learning-about-moneyI want . . .

Parents often hear these words from their young children, perhaps after they saw a shiny new toy on a commercial, as they’re walking down the cereal aisle in the grocery store or after a classmate got a cool new outfit.

This can feel frustrating, but the reality is that your preschooler can’t understand the concept of money—or budgets or what you can afford—the way an adult can. It’s not too soon to start to teach your child about money, though (because advertisers are sure targeting them already!), and there are effective ways to engage your preschooler.

Tips from CitizensBank.com

When teaching your child about money, be sure to:

  • Keep it fun! Sing songs, color pictures, play games. When you’re teaching concepts, make sure your tone is lighthearted and friendly.
  • Watch for the right moments. When you make a grocery list, you can talk to your child about what your options are. When you deposit money into your bank, explain what that means.
  • Don’t overcomplicate matters. Remember that your child is still young. Start with the basics and then answer his or her questions.

The basics to impart include:

  • You need money to buy things.
  • There are wants and there are needs.
  • There are limits to how much money you have, so choices need to be made.
  • Once money is spent, it’s gone.
  • Saving money is important, for use in the future.
  • You can’t always trust advertisements.

Here are more specific methods to make learning about money fun.


Here’s how this site puts your child’s level of knowledge into context: “your kid is probably already growing curious as to how those mysterious, rectangular pieces of paper work and what those coins of different colors and sizes really amount to.”

The site also offers plenty of money-related games and activities, including these free downloads:


This site shares books that are appropriate for preschoolers, such as Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst; If You Made a Million by David M. Schwartz; and The Berenstain Bears’ Trouble with Money by Stan Berenstain.

A simple game is Money Toss. You only need a container, such as a bowl, plus coins. Have your child toss coins into the container and then count how many landed as heads; how many as tails. You can also cut out rectangles of poster board and then hot glue coins on them in different combinations (two to a piece, with a dividing line drawn down the middle). Play dominoes!


This site encourages shorter lessons to jive with a preschooler’s typical attention span. Ideas include:

  • Play bank or store. Exchange money with your child—10 pennies for two nickels, for example.
  • Make sure that your child gets his or her own piggy bank and encourage saving. (What kind of bank would your child like?)
  • Buy your child a toy cash register.

Looking to enrich your child’s learning and life? Horizon Education Center provides affordable quality care, including educational and enrichment opportunities for children in the following Northeast Ohio locations.

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