Teaching Kids About Money and Valuing Things

When T indirectly broke my tablet’s power adapter, he said non-chalantly, “Just get a new one.”

“And where do you think the money is going to come from?” I asked him.

Without flinching, he said, “I’ll open the pig’s bum,” referring to his piggy bank.

Yes, a power adapter wasn’t super expensive. But it did highlight T’s lack of awareness about the value of things.

In fairness, he’s 6 and he has the rest of his life to figure out money, work, and all that.

But it’s important to me that T learns at an early age to value things, to know that things are earned, and to not be wasteful.

At an early age, my parents told me to finish every grain of rice on my plate, because farmers work hard to harvest a single grain of rice. They cautioned that every grain not eaten meant one pimple on our future spouse’s face.

For individuals with FASD, the concept of money is a difficult one to learn, even at adulthood.

When T received his prognosis of at-risk FASD, I read up everything I could about it.

I focused – and yes, in some cases, obsessed – on things I knew were possibilities down the road, like behaviour, speech, reading, etc.

Understanding and working with money was also something I always knew we’d want to work with T on at different points in his life.

At a young age, it’s just letting them be aware that things have monetary cost and value. That’s why it’s important to take care of what we have.

In the last three weeks, his senior kindergarten class have been learning about money.

They are simple lessons focusing on Canadian coins: the twoonie ($2), loonie ($1), quarter, dime (10 cents) and nickel (5 cents).

I created this little simple learning tool for him and we’ve been practicing with it from time to time, including on weekends.

As with every other thing, the best way T learns is a hands on way and when he has fun.

Two weekends ago, I created a little grocery game to play and learn together with T.

I found 5 items I knew he enjoyed and made them grocery items he had to buy with coins I gave him, including his Pediasure for $2, Oreo cookies for 25 cents and a Starburst candy for 5 cents.

And yes, I know what you’re thinking, whatever money he spends, he’ll get back from the tooth fairy with all that sugar!

Since he is inseparable from his stuffed toys these days, Moo Moo got to play the grocery store cashier.

First, we did a review of the coins using the tool I made as well as a school worksheet (below).

I asked T to pick one item at a time to bring to the cashier. Then I asked him which coin he had to spend to pay for the item.

The twoonie and loonies were easy. He found the small coins harder to distinguish.

With that said, never underestimate T. I was puzzled as to why he didn’t give me the quarter for the 25 cent purchase when it was the last item and last coin standing.

Then he showed it to me. “It’s not the same!”

Turns out, he had an American quarter and not the Canadian quarter.

So technically he was correct. At the currency exchange, he could’ve gotten two more Oreos!

It was a fun exercise to do. I think some of the concepts stuck with him and we will just keep practicing this over time. He’s still young.

If all he got out of this exercise was that things cost money and are not free, it’s a win!

15 thoughts on “Teaching Kids About Money and Valuing Things

  1. So true and very valuable my friend. In today’s world of easily able to buy anything with credit cards and consumer culture, it is important for to teach our kid’s how to save and the value of money. Me & my wife made some huge financial mistakes but we are learning and becoming wiser. My son on the other hand , I’m proud of. He has been buying and selling via eBay as his business starting lockdown last year. He sold all his Legos, old Pokémon’s and we’d been treasure hunting at stores for cheap bargains that sells well on line. He’s also into stocks. Crazy cause he is only 15. So now we all head to clearance and sale section every time we entire stores. Thank you for sharing this post, it is truly vital and timely. Happy weekend.

    1. Everything you learned in life clearly transferred and made an impression on your son. How wonderful to hear at only 15 he has become quite the entrepreneur. Many reasons to be proud indeed!

      1. I hope to help him avoid the mistakes me and his mom has made. I hope really just for him to be happy and free in whatever he does when he grows into adulthood. We don’t have to conform with society and traditions because it can be a trap for many. Happy Sunday my friend.

  2. I love this! It was a horrible day with my grandson. I tried to explain how much money it will cost us to replace all the damage he did. I think I will do something similar with him! Thank you!

    1. Oh no. I’m very sorry to hear about your grandson. 😞 I hope things will be ok in the long run with whatever happened!

    1. Thank you, Yari. It was fun indeed. The best way to learn and have fun at the same time. And I make sure to get the money back after the game! 🤣

  3. Great job! The concept of money and time are two issues we deal with as well. They are just abstract enough to make them complicated. You made money very concrete with this exercise. Great idea!

    1. Thanks Robyn. Time is definitely another one I can see being a challenging one with kids with T’s prognosis from what I read. They briefly introduced that concept as well this year. Joys of parenting. 🤣

  4. I love how creative you are at finding ways to teach T that align to his style of learning. And look at you being so inclusive and incorporating Moo Moo into your grocery game. The picture of the Giant Nickel is very fitting for this post. It brings back such fond memories for me of Northern Ontario.

    1. Thank you, L! Moo Moo needs to be part of everything these days if we want him to do it. 🤣 I love the Giant nickel photo too cuz it reminds me happy Roadtrip days. Two more months till the next one!

      1. I guess that means Moo Moo will be coming with you on your next road trip! By the way, did you know that there is also a Loonie Statue? I totally missed this when we visited Northern Ontario last summer, so I’m planning to make a detour there when we return this year since it’s along the drive.

      2. You’ll have to let me know about where the Loonie is. We found the twoonie at Campbellford last fall on the way to Ferris.

        Moo Moo comes to the car with us. 🙂 He will definitely be part of our upcoming Roadtrip. 😊

      3. I found out about the Twoonie from your visit to Ferris last year. Naturally we had to check it out when we returned to Ferris this year as part of our Parks Challenge. The Loonie is located in Echo Bay just outside of Sault Ste. Marie. It’s a short detour from the Trans-Canada Highway.

      4. I seem to recall you mentioned it before. Will have to take a look when we go drive up north. Oh wait, I think we did drive by the Loonie come to think of it. Ok will keep in mind this summer roadtrip!

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