Games are great for learning all sorts of facts and skills. You can learn about nearly anything using games online; from languages to typing and everything in between. Financial skills are incredibly important to learn, but they aren’t exactly the most exciting, especially for children.
If your kids are coming to an age where they’re starting to manage money, spending some time with educational games will be of great value to them. Of course, there are many realms of finance, and different age groups will need different advice, so there’s something for everyone.
Today, we’ll look at some awesome kid-focused games; some you can play for free online, while others might cost a few bucks. Have your kids take some time to develop aptitude that will benefit them for life!
Counting Money is a simple game that, unsurprisingly, teaches kids to add money. The game serves a number of grade levels, as you can choose between three difficulty levels; counting to 99 cents, ten dollars, and $100 respectively. For any level, Beginner mode allows you to use any combination of coins and bills to make the total, while Expert forces you to use the fewest amount of bills and coins possible.
A hint can be toggled that shows how much value each piece is worth if your kids need a hand. When an incorrect answer is submitted, the game tells the player if they gave too little or too much.
While the game seems simple, it’s a fantastic way to get children used to handling money. From learning the values of coins (though the penny may be on its way out) to understanding how different bills have different values, this game lets kids understand the basics of money without having to handle real cash. Get them ready to make change and carry their own money and they’ll be ahead of the pack!
RollerCoaster Tycoon Series
This classic theme park management simulator game is great fun in itself, but it’s a fantastic learning tool for kids, too. They’ll have fun choosing rides and setting up stands for refreshment, but the game also requires players to make a profit and keep their park in business.
From deciding admission and food prices to balancing hired staff, players make a plethora of financial decisions in this title. The layout and workings of the park are completely up to the player, and their decisions will impact how their business ultimately performs.
This is the only game in our list that isn’t free; however, it’s a much meatier experience than the other, online-only titles. The RollerCoaster Tycoon series currently has three PC installments – each with expansion packs, a Nintendo 3DS title, a free-to-play mobile game, and the upcoming RollerCoaster Tycoon World.
Fans of the series consider the first and second titles the best; the second typically winning due to having more features without changing the core gameplay. You can get RCT 2 with all its expansions for just $10 on Steam, or the same price on GOG if you prefer DRM-free games.
I recommend the second title for the best experience; though it might be tempting, stay away from the money-sucking freemium mobile title. Eurogamer’s scathing review explains all you need to know: this miserable excuse for a sequel takes all the fun out of your hands, instead turning the game into a list of chores and forcing you to pay real money or wait hours for your rides to be built.
Make a good financial decision and spend $10 on Tycoon 2 that your kids will love and learn from, not this wretched experience designed to steal your money and time with nothing in return.
The Great Piggy Bank Adventure
Another free Web game, this one takes the form of a board game where kids learn about and put financial principles into practice; it can even be enjoyed by multiple players! After choosing and naming a character, the player moves across the game board by rolling a die and answering questions about money. Players set a saving goal for a special toy, and see practices such as investing and inflation put into place.
For example, a shop allows players to buy various items that they might need to supplement their big goal. At first these items are inexpensive, but each subsequent time the shop is visited a wolf comes by and howls to inflate prices. To reinforce learning, a pig in the top-right corner offers more information about various events in the game. When the player answers a trivia question, they are rewarded with more cash or a free item, and if they don’t understand the answer they can get an explanation.
The Great Piggy Bank Adventure is a great learning experience, and with a detailed guide on how to play and excellent, kid-friendly explanations on financial topics, it’s a great time investment for a younger audience. It plays like a more focused version of the classic board game LIFE, and is a great way to spend an hour with your kids.
Financial Football combines American football with finance questions in a fun online game. In this game, you’ll play against the computer or go head-to-head with a friend playing as your favorite NFL teams. To do well on the field, you’ll need to pick between three different difficulties of questions to answer; the harder they are, the more yards you stand to gain or lose.
You don’t really have to understand football to enjoy the game; by default you control your team’s kicking but you can disable this if you want the game to kick for you. To round out the list, this game has question pools for three different age groups: Rookie (Ages 11-14), Pro (14-18), and Hall of Fame (18+). You can choose for the game to last five, ten, or twenty minutes, and the forty-second limit on questions ensures the action keeps moving (but this can also be toggled off).
Older kids can learn a lot from Financial Football, and the game also contains some information for each age group if they’re struggling with the questions. If you hate football you probably won’t love this one, but the questions are varied and worth checking out regardless.
Learning is Fun
With these games, your kids can have fun and learn important life skills at the same time. Of course, they probably aren’t as enjoyable as the best of all time, but these games have lasting value even if they’re only completed once, and your kids will thank you someday.
Looking for more finance and more gaming? Check out websites that can help you plan your financial future, and then you can play some children’s games that hold value for adults.
What games have you found that teach kids about finance? Are there other methods you find valuable for teaching this topic other than games? Leave a comment and let us know!