Money isn't always the easiest topic to teach to children. Most kids know what it is that they want - whether it's toys, clothes or food - but too few kids really understand what it takes to earn the money that can buy those things.
, a UK based children's website, seeks to help with children's financial education with activities and games that help teach kids what money is really all about.
The entire website is laid out just like standard children's game sites - with places to explore and plenty of activities to do. What makes this site unique is that it is build around the core idea of earning enough money to buy things.
Many children's websites have a similar monetary system, but MoneyVille takes it a step further by introducing kids to money math, financial activities and even an entire area that involves running a household and managing a budget.
The first stage, as on most children's sites, is to create your character. The choices are somewhat limited as to how a child can make their character look, but there are just enough combinations available so that the character can at least look somewhat unique.
Create Your Moneyville Character
Once you're done, just name the character and you're ready to play. It doesn't take long before kids immediately start encountering activities that have to do with money. Upon entering the town of MoneyVille, the first thing kids will need to do is help paint the town gates.
Paint the Gate!
Paint the gates as colorful as possible, just as the mayor has asked, and you will get paid for your efforts. This serves two purposes, it immediately introduces the "earning money" aspect of the game to kids right at the start of the game, and it also provides them with enough money to get started in the game as well.
Your Own Room
The game offers the child their own personal space - their own room - where they can keep and use all of the cool stuff that they buy at the store. Those items show up on the shelf or on the floor, and many of them are interactive, such as the radio that's on the shelf when kids first enter their room. Click on the radio and it turns on, or click on the wardrobe and open it to change your clothes!
Exploring the Town
The town map shows just how many fun things are available for kids to do. From the bridge that takes you to where you can run your own family household, to the shop where kids can spend their hard earned gold and silver coins, there are enough activities in MoneyVille to last for a very long time.
Playing Money Games
Both the post office and the apple orchard offer fun activities where kids can pass the time, learn about the value of everyday objects, and also earn a little bit of money to spend in the game. One example of how the game makers slip subtle lessons to children about finances is the Post Office activity, where children need to sort objects from the most expensive to the least expensive. Part of a solid understanding of money is really appreciating how much things are worth.
Buying Cool Stuff
Of course another part of money management is shopping - and trying to get as much as possible for the least amount of money. Kids can visit the town store and explore all of the cool things they can buy for their room. They can also check the prices of some of the more expensive things - like fun clothes or toys - to get an idea of how much they need to save in order to buy them.
Making Your Family
One of the most innovative areas of this site is the family management area. To get here, kids will cross over the bridge (after answering a simple math question), and then establish their family. This includes adding two adults, and then building the family by adding whatever number of kids that they want. Once the family is created, the child can then move on to the next step - managing the family budget.
The Family Budget
To start out, the child needs to determine what car the family will have, what sort of house they'll live in, and what pet they'll have. All of these early decisions affect the budget later on, so kids need to learn to choose wisely if they don't want managing the budget to be too difficult.
Managing the Budget
The goal of the game is to stay on top of family activities, like fixing the car and feeding the pets, without going over budget. Every week, the expenses, bills and remaining money is displayed, with the option (and encouragement) to save extra money for a family holiday.
Traveling the Time Machine
There are lots of other fun activities to be found around MoneyVille. For example, the time machine is a place where kids can temporarily escape to other areas to explore the activities there. For example, Ancient Rome offers three puzzles of famous ancient buildings that the child can put together.
The mix of activities at MoneyVille offers enough interesting and fun activities that kids will have a blast without even realizing that they're also learning a great deal about money and how budgeting and finances work. So the next time your child informs you that something you're buying might be a little bit too expensive, you can thank MoneyVille for teaching them about the true value of money.
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