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Creative Ways to Teach Money

Updated: Nov 3, 2018

When was the last time you saw a kobo coin? Perhaps when you bought the odd biscuit or sweet at Shoprite. As the world is advancing in technology, money is becoming more and more intangible, yet it is one of the most important aspect of our daily lives. We pay for things by card and bank transfers, and pride ourselves as becoming a ‘cashless’ society. Whilst there are lots of benefits to going cashless, one the drawbacks is that our young children nowadays don’t see notes and coins as much we did when we were growing up. This means we have got to be creative in teaching children about money, its relevance to their lives, how it makes things happen and perhaps what it looks like! Here are some ideas that work. Think of what is age appropriate and go for it!

Be resourceful. If you are unable to get education grade models of the real thing, sacrifice some of your own notes and laminate them for posterity. Once laminated, the children can use this in identification of the denominations in current circulation.

Talk about money. Have money discussions. Encourage the children to ask questions about money. Ask them questions about money. Don’t be afraid to ask deep questions like; where does money come from? What can money buy? Is there anything that money cannot buy? Why do we need money? How much money is enough? What is poverty? Why are do some people have more money than others?

Make it real. Several years ago, I taught a group of children about money; they were really struggling with the idea of ‘giving change’. So I set up a tuck shop, brought in real money; notes and coins, gave each child a budget and ask them to shop. I was the shop keeper. They recorded on a sheet what they were buying, how much they needed to pay and what change I had to give them. It was a great investigative lesson that spanned the entire day!

Teach value. This is important for younger children. Teach them to understand that one naira is an equal amount to one hundred kobo. A good idea is to give the children a hundred square, then ask them to colour given amounts. Click here to download a 100 square For older children, discuss purchasing power of money; in notes, in coins. What can you buy for five kobo, for one thousand naira? How many coins in twelve thousand naira? Can you use coins to pay or notes to pay?

Develop entrepreneurship. Calculate the cost of making a meal, an item etc. sell it, make a profit. This could be a project for older children. Get the children to plan and fund a school trip. Give children different responsibilities to handle. They do the research, conduct surveys and come up with sample costings for the various aspects of the trip.

Make it cross curricular. Write a ‘money’ story. Use money as a focus in literacy lessons. Ask the children to write creative stories. Can they write a story about an item that is small but expensive; something large but not worth a lot; something so precious that you can’t buy it? The possibilities here are endless.

Games. Children learn through play, just watch them on the playground and you will understand the power of play. Monopoly is a staple classic game for children to explore money at work. Try this link for money games online. It is in British pounds.

Use technology. Talk to the children about online shopping. Show them how it works. Teach them how to identify genuine sites. Test it out as a class and hopefully have the order delivered to you in school.

Finally, it is easy to give children a set of worksheets to fill out when you are teaching about money but making it practical ensures that money skills are embedded in a functional way and high order thinking skills are developed.

Teaching money ought to be practical!

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