3 Kid-Friendly Board Games To Teach Your Kids Personal Finance

3 board games for family fun & finance

Written by Monica Fan, edited by Cindy Teh. This article is a part of a special series by fundMyLife content marketing interns from QLC.io.

Putting the Fun in fundMyLife

Often, the best lessons in life are learned through games. In sports you learn to work hard, cultivate resilience, and build grit. In video games, you learn things like strategizing, working in a team, and hand-eye coordination, etc. But how about financial literacy and skills? We here at fundMyLife are all about having fun in life, and what better way to incorporate fun and personal finances than to use games to go about it! In this article, we look at some of the board games out there that you can enjoy with your family while learning about managing personal finances at the same time. Start ‘em young, we say!

1. Happy Pigs

 

Happy Pigs board game box
The one who’s truly happy here is the farmer

Level: Easy
Number of players: 2-5
Time to play: 30-50 mins
Age: 10+

Happy Pigs is a fun and silly game for the entire family! The main aim of this game is to raise the pigs in farms and keep them alive by feeding and vaccinating them, with the objective of selling them off at a good price. The games have 16 rounds: with 4 in each season – Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. It is not difficult to play, once you understand the importance of optimizing the Costs and Returns within a limited timeframe. The richest player wins! Happy Pigs is a strategy game that is perfect for kids, and teaches them to overcome the challenges of working with limited resources and terms.

2. Monopoly

Not shown: hours of chaos as every player fights to be the last one standing

Level: Medium
Number of players: 2-8
Time to play: 60 mins (or forever)
Age: 8+

For kids, the most recommended game is the classic board game MONOPOLY. This game puts you in the shoes of a real estate tycoon – in this game you are buying and selling, or investing in properties. Parents, through this game your kids will encounter basic ideas in economics, e.g., cash flow, assets, debt, stock market, and bankruptcy. The ultimate goal of this game is to be the last player left with cash in hand. While some luck is involved, it is still an educational game for the whole family.

3. Cashflow For Kids

The logo for cashflow for kids game
No one should be left behind when it comes to financial education, especially kids!

Level: Intermediate
Number of players: 2-6
Time to play: 60 mins
Age: 6+

Cashflow For Kids, developed by Robert Kiyosaki, author of “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, is an interesting game which gives young players some ideas of how accounting works in the real world. The aim of the game is to encourage players to think about different streams of passive incomes, such as mutual bonds and stocks, instead of focusing on the limited and stabilized salary income.

A sheet for cashflow game
That’s a lot of sheet, but better prepare your kids for such sheet in the future!

One astonishing characteristic of the game is the accounting sheet given to assist players. It is for recording income earned and expenses incurred to help kids better visualise financial scenarios, and for assessing the performance of their investments.

While the accounting sheets given are different from actual financial statements, it is designed to give your kids ideas about passive income, unexpected expenses, unsystematic risks, and the importance of cash in real life. This is a sophisticated game with many volatile variables and it is not easy to play, but the depth of financial knowledge gained would be extremely useful for your kids. As the creator said, children will learn most by playing this game regularly. Anyone can train to have a higher financial IQ! Even your 6 year old!

That’s All Folks!

Having adequate financial knowledge is no longer a “good-to-have”, but a “must-have” in today’s world and economic climate! Besides cultivating good habits, you have to teach your kids to take care of their money, and they will take care of you in your old age with their money.

Why else do we have kids for? OH, you mean the joys of parenthood?

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5 Ways to Make Financial Literacy Fun for Your Kids

Financial Literacy for Kids 101, by fundMyLife

I recall back in primary school as a kid, I would return home every day with empty pockets even though my allowance was more than enough. Bewildered, my mom asked me what I spent on – it turned out that I never stuck around for my change every time I bought food. I remember feeling so silly and wished my mom had taught me to handle money properly before I even started school.

Financial literacy goes a long way, and parents should start as early as possible. Yes, while your kids are still pre-schoolers! Financial literacy doesn’t have to be hard and here are 5 easy ways you can make learning about money a fun journey for (you and) your kids!

1. Play the “needs vs wants” game

When you are out with your kids in a supermarket, consider playing the “needs vs wants” game. It is a simple game where you ask the kid to identify an item as a need, or an item as a want.

A young male kid holding an apple in his left hand, and a hot dog in the right. He looks indecisive as he is trying to figure out which is better.
Choosing is a skill. Hence, all the more to practise it early!

Rice? It’s a need – you’d go hungry without rice. Candy? It’s a want – it’s nice to have but you would still survive without it. You’ll have fun quizzing your kids and encouraging them to think if some items are truly needs or wants.

2. Encourage your kids to make choices

We make choices all day, and we get better with practice and time. As such, it’s never too early to ask your kids to make choices, such as whether they want spaghetti or rice for dinner. They are empowered as they can see that their choices lead to real-world outcomes, i.e. they are having spaghetti for dinner because that’s what they chose.

A young female child looking regretful, presumably because she chose candy over real food for dinner and is now in a state of starvation. She deserves it.
The look of regret when she realises that her dinner was the chocolate bar she chose earlier.

If you’re up for it, agreeing to bad requests made by your kids can teach them the consequences of making such decisions as well. For example, your kids want candy at 5pm and you can agree on the condition that the candy is substitute for dinner and that you spent money on candy instead of dinner. The subsequent hunger will be a good lesson for future decision-making and that resources are finite so they need to consider their options carefully (okay, that’s not so fun after all).

By showing them the consequences of their purchasing decisions, they will be more confident and decisive, be it financial or other aspects in their lives.

3. Let them compare different items

You can teach them how to compare the value of two items with different prices. To make this experience even more fun, you can set up a family experiment by getting one item first, and then getting the second item next so that your kids can objectively assess whether the difference in pricing is worth it.

A row of different milk in the supermarket
So many milk, so many choices – best to shop with your kids to figure out what’s a good deal!

For example, if you get Brand A milk for one week, get Brand B milk for the subsequent week so you can engage your kids and ask which brand was tastier. If there was no discernible difference in taste, your kids will learn to go for cheapest items and if there was a difference, then your kids will grow to appreciate the concept of “value-for-money”.

4. “Pay” your kids for doing chores in the house

Two kids in the picture. One is holding a vacuum cleaner while the other kid watches on. Lazy kid.
It can be a joy watching your young ones cleaning the house while you rela-, I mean, supervise them.

Make chores a game by giving them virtual points for each chore done or real money which you can keep on their behalf for redemption of an item of their choice. Your kids will be motivated to assist you and you get some extra help around the house. Win-win. More importantly, they will be able to appreciate that they must earn their own money to get what they want.

5. Make saving a game

Your kids want toys? Don’t say YES right away!

Instead, encourage your kids to save up for them. Work out a budget together, factoring in their daily allowance, the expected savings per week, and how long it would take to reach that goal. Putting these in an ordered list can be motivational. Don’t be tempted to top up the remainder, as it might reduce the feeling of accomplishment upon completion. The key is empowering your kids and teaching them the benefits of delayed gratification.

Kid looks at a laptop, enthralled by what's within. She's probably discovering the joy of budgeting. This is financial literacy for kids right here.
Look at little Emily here, she’s already fascinated by the wonders of budgeting.

Another bonus part of this exercise is that your kids might change their mind regarding the purchase along the way as they realise they don’t want it as badly as they thought – they will learn to stop and think before buying, and avoid impulse purchases in future.

That’s it, folks!

Seeding knowledge early in your kids will yield large returns later in their lives. As such, we hope that these tips will be useful to your parents out there. If we missed out anything or if you would like to share your own tips, feel free to drop a comment or email us at jackie@fundmylife.co! Visit us over at our main site if you want to get good financial advice from our curated pool of advisers!