Projects are an excellent way to teach children about money. One year the class talked about the needs of horses before we went on a field trip to a farm.
A few discussions and books focused the children’s attention on owning a horse, the stable it needs to live in, tools for grooming it and specifically on the cost of one bag of horse feed.
We talked about the steps we would have to take in order to take a gift of a bag of horse feed to the horse’s owner as a thank you for letting us come and visit.
Talk about ways to earn money
After having a discussion on ways to earn money and listing the kids ideas on a chart, the children agreed to sell muffins. With the help of pretend muffins (blocks) we worked as a group to find out how many muffins we would have to sell if we got a dollar for every two muffins.
Our cooking mum organized parents to bring muffin ingredients and then she helped each child to bake a muffin for themselves. She then made four dozen muffins for us to sell (kindergarten made muffins may not be hygienic enough to sell!).
The children made posters to advertise the sale, learned how to make a ¢ sign and took turns selling the muffins by taking them to each classroom and the staff room (organized ahead of time).
After the sale was over, the children had plenty of time to play with the money, ask questions about the loonies $1 and toonies $2 (Canada!) and we counted the money together a few times.
We added an extra field trip to the local feed store, fortunately for us, half a mile from the school. I changed the money earlier for loonies and each child got to take part in handing money to the cashier (a patient lady!). They also learned more about the different kinds of food animals eat and smelled and touched bales of hay, poked their noses in bins of feed and visited with the store cat. We then brought our bag of feed back to the classroom and wrote about the experience.
When the day finally came to visit the farm the children were delighted and excited to give their present. Using real projects to teach money skills to kids gives them a sense of accomplishment and success. Although much of this project had to have adult assistance, the experience gave the students a chance to participate in a problem solving process and to be involved in earning, investigating and spending money.