Autumn has a great idea for teaching preschoolers about money:
The best way to start out is to make money as concrete as possible. When my children were first given an allowance, they struggled to understand that $1.00 was the same as four quarters. So, we made a handy conversion chart for them using a flat cardboard box. Inside, on one side we glued a dollar, a quarter, a dime, and a nickel. On the other side we glued four quarters, two dimes and a nickel, two nickels, and five pennies. The side-by-side comparison showed the kids how to exchange their bills and coins for other denominations. It took practice and parental support, but they eventually got it. Making money concepts concrete really seemed to speed up the process for them.
If you're looking for a little more guidance, the folks behind the Portland-based Tessy & Tab Reading Club have put together a fabulous Preschool Money Manager Kit. It includes an array of colorful charts and lists (all printable from the web site, by the way), three Tessy & Tab books about basic financial topics, and a seven-step parent guide, and a sturdy cardboard save/spend/share bank called the Moonjar Moneybox kids make themselves.
I can't say enough about this little kit. It's well-designed, the advice is sound and encourages independence, and it does a perfect job of taking abstract ideas and long-term goals and making them concrete. I think it's a great value at $24.95. And while they peg the age range at 2-6, these concepts are good for just about any kid and parent. I intend to use it with my kindergartner (That's right! She's no longer in preschool!), and I'm sure my 3rd grade son will love it, too (he can't wait for her Tessy & Tab books to come in the mail). A great product, and an awesome gift.
Win it! Wayyyyy too long since we had a fun giveaway. Judy, the very kind co-founder of the company, will gladly send a Preschool Money Manager Kit to one lucky Parenthacker! To enter, leave a comment with your answer this question:
How have you taught your kids about money (so far)?
If your child isn't yet allowance-age, just give us your best tip from childhood, or anything else you think is relevant. I'll pick the winner at random tomorrow at 5pm PST. Good luck!