When did you start teaching your kids about money? Have you started yet? How did you know where to begin?
In some cases, talking about money can come easily with kids. We start simple: learning the names of coins, discussing how much something costs, and so on. But for many people, it can be hard to figure out how to take the conversation further – or how to make the topic interesting enough that their younger kids will want to learn. Let’s face it, there are a lot of adults who find it hard to take an interest in learning about money.
Is that what you want to teach your kids?
I’m a bit of a money geek. I actually like planning out finances, figuring out the best way to get to where we want to wind up financially. I love when my Moneysense magazine comes in the mail, and I handle most of the money matters in the family. We make all the big decisions together, but the planning and day-to-day management is in my hands.
Teaching my kids about money is a huge priority of mine. And not just the names of the pieces of money, and how to save and spend it. I want them to learn what money can do in the right hands. I want them to feel comfortable handling it, and be as happy to save it for something important as they are to spend it on something today. Kids who learn about money, and gain a sense of what it can do if used constructively grow into adults who can manage their finances, save money, set and reach goals.
It all has to start somewhere. Why not with something fun, so kids look forward to the learning?
I recently was encouraged to try out a cool new app for kids – the Learning Money With Leo iPad App from RBC. The app was developed to be a practical, fun way for parents to teach their kids about money. It’s aimed at kids ages three to six, so I figured it would be interesting to bring to my kids, ages three and seven, to see what they would do with it.
I had a little peek, then turned it over to the experts – the kids.
My first impressions were that the app looked really fun, with a cheery colourful look that was attractive to the kids. The layout is clear and simple to understand, and although I have a low threshold for toys that make noise, I actually liked Leo’s enthusiastic tone and friendly manner. The comments are cheery and encouraging. I like how the kids can create their own profile that is colour coded, meaning even the little one can tell them apart. The functionality is smooth and intuitive. The games are fun; a good mix of practical and pure fun.
My daughter liked what she heard while I was first setting it up, and came over to investigate. She liked the colours, and the sound of the games. She was able to use some of the simpler functions with some help – the Colouring Book, Gather the Coins, Solve the Maze, and the Read-Along Story. She also caught on to the sticker book and rewards pretty quickly. I assisted her at first, but did let her do some of the activities alone, or just with hints. I was surprised at her eagerness to try them, as she is definitely at the young end of the recommended age range of three to six years.
There were a few things that made it easier though. First, each player’s profile is indicated not only by their name, but by a colour. She chose pink and had no difficulty choosing her profile after that. I also liked that whenever there was a yes/no answer required, the kids could choose from yes or no, with added symbols and green for go, red for stop. That’s easy enough for a three year old to remember, so I could say “look for green for yes” to her. Smart.
Out of curiosity, I let my son have a try. He was able to take over and use the different games, and figured out how to buy stickers with the rewards before I noticed the feature. It was evident that he was able to figure things out on his own, and go beyond what I quickly introduced. He’s seven, a little older than the suggested appropriate age range, so this made perfect sense.
Both wanted to play beyond the time we had before dinner, with my son declaring it “awesome” and mentioning it in our little “best part of our day” routine at dinner. The next day, they both asked for some time to spend using it, and I got to watch a big brother help his little sister, telling her “That’s a loonie! It’s one dollar!” Funny, the game will teach them some things, but it will also encourage them to want to talk about money, and help each other learn just by playing together.
That makes me a happy mama.
Did they like it? Yes. Did I? Yes. Did they both want to use the iPad at the same time, with generously sized pouts from the little one when she had to give it up each turn? Yes. But they quickly learned the faster they gave it up, the quicker their turn came again. And with a little help, they found ways to play together. Whew.
Disclosure – I am participating in the RBC Learning Money With Leo program by Mom Central Canada on behalf of RBC Royal Bank. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own.