Fun Financial Literacy Games for the Whole Family

By Vanessa Martinez
Publish Date
August 4, 2023

With summer in full swing, you are most likely spending quality time with your family. 

While taking advantage of this time together, why not take a moment (or two) to have a little fun AND teach your kids about financial literacy?

It is never too early for your kids to learn about earning, saving, spending, and investing. 

3 Simple and Fun Financial Literacy Games Your Kids Will Love

It is easy to help your kids develop the financial skills they need as adults with some simple and fun financial brain games.

It’s important to keep these activities age appropriate for the greatest effect, so tailor the games to match your child’s age and comprehension level. The older they are, the more complex the concepts can be.  

For example, a pre-teen or teen may benefit from learning about simple budgeting, but they could also benefit from an investment account. However, your younger child may do better with an activity demonstrating saving money. 

Here are just a few of our favorite ideas to get you started. 

The Savings Thermometer

Age Group: 1st grade to 5th grade

The Savings Thermometer can be a fun summer activity for the whole family. 

You may have heard of this one—start by setting a goal, either as a family or as an individual. Then, draw up a giant thermometer to hang in the kitchen. It will start empty, but as the family starts saving towards the group goal, you’ll fill in the thermometer.

Write the goal and the amount at the top. Maybe it’s a new video game or bike. Try to choose something that is achievable and also rewarding for your kids. 

Choose a savings or piggy bank so your kid knows where to put the money. They can color in the “mercury” as they put money away and watch their savings rise. TIP: Have them color in the increments so they can not only see the savings grow, but feel actively engaged in making it happen. 

This fun coloring activity also allows for conversations about the importance of saving for things you want and the work it takes to reach it. 

It also teaches your child about goal setting and making a plan. 

Time Travel

Age Group: 6th, 7th, and 8th grade

This is a fun activity for imaginative children!

Ask your kids to draw a picture of what their life will be like when they grow up. 

What does their house look like? 

Do they have a car? Do they have pets? Children? Ask them to include hobbies and interests, like reading, golf or boating. What will their job be?

Once the picture is complete, look at it together and ask them the questions related to financial literacy. Maybe they should think about how much money it costs to run the electricity on the house. Ask them if they think they can figure it out.

Other questions include: What will rent or mortgage payments look like? What other things need to be paid for, like property taxes? What would they need to save for a downpayment on a house? What will the monthly expense look like?

They will probably not know the answer to these questions, but don’t underestimate them.  This is intentionally difficult and will incentivize them to do some research. This will help them set reasonable expectations for the ideas in their head and the lives they want to live. 

You can explore the housing market, what they can expect to earn in their chosen career, and more. 

By having them draw out their dream life, you can help them plan accordingly and start thinking about how to achieve this. This can foster important conversations and help your kids understand that money really doesn’t grow on trees and they need to plan for what they need and what they want. 

50-20-20-10 Rule 

Age Group: High school

Instead of the 50-30-20 rule, we like to use the 50-20-20-10. This applies to everyone, but may be more geared for the older kids, especially when putting it into practice. 

The 50-20-20-10 breaks down like this:

  • 50% of earnings should be put towards things you need (rent, bills, food)
  • 20% can be put towards wants (new clothes, fun activities with friends)
  • 20% should be put into savings
  • 10% should be invested

You can start with the 50-30-20 rule with younger children so that they understand the basics. But as they get older, seeing the breakdown into 50-20-20-10 helps provide perspective. They begin to see how it’s not just about saving money, but it’s also about investing and growing your wealth. Have a conversation with your child about investment opportunities like stocks, ETFs and bonds. 

By teaching this principle to your kids, you are providing healthier perspectives around financial management and setting them up for success. 

Keep Financial Literacy Simple

Financial literacy is an invaluable tool your child will use throughout their life. At Zen Wealth Management Group, we believe that starting early and making it an enjoyable activity will minimize some of the stigma adults feel around money. This could prevent your child from feeling overwhelmed and underprepared in the future. 

So while financial literacy can seem to be a complicated thing, there are ways to keep it simple and fun so that your child can relate.

Remember to start slow. It is not necessary to talk to your 5-year-old about stock dividends but you can talk to them about regular spending you do as a family. 

For older children, help them open a high-interest savings account and talk to them about setting financial goals that include specific items they want, like food at a grocery store or a new phone. Setting goals helps them figure out how to allocate their funds and spend wisely.

The good news—you do not need to be a money expert or have all the answers. 

Spending time together and starting the conversation is the most important part.