A Kids Activity With Purpose

LSS Center for Financial Resources
Breck Miller, Community Relations Coordinator

We’ve been talking a lot about finances in the family lately.  It’s important to help our kids learn about money.  We can talk all day about concepts and their importance for later in life.  That’s all fine and dandy.  But how do we get there?  What are we even supposed to do with this information?  How do we make it real and relevant to our kids right now?

OK, so let’s talk about that.  I thought that for my blog today, I would share a kids activity with a purpose that can put concepts into action for your kids and teach them a few different things at once.

I guess in full disclosure, I first learned of this idea as part of a stewardship campaign at church.  But I think it translates into a kids activity with a purpose very really well too.  After all, stewardship is really just a focus on how we take care of and use what we have been blessed with.

So here’s how it works.

You are going to give your child or children money, free and clear, and the freedom to do whatever they want with it.

But wait, there’s more!

It doesn’t have to be a lot of money.  The first time I heard of this, each person was given one dollar.  That’s it.  But that was for a whole congregation of people, so it added up.  With probably only a few kids at most, you could do as much as five dollars per child. hand with coins and plant

More important than getting the money though, is what they are going to do with it.  They need to figure out a way to use the money to help someone else.  Sounds simple enough, right?

If you are intentional about this kids activity, there are a whole lot of things you can teach them as they work through the activity.  Here is a list of concepts you can teach with this:

Cooperation – If you have more than one child, what could they do if they pool their money and work together?

Personal Giving – You gave them the seed money to start, but do they have their own money they would like to add?

Goals – What exactly would they like to do with their money?  Who do they want to help?  How do they want to help?

Cost – Based on what they want to do, do they have enough money to actually cover the bill?  Don’t just bail them out here if they are dreaming big.  (See next point.)

Investing – Five bucks isn’t much.  Is there a way they can grow that money before the final result?  Use it to buy lemonade for a lemonade stand?  Buy gas to mow the neighbors’ yards?  Multiply the money and multiply the results.

Budgeting – However much they end up with for the project, have them track where it all comes and goes so they see more than just an empty envelope at the end.

Commitment – This could most likely be something that is going to take a little time to come together.  Help them stay focused for the longer timeframe.

Rewards – While this ultimately won’t result in more money in their pockets, I think they will find a lot more reward in understanding the impact they can have on other people’s lives.  Given where most kids are developmentally, they may need a little reminder of this as you go.

That’s quite a list of things you can teach through this activity.  You know your kids better than anyone (hopefully) and may want to focus on just a few of these areas.  But be intentional ahead of time and decide what you want your kids to get out of this.  Your planning ahead of time can greatly impact the final realization of your priorities.  (Sounds an awful lot like budgeting your money, doesn’t it?  I never said you weren’t going to learn anything yourself.)

girl with gift

Don’t sell your kids short.  There have been some amazing things done by kids across our country.  Share some of these with them as inspiration.  Kids are little sponges that love to soak things up and learn new things.  We just need to provide the opportunity, and this kids activity with a purpose can be a great opportunity.  And it doesn’t have to require a business license as part of the process to be successful.

If this does inspire you to work on your own money management skills, the counselors at the Center for Financial Resources can walk with you through that process.  Whether it is crisis management or just some coaching along the way, we love to help people realize their financial dreams and goals.  You can schedule an appointment with one of our counselors either by calling us at 605-330-2700 or by going to our website.

written by Breck Miller, CFR Community Relations Coordinator
images courtesy freedigitalphotos.net

LSS Center for Financial Resources
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605-330-2700 or 888-258-2227
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