the clever, colourful, interactive world of educational apps and websites comes in. If you'd like your offspring to become financial whizz kids in the real world, start them off in these virtual ones, where they can learn important money skills without even realising you're trying to teach them something...
1. BEST FOR: Learning about spending and saving in real-life
WEBSITE: SAVING SQUAD (Ideal for 7-11 year-olds)
The virtual world of Saving Squad features shops, cinemas, restaurants and, of course, a bank, and enables children to create their own online character who can earn, spend and save, just like the real world. They soon learn that if they blow all their digital dosh on one activity it's game over.
Check out the website here.
2. BEST FOR: Learning how to set and reach financial goals
APP: GOLDSTAR SAVINGS BANK (Ideal for 8-16 year-olds)
The Goldstar Savings Bank teaches that financial planning can help children get what they really, really want. Kids decide on something they'd like to save up for and agree a monetary value with their parents for specific Home, School or Leisure tasks or activities - from keeping their room tidy to getting good marks. The app charts tasks on a week-to-week basis so children can see their progress to spur them on to reach their target. A great idea that has received a thumbs up from online communities Mums Business Directory and Mums in the Know, as well as The Guardian.
Try it out here.
3. BEST FOR: Showing how saving money can make you more money
WEBSITE: ROOSTERBANK (Ideal for 8-16 year-olds)
This is an online 'piggy bank' that gives children their own personalised account, from which they can keep track of their pocket money. A dashboard shows how much they have and lets them set saving targets - for example, for a new pair of trainers. As an incentive for them not to splurge, the more they save, the more 'Roostie' interest they earn, which can be exchanged for prizes.
Open a virtual account here.
4. BEST FOR: Introducing children to the concept of debit cards
WEBSITE/APP: GOHENRY (Ideal for 8-18 year olds)
Created by parents who wanted to teach their children how money works in the real world, GoHenry is a website and app which gives children real money on their first debit card, under the control of 'The Bank of Mum and Dad'. Essentially, parents choose how much is available to spend on the card, how much can be spent per day, and where it can be spent. A great app to help your child figure out for themselves how best to manage their pocket money.
Find out more here.
5. BEST FOR: Going right back to financial basics…
APP: TEACHING MONEY(Ideal for 5-11 year olds)
A great tool to introduce children to the everyday basics of using money, this app aims to support what your little ones have learned in the classroom, including how to understand that different coins and notes have different values - a tricky concept to master for young children. Activities include counting up coins, giving change, and matching coins to correct values.
Start counting here.
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