“A penny saved is a penny earned” – says pretty much nobody, anymore. And while you may not miss that clichéd saying, it’s a fact that, too often, children grow up without access to basic financial literacy education. Across the country, formal financial education in schools is scant to non-existent, which means it’s up to parents and other care givers to teach kids the all-important life skills of financial literacy.
4‑H is here to help. That’s why we’ve collaborated with the financial services firm TD Ameritrade to create a new series of research-backed financial literacy activities that make it easy and fun for parents to educate their kids on the value of financial literacy, the hidden costs of credit, and other essential money smarts.
These activities are geared toward children from grades 5 to 10 to ensure we’re reaching kids when they are old enough to understand money, but before they’ve likely started earning it and spending it for themselves. The goal? To give the next generation the tools they need to make smart financial decisions throughout their lives. Giving young people those tools will help ensure them develop a healthy relationship with money and finances rooted in practicality, and not in fear or impulse.
Check out the activities below to keep your kids engaged and learning.
- Do I Really Need That?: You might want a new pair of headphones or sneakers, but do you truly need them? In this intuitive and fun exercise, kids learn the difference between wants and needs, and begin thinking about budgeting and prioritizing to get the things they need, and maybe some of the things they want, too.
- Better than a Piggy Bank (Coming soon!): Through hands-on internet-based research, kids learn the differences between community banks, national banks, online-only banks and member-based credit unions, and the pros and cons of each.
- Charge It?: Credit cards are helpful in many ways, but if you don’t pay your bills in full each month, their cost adds up – fast. In this activity, kids pick something they really want, then figure out the true cost of buying it with a credit card.
These and other fun activities live within the 4‑H STEM Lab, our home for a wide variety of hands-on activities designed to instill curiosity and critical thinking, and to help kids develop critical skills to be prepared for life. They’re fun, easy to do, take less than an hour, and each comes with a level-of-messy rating, so you know what you’re in for.
Don’t worry: These financial literacy activities are no-mess. Fizzy Foam Fun, on the other hand, rates higher in the messy meter with its colorful foam fountain.
TD Ameritrade is committed to delivering financial education and helping people build confidence to make smarter, more disciplined financial decisions. Like us, they understand that learning about personal finance while building life skills like mindfulness, impulse control and goal setting can help set young people on a pathway to financial health. With access to the right tools and mentors, we can help young people establish healthy financial behaviors early on, helping them avoid common financial pitfalls and making them more likely to achieve financially healthy futures.
We’re proud to work with TD Ameritrade to help make that job easier – and more fun –by offering these valuable resources to all parents and educators.
Tell us what you think, and what you’d like to see more of, by reaching out to us on social media.
Please keep in mind TD Ameritrade® commentary is for educational purposes only. Member SIPC. All investing involves risks, including risk of loss.