When it comes to teaching kids about money, we know starting early is a smart decision! There are terrific resources to help young children learn their first financial lessons.
But what can we use to teach older kids and teens about money?
Improving teens' financial literacy is incredibly important. A 2017 study released by the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed more than one in five (22 percent) of U.S. teenage students lack fundamental financial literacy skills.
But basic skills aren’t enough! And even if students have basic skills and understand basic financial rules of thumb, they don’t always know how to put their knowledge to use.
Teens need to become financially savvy by doing things like avoiding consumer debt, using high-interest savings accounts and capitalizing on compounding interest, and learning the basics of investing.
Age-Appropriate Money Games and Activities for Teens
Parents and educators can help kids learn about money by providing interesting and relevant, age-appropriate material. There are many free resources online. But it’s important to consider the quality of the resources.
Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy
You may want to start by researching the Jump$tart Coalition for Financial Literacy. They have a Clearinghouse of publications, games, teaching plans, and other resources designed to teach financial responsibility.
You can search by grade level and resource type, depending on your needs. Many products are free, but you can scale your search based on your budget too.
An example of what you can find in the Jump$start Clearinghouse is the NEFE High School Financial Planning Program. The National Endowment for Financial Education developed this program for students in 8th-12th grade.
This free resource is divided into six topics: Planning, Borrowing, Earning Capability, Investing, Financial Services, and Insurance. It includes downloadable study guides, learning activities, and a growing collection of online resources.
High school students can also take a free NEFE online course called CashCourse.
SaveAndInvest.org is a project of the FINRA Investor Education Foundation. It offers free, unbiased resources dedicated to improving people’s financial health.
Moneytopia is a free immersive game helping teens learn more about managing their money while having fun online. There is also a page of short video guides for teaching your teen more about topics including the power of compound interest and how much apartment living will cost.
FamZoo is an award-winning app acting as a private family banking system. It's designed to help parents teach kids to earn, save, spend, and donate money wisely in a safe, friendly environment.
Parents define the virtual family bank rules to match their family’s unique values. And this tool helps busy parents teach their children about money in the most realistic setting possible – daily family life!
Cash Crunch Money Games
Have you heard about Cash Crunch Games? Created by Paul Vasey, a former Business Studies teacher from the UK, these money games are fun and educational. His goal with Cash Crunch Games is to put what he learned from teaching with his knowledge about money to improve students’ financial literacy.
The Women Who Money Team interviewed Paul, and he shared that many students are intimidated by money because they associate it with math. Cash Crunch games aim to change students' attitudes toward money! Paul wants kids to realize they'll deal with money daily and a basic understanding of math can help them make better financial decisions.
Cash Crunch Games show students the difference between making smart, foolish, or even wasteful choices with money. Shifting behaviors and fears from negatives into positives while playing with money in a virtual world is fun and not intimidating.
Cash Crunch Games are available in different options. Cash Crunch 101 is a free online game for high school and college students to help them learn how spending patterns can quickly break a budget. It has been recently updated with even more features!
A family board game called Cash Crunch Junior is for ages 7-12. It encourages family conversations about money, social responsibility and family values.
Act Your Wage!
If Dave Ramsey and his debt-free screams help you keep your budget in line, you might try playing his money game – Act Your Wage! This board game aims to interest kids 10 and up. They'll practice saving, spending, and giving along with discussing everyday expenses. Keeping an emergency fund over $1000 is the goal as you try to win this fun family game.
Daytrader: A Financial Board Game (2-6 players, 10+)
While the Daytrader game may seem expensive, it has some terrific reviews! It’s shorter than Monopoly and according to reviews, it “teaches some of the concepts of the financial markets and business management decisions in a way that kids don't really know they're learning!” Many reviewers said it is a family game and college-age and older kids enjoy it too.
Online Financial Games and Apps for Teens
The Stock Market Game is an engaging online simulation of the global capital markets. It’s appropriate for kids in grades 4-12 and introduces them to economics, investing, and personal finance. Over 17 million kids have used The Stock Market Game!
Practical Money Skills is an award-winning global financial literacy initiative from Visa.
There are lesson plans on a variety of money topics for Pre-K through college-age students, including students with special needs. Educational games on the site include:
- Financial Football
- Financial Soccer
- Road Trip To Savings
The Council for Economic Education developed an online personal finance game for teens called Gen I Revolution. This game gives kids the chance to learn important skills. They can also compete with their friends!
For online resources specifically on investing check out our article – What Resources Are Best To Introduce Investing To My Teen?
Post updated, March 31, 2019