Money Smarts

Barbara J. Feldman

Whether you use chocolate chips, monopoly money, or actual coins, it’s never too early to start learning about money. This week’s roundup of sites offer games and interactive tools to help kids and teens gain financial literacy.

  • Count My Beanz5 stars

    At three to eight years old, your child may be too young to manage an actual bank accounts but this doesn't mean they can't start learning about them. With a Beanz account, kids receive a virtual currency controlled by a parent. They can then put their Beanz into a savings or checking account and watch it grow. This is a fun way to reward kids for doing their chores or being on their best behavior. If you choose to, you can later reward kids by redeeming their Beanz for money or other rewards.

  • Gazillionaire5 stars

    Have you ever fought with your kids to stop playing video games and to go do something educational instead? The fight is over! There are plenty of educational video games that very young kids enjoy that teach them how to count or read, but not much that captures older kids' imaginations. Gazillionaire enables kids to start their own interplanetary trading company. While they compete with cool characters (and their own friends) to earn the most, they learn about supply and demand, borrowing, saving, taxes, and being an entrepreneur.

  • Planet Orange5 stars

    With cool animation, bright colors, and fun games, kids will be entranced. However, in order to earn "obux" to "purchase" games, they must explore Planet Orange, which means watching animated lessons and taking quizzes about money, saving, and spending. The animations help make concepts like wages clear while maintaining children's interest.

  • ThreeJars.com5 stars

    At ThreeJars.com, kids have three "jars" of money that represent real money their parents owe them: one for saving, one for spending, and one for sharing or donating. They earn money by doing chores around the house and parents can deposit allowances or gifts (or dock pay for a job poorly done) straight from their cell phones. Parents can also withdraw money quickly and easily when their kids start asking for things. Kids learn the value of money without parents having to relinquish any control.

  • Tykoon5 stars

    Similar in concept to ThreeJars.com, Tykoon teaches kids financial responsibility by giving them the opportunity to earn rewards through good behavior and doing chores. Tykoon is unique, however, in that it enables parents to offer rewards that are not necessarily tied to currency. In addition to using it as a tool to teach your kids about money, you can also provide unique rewards such as extra online time or having a friend sleep over. Kids then set goals and save towards them. Tykoon also encourages kids to make donations to kid-friendly charities. Kids are able to spend the money they earn on Tykoon directly on Amazon through Tykoon's store, which only features specially approved, kid-friendly products.

  • Honorable Mentions

    The following links are either new discoveries or sites that didn't make it into my newspaper column because of space constraints. Enjoy!


    Cite This Page

  • Feldman, Barbara. "Money Smarts." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 17 Apr. 2012. Web. 2 Oct. 2014. <http://www.surfnetkids.com/resources/money-smarts/ >.


  • About This Page

  • By . Originally published April 17, 2012. Last modified March 9, 2014.

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