For many of today’s students, having to take and master math has as much appeal as a visit to the dentist. For this reason, the savvy parent recognizes that a little “creativity” and fun can go a long way. It can be considered the equivalent of a mother administering a little honey with a spoon of medicine to make it more palatable. It’s accepted better.
Since money is a currency of exchange that kids can understand and relate to, there are many ways to work monetary concepts into exercises, real life examples, and games to achieve educational goals.
Here are a few things to consider.
- The more relatable the terms and examples used are, the easier it is for today’s student to apply and remember them.
- The earlier that key concepts and applications are understood, recognized, and applied, the stronger a child’s mathematical foundation becomes, and the greater the likelihood for success in future grades.
- Strong math skills can also enhance and contribute to other beneficial traits/qualities like reasoning, problem solving, and financial literacy.
- Remember that practice makes perfect.
With this in mind, here are 5 fun and mathematical ways to teach your child about money.
Allow the little ones to accompany you to the next visit to your local grocers. This “field trip” can be a great experience for learners of all ages and levels to be exposed to percentages and discounts by way of in store sales and manufacturer’s coupons. Go even further. Allow them to pay for merchandise purchased, and as a “brain teaser” see if they can calculate change due back without the assistance of the cash register tally.
2.Play with coins
Purchase rolls of coins from a local currency exchange, or obtain them from your neighborhood bank. Coins are a great way to teach percentages. For example, a quarter would be ¼ or 25% of a dollar. A dime would be 10% and so on.
3. Give gifts
With the holidays right around the corner, it’s a perfect time to teach budgeting in terms of gift giving. Allocate a certain amount for gifts to be purchased for family and friends. This also will teach good decision making and spending within one’s means.
4.Add a language
Combine math, money and counting with a language lesson. Why not have kids to learn how to say and write denominations in Spanish or Chinese?
5.Be the banker
Add banking to the equation. Next time you’re preparing bills, explain the purpose of a checking account and how “paper money” works. Show how as each bill is paid, the amount is deducted (subtracted) from the original amount. Savings accounts can also be used to explain concepts like interest and percentages. These transactions are useful ways to teach monetary economics and to improve your children’s financial literacy for future times.
Apply these five tips to your efforts to enhance your children’s aptitude in math, spending, and the money equation. Doing so will help them to be better equipped not just for school, but as future workers and consumers.
Troy Edwards writes for the blog “What is Economics?” where you can learn about and study economics 101. He has been in education for 10 years as a teacher and administrator. Currently, Troy is a math and social studies teacher in a special settings school for disadvantaged students.