One of my stepkids recently won a raffle to buy a new pair of super-exclusive sneakers for $100.
He quickly resold them for over $1000. (And right now they’re reselling for over $4,000.)
Whether or not any of that makes sense, we used the experience talk about making, saving, and investing money.
Our family talks a lot about money. The kids get an allowance, we share our family budget spreadsheet, and we shop carefully to compare prices and values.
Many studies find that financial education (both in school and at home) results in positive, long-term outcomes. But money can be a surprisingly difficult subject to teach.
Concepts that seem obvious to parents lead to endless “but why” questions from kids. And it’s easy to teach kids the basic rules of personal finance (like “spend less than you save”), but hard to teach kids (or adults) how to make those rules stick.
So, to make this job easier for parents, author and personal finance expert Brynne Conroy has curated the excellent list below of interactive, self-guided resources to help parents teach kids about money.
Best Apps to Teach Your Kids About Money
I don’t know about you, but my kids’ favorite ‘toy’ is the phone. If they’re going to be spending time playing games anyway, might as well make it educational!
Here are some of the best mobile apps to teach your kids about money.
VISA Practical Skills
VISA’s Practical Skills is an education hub and series of apps built for children of all ages. Each app teaches a specific concept geared at a specific age group:
- Peter Pig’s Money Counter. Ages 5-8. Teaches your child how to identify coins, how to count out exact change and age-appropriate concepts like more than/less than.
- Cash Puzzler. Ages 3-6. If you child isn’t ready for Peter Pig, VISA has another app for you! The cash puzzler lets children put together pictures of paper bills of all denominations.
- Money Metropolis. Ages 7-12. As your child enters their preteen years, Money Metropolis lets them prep for real world money situations. Your child will look for work, which may include babysitting or lawn care. They’ll practice managing their own money, whether they build their savings or head to the virtual store for some shopping.
- Roadtrip to Savings. Ages 8-15. This app also teaches your child about income, expenses and savings through the lens of a road trip. This app introduces more complex costs like auto insurance.
- Countdown to Retirement. Ages 8-15. Your child will get a career, salary and retirement account. As they make lifestyle choices throughout the game, they’ll see how these decisions affect their long-term financial health.
- The Payoff. Ages 14+. Alex and Jess are just two YouTube Vloggers trying to make it in the big world. When their day does arrive, they have to make important business and personal finance decisions quickly. Your child will get to make those decisions. If they’re unhappy with the outcome, they can simply play again to learn a more effective way to manage their money.
- Financial Soccer & Football. Ages 11+. Financial trivia apps where correct answers help you advance down the field. The football version lets you pick your NFL team!
Coinoscope is a fun app that helps your children learn about coins from a numismatic perspective. You take a picture of the coin, and then the app identifies it. It tells you where it’s from, how much it’s worth and more. Perfect for the aspiring coin collector. Plus, it works on foreign coins, too.
Renegade Buddies gamifies comparison shopping. First, your character careens down a racetrack, attempting to pick up coins and dodge grocery items. If you hit the coins, you get money. If you hit the grocery items, you have to pay up.
Let’s say you hit a tuna can. You’d have to pick which brand of tuna you wanted to purchase, ideally choosing the brand with the lowest price per ounce.
Best YouTube Channels to Teach Your Kids About Money
If your child prefers to binge some educational programming, YouTube has you covered. Just remember, as always, that while some content may be kid-friendly on YouTube, advertising often isn’t unless you switch over to YouTube Kids.
Crash Course is an entertaining YouTube channel that takes deep dives into academic topics. They have plenty of financial content. While there are a few videos focused on personal finance, here your children are more likely to learn about larger economic concepts like wealth inequality, monetary and fiscal policy, accounting, small business finance and the like.
Take a minute to watch a few Crash Course videos yourself before recommending them to your teen. While none of the humor is incredibly vulgar, this is not Crash Course’s Kids channel. Some parents may feel it approaches a line, while others will judge it as PG-13 and perfectly acceptable.
You may have watched countless numbers of TED talks in the past, but did you know they also have a Kids YouTube channel? TED-Ed is great for kids around ages 7-14, with straightforward, digestible videos on even the most complex topics.
The TED-Ed More money more problems playlist covers a wide range of topics like economics, money’s role in happiness and money laundering.
Secret Millionaires Club
Warren Buffett stars in a kids’ TV show! Secret Millionaires Club is currently available via YouTube, and teaches kids the soft skills and investing concepts that have made Buffett monetarily successful within the American economic system.
Best TV Shows to Teach Your Kids About Money
After you’ve exhausted all the money goodness on YouTube, you can check out these TV shows that present personal and business finances to your children in an entertaining way.
The Toy Box
The Toy Box on ABC was a fun twist on Sharktank. Toy inventors pitched their product to a team of traditional sharks, but that’s not where the show focused. Instead, it focused on the next step: A panel of kids who played with and reviewed all the toys, crowning one a winner above all others.
PBS Kids Cyberchase
Cyberchase is a PBS Kids show that covers a lot of ground, but specifically hones in on money as one of its core topics. So much so that on the Cyberchase portion of PBS Kids’ website, you can filter episodes of the show. That way you can find the ones that relate to money management. You’ll also be able to find games, crafts and printables on the same topic.
BizKid$ originally aired on public television, but now you can catch all six seasons online. In this show – geared towards kids ages 7+ — kids teach other kids about money in a relevant way. Its digestible format has made the show so popular that it has been adopted as a recommended educational resource by many states.
The website also has games, lessons plans and a printable business plan for your child. All for free.
Best Workbooks to Teach Your Kids About Money
If your kid’s a bookworm or simply learns better when they apply the numbers to their own life with pen and paper, you’ll want to check out these financial literacy books for kids.
How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000
One episode of BizKid$ in particular has been so popular that it now comes with an accompanying workbook. How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000 covers the basics of financial literacy, cultural norms surrounding professionalism and investing your money for growth.
It does all this in an engaging, fun way. It’s inclusive of visual learners with plenty of supportive diagrams and flow charts.
American Girl Money Series
American Girl has a series of money books for preteen girls. The most recent and relevant prints for your Gen Z child are:
- A Smart Girl’s Guide to Money. This book covers the basics on saving, spending and earning. There is a heavy emphasis on entrepreneurship, which is a very positive skill for a young girl to learn. Women have consistently led the entrepreneurial space in terms of overall growth over the past couple decades. Your daughter may end up joining their ranks one day.
- Making Money. If you want something even more focused on business finances, Making Money is a good pick. It helps your daughter generate ideas for how she can start making money right now, and then guides her through the financial concepts she’ll need to run and maintain a business.
Games and videos related to these books are integrated throughout the Play section of the American Girl website.
Simple Path to Wealth
If you have a high school or college student, they’re the target audience for The Simple Path to Wealth. Investing expert JL Collins wrote it for his daughter when she herself was in young adulthood. It teaches the same methods Jack Bogle preached regarding investing and index funds, and lays out a simple way to implement those concepts – even if your kid’s not remotely interested in high finance.
This book can help your child be prepared for retirement. Depending on your child’s lifestyle choices, it can help them learn how to reach that retirement much earlier than age 65, too.
Best Websites to Teach Your Kids About Money
Whether your children are identifying coins in preparation for Kindergarten or getting ready to put their very own budget to the test for the first time in their lives, these websites can help your kids get a firmer grasp on their finances.
US Mint Kids Site
The US Mint’s Kids Site teaches you all about the coins themselves. Geared towards elementary students, this site encourages coin collecting with a digital coin library, videos and games. It can even be used to support the Coin Collector badge if your student is enrolled in BSA.
You Are Here
You Are Here is the FTC’s website to teach kids about becoming smart consumers. In different sections of the You Are Here virtual mall, you will learn about different concepts. The West Terrace educates you about advertising techniques while the food court teaches about healthy competition vs monopolies. Head to the East Terrace to learn about deals that are too-good-to-be-true, and wrap up at the Security Plaza to learn how to protect your identity online and IRL.
Presented by the National Foundation for Financial Education (NEFE), CashCourse is a fully-online financial literacy course for college students. It teaches them about career and money, budgeting, saving, investing, insurance, debt and college financing.
You don’t technically have to be a college student to sign up for a free account. High schoolers can also benefit from the lessons taught in CashCourse – or even adults who want to brush up on their personal finance skills.
Jump$tart Reality Check
Jump$tart’s Reality Check is a quick, online questionnaire that helps your child’s expectations of money in adulthood match up with the likely reality. The tool’s primary goal is to provide your child with a ballpark income that would support their desired lifestyle.
It’s important to note, though, that the calculator runs on national averages. Depending on where you live, that means the estimate may be too low or too high depending on your local economy.
What Resources Do You Recommend?
If you have a favorite book, app, video, or other tools for helping kids learn about money, please share it here in the Tiller Money Community.
In this time of increased home teaching, your suggestions will be especially helpful!