It has come to be that one of the first brushes with technology that children today experience is through iPads which parents, or other family members, gift them either as toys, helpful distractions, or unabashed symbols of wealth. Whatever the reason maybe, such interactive technological gadgets have transformed how and when children learn to identify and process visual information. It makes sense then to redirect this interest towards some very early lessons in money-making and financial responsibility as well.
Children pick up lessons far more easily when they are presented in a narrative or game form, a fact that the following apps capitalise on really well.
This is a free app inspired by that old classic ‘piggybank’, which today’s children may not necessarily be aware of. The virtual version of this piggybank lets the young players have a solid view of their allotted allowance and how it is being spent. The focus is on savings, and on the avoidance of over-spending.
2.Save! The Game
This game comes equipped with a 3D-enabled fantasy set-up where the children can accumulate money and then go about smartly managing it. The key benefit of this game is that it asks the players to make smart expense decisions in favour of ‘needs’ and not ‘wannas’ (wants). That is a financial reminder that even adults need from time to time!
Use this game to teach some subtle financial lesson to your younger children, especially if they are exposed to an environment where there is paid help for most chores at home. This game has won approval, and awards, from parents as it teaches children everyday financial decisions that can lead to a happy life – doing stuff like walking the dog yourself, as opposed to spending on help.
4.Bank of Mom (by Gomu Gomu)
This game will help kids keep up with these times of plastic currency and credit. This app is parent-controlled in the sense that you (the bank) can allot lines of credit (based on the allowance) to your children and allow them to ‘withdraw’ from these accounts – these transactions then you can even email to your kids and start discussions. The players can also ‘bank’ time, meaning they can get extra credits for doing some chores, and they can use them to finance leisure activities.
5.Kids Money (by Apps Rocket)
This popular game is free and fun. And it will teach your child something precious – matching every expense with long-term income. The game lets players input their wished for expenses and draws up a timeline based on the allotted allowance. So, the game will tell your child that a $50 purchase on a $10 per-week allowance will take 5 weeks of nil spending. The best feature – the game adjusts the timeline when your income gets hit by any other sudden expense.
This game’s focus is on a ‘Wish List’. Premised on the same match-allowance-with-expenses idea, it enhances the experience through historical records of purchases made, in case the kids want to go back and reassess if they made the right purchases, and even lets them visualise their wish list items through photo additions.
Everyone will admit to some celebrity obsession, and kids are no exceptions. Teach them some valuable money lessons by virtually letting them manage the money their favourite celebrity earns, and is likely to overspend! Children learn to keep their client in control, but still satisfied with life of course. We all want that, celebrity or not!
This one is very interesting. This app is an extension of the music-based educational awareness work done by Alex Rappaport and Blake Harrison. It includes videos of rap songs whose impressive lyrics talk about a variety or finance related subjects, like investments, careful spending, etc. Perfect for tweens!
9.Motion Math: Cupcake
What’s the best way of learning how to manage money? Running a business! This app will let your kid run a cupcake business, navigating through the decisions that keep the venture successful and the customers happy.
This app will interest the older children capable of understanding more complex financial manoeuvres. The app lets the players use prepaid debit cards attached to parent-controlled bank accounts for their expenses, closely reflecting real-life where our payments are closely monitored and can be kept track of through savings accounts statements.