Regardless of the reasons, both educators and parents do have resources at their disposal to instill important financial skills into children at a very young age. A combination of both private and public organizations have created a high quality collection of websites that are fun for kids but also teach important lessons about finances and managing money.
Planet Orange is probably the most popular website for teaching kids about money management. It is the most kid-friendly, because it's filled with fun cartoon animation and games that are very attractive for children.
Planet Orange Main Page
Once kids blast off onto their first Planet Orange mission, they'll find themselves neck deep in an adventure that requires they learn all about money and even things like investing.
Planet Orange Games
For example, the game shown above shows kids the stock charts for three fictional corporations, and then offers up news headlines about those companies. It's up to the child to try to predict which company stock will go up based on the news headlines, thereby learning basic but important investment skills that everyone should know.
The website Practical Money Skills is all about financial literacy, not only for children but for everyone. The site has large sections on personal finance, financial calculators, videos and more.
Practical Money Skills
One of the most popular areas of the website is the games section, where you'll find some high-quality games to teach kids "practical" money skills. There aren't a lot of games, but the few that are there, like Financial Football, Road Trip to Savings and Ed's Bank are well designed and a lot of fun.
Road Trip to Savings Game
For example, in the Road Trip to Savings game, kids navigate a cartoon car down a road and try to aim for the important objects that will keep them going - like gas, car insurance and extra income. The game shows kids that even though you can only focus on one thing at a time, it is still possible to keep your finances balanced by earning, spending and saving in a balanced way, and always in moderation.
Escape from Knab is one of those websites that you don't think is going to be very much fun, because it lacks the typical animation and sound that most students love. However, for older kids, the site offers a sort of simulated adventure that tasks students with certain financial missions on their adventure on the planet of Knab.
Playing Escape From Knab
The game isn't quite for everyone, as it is an attempt to teach some more complicated financial concepts like taxes and interest rates. However, for advanced students that enjoy playing with numbers and challenging their mind, this website fits the bill.
The U.S. Mint proves that it isn't all about money with the kids section of their website. On this page, titled "h.i.p. Pocket change", the U.S. Mint provides kids with a great variety of fun games they can play to learn about currency and money.
H.I.P. Pocket Change
Some of these games include Franklin's Try-N-Fly where kids help Minty the Mint Robot fly a kite, Wishing Well where kids can make a wish or ask a question, and Quarter Explorer where kids can explore each U.S. State through the official quarter for that State.
From the West Virginia State Auditor's Office comes probably the most interesting interactive games that teaches kids about choosing the right investments. The adventure-based game lets kids step into the shoes of "Kim" the hero as she explores a fraud scene and uncovers a financial scam.
Fraud Scene Investigator Game
The adventure game is a real-time adventure that kids can play just as they would an adventure game installed on the computer, except this one works through the browser.
Playing the Adventure Game
Kids interact with characters and explore and investigate the virtual world. Along the way they learn very important things about investment scams that every child should learn early in their financial life.
Out of the U.S. Treasury comes something far more valuable than Taxes and U.S. Budget concerns. The Treasury offers an amazing virtual adventure for children called the "Bad Credit Hotel." It is set up like a haunted hotel investigation, but the goal of the game is to teach kids all about bad credit and what information is important for consumers to know when they're dealing with issues of bad credit.
Control Your Credit Game
In the bad credit hotel, children learn why creditors aren't allowed to harass their parents, and how people can go about legally managing their financial situation when bad times hit.
The game is very well made, with creative graphics, great sound effects and an intriguing storyline. Through this game, the U.S. Treasury proves that it has the best interests of the consumer in mind. Educating children about the credit industry is one of the most effective ways to end bad consumer credit before it can ever start.
While each of these online resources cover different financial topics, all of them do so in a common way that turns what could be boring financial subjects into a presentation that's exciting and interesting for children and teenagers. By utilizing these sorts of educational resources, parents and educators can help to elevate the financial health of the next generation.