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We’ve all heard that saying about how money makes the world go around, but how can we prepare our kids to be financially responsible and the best global citizens they can be? Well, why not use money?
OK, so maybe not real cash and coins, but fake money is a great way to teach math, social studies, reading, and writing at home! So pull out your play money and get the kids ready for some fun lessons with dollars and cents.
Teaching social studies with money makes almost as much sense as teaching math with it! First, you can teach your kids about the economy. Introduce simple concepts of trade and bartering before introducing more complex ideas of lending and borrowing.
Once your kids have commerce down, challenge them within the household! Set up your home like a store. You can pay (even with pretend money) your kids for small tasks or chores around the house, but be sure you charge them, too! Put together a list of items that cost but parallel what they earn. For example, a kind word to a sibling might be worth .25 while a mean word to a sibling cost .20.
Raking the yard might be worth $3 while a free-throwing of leaves might cost $2.50. For an added challenge, give your kids surprise bonuses and challenge them to work together to make more money and to share in a prize together.
Teaching reading with money? You might think it’s unlikely, but it makes sense! As you know, I’m huge on traveling with our kids, so start researching places to travel and the cost of that fun experience! I suggest starting with a budget or a region, but then, have your kids research where they want to go and set up a cost-analysis for the trip.
Have them read about what to do at the location in books or on websites. For younger kids, you can help them research, but allow them to do some of the work beyond that. Have your kids include any siblings as well. What would each sibling want to do while traveling?
How much more would that cost? Remember to account for conversions! For an added challenge, have students budget out after the vacation if there are any penalties from (parents) being off work or research the economy at their destination to compare prices.
Teaching math with money just makes sense. Most of us remember being younger and first realizing how counting works with money. Depending on your kid’s age, you might stick to counting within the same family (pennies versus nickels or $1 versus $5), but as your kids grow, you can introduce different families (coins and bills).
Some kids struggle with fractions, but they are a lot easier to understand with money. Put those coins and bills to use to help your mathematicians learn how to manipulate that money like professionals.
For an added challenge or for older kids, introduce other forms of money (Peso, Euro, Franc, Lira) to add conversion and counting for our little global citizens!
Teaching writing with money may sound a bit impossible, but it’s actually easier than you might think! Ask your kids to join in to make the task/chore and cost chart. Brainstorm alone then together, gathering all your ideas.
During this time, start with a list of everything but then weed out what might not be fair. Have them create a budget of what they want to earn each day or week and what they want to spend that money on. Come up with a list of rules and prices together, too. Before you know it, your kids have gone through at least two steps of the writing process!
The reading research activity will also require a lot of writing, but challenge your kids to reflect constantly. You could even have your kids prepare a presentation on why their travel idea is good for the family! For an added challenge, introduce your family budget to your kids and challenge them to start tracking expenses!
Money may make the world go around, but we can use that money to teach math, social studies, reading, and writing all at home!
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