Every parent knows the importance of teaching their children financial literacy in the formative years, but not everyone knows where the little ones actually gain the knowledge and know how. Though some financial concepts are taught in school, there’s a desperate need for parents to fill in the gaps by offering personal advice and guidance before children grow into young adults.
It can be hard to know how to teach a child about finances when it’s not an area of life they’re in control of yet, but many parents are finding that one of the most practical and effective methods is through the use of mobile apps — the language kids speak best. If you’re looking for ways to teach your child financial literacy, consider using one or more of these fun learning apps.
1. Kids Money
Kids Money (free on iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) is basically a savings budget app for kids. Children set savings goals, such as getting a new bike, and enter how much they plan to contribute toward it. The app then shows them the time frame it will take to save for that goal. Learning how much time and planning the expense takes to responsibly save for items they want helps children learn delayed gratification and appreciate the process and the prize that much more.
2. Green$treets: Unleash the Loot
In this app (free for iOS), designed for children ages 5 to 8, kids rescue endangered animals while learning finances through a budget-based care plan. Reviews show that the game’s premise leads children to engage on a more emotional level and play it longer than other finance-related apps.
The classic piggy bank has been teaching children the value of savings for decades. This simple app converts it to an electronic version. Kids can visualize their savings in a virtual piggy bank and track their allowance. Designed for ages 6 to 8, it’s free for iOS devices.
4. Renegade Buggies
This fun, fast-paced shopping game designed for ages 6 to 11 is a race to see who can save the most money within the time limit. Children earn ‘buggie bucks’ to apply toward savings and investment decisions. This one’s so fun, you might find yourself getting sucked into it right along with your child. The app is free for both iOS and Android devices.
5. Celebrity Calamity
Using kids’ interest in their favorite celebrities, this free game compatible with iOS devices puts kids in charge of managing their finances to avoid overspending. Players must keep their celebrity on a budget, but also keep them happy. By extension, kids learn the importance (and challenge) of living within their means, as well as the consequences of overspending.
Ages 7 to 8+
6. Savings Spree
This deluxe Parents’ Choice Award-winning app uses engaging visuals to promote healthy financial habits, teaches the cause/effect relationship of financial decisions, and helps children grasp the emotional and psychological implications of money and assigned value. You can purchase it for $5.99 on iOS devices.
7. Motion Math: Cupcake
It’s never too early to teach kids complex money management skills, as long as its fun. In this app ($4.99 for iOS), kids are responsible for running a cupcake business, managing all costs and revenue while keeping their customers fed and satisfied.
Older children are capable of taking greater responsibility for their personal spending. This app provides a monitored atmosphere that allows children to get hands-on money management experience. Using pre-paid debit cards, parents set up a bank account for their kids that records their savings, spending and giving choices. Although children younger than 13 can certainly participate, the makers recommend parents retain main responsibility.
This music-video app designed for children in 6th to 12th grade hosts educational videos based on rap lyrics, 12 or which deal with personal finance topics like credit, investing, career and banking. A bit costlier than other apps, Flocabulary charges $15/month or $120 a year.
10. Visa Practical Money Skills Apps
These free apps (currently, 6 are offered) created by Visa have something to teach every age range basic money management skills. Give them a shot. Did I mention that they were free?
There are many, many more personal finance apps designed for kids. The concept to remember is that you can make real-world financial education fun and engaging for your children. Check these apps out to start, and look for similar ones that best suit your child’s interests and educational needs.