Talking to kids about money

By Jeff Fournier

Have you ever thought about talking to kids in a public setting – perhaps at a school, at a scout meeting, or while staffing an informational display at your local mall – about money and collecting?

It’s easy for me or someone else to ask you to spread the word and let kids know about money and how to collect. The problem is, what if you simply don’t know what to say?

Over the years I have spoken to hundreds, maybe even thousands, of kids about money and collecting. I am comfortable doing this and I have been pretty successful in keeping the kids’ attention – or at least I hope that’s the case!

I thought I could pass along some of what I talk about in my presentations so you might get some ideas as to how you may tackle the subject yourself. You may choose to build on what I am about to say for your own personal presentation, or when talking to kids at any time about money and collecting.

In fact, I will give you more than an idea. I will give you an actual presentation that I have used in the past and that you are free to use when you’re trying to teach young kids about money and collecting.

A KID’S HISTORY OF MONEY

Thousands of years ago there wasn’t any money. To buy things like food, you had to trade for other things, like a blanket. But how many blankets? What if you made clothes and blankets, but nobody wanted them?

That’s when money was invented. That way people didn’t have to trade for what they wanted when they needed something that they didn’t have.

In the early days of Canada, we used beaver pelts and shells for money – not quite like the money we use today, right? But it really was money during a time when our Aboriginal people were showing European explorers how to live and travel in a very challenging land.

In some other countries, like in the South Pacific on an island called Yap, people used stones for money. Sometimes the stones were as big as elephants. Can you imagine carrying that kind of money in your pocket?

As you can see, coins have been used for a long, long time.

You probably realize that coins are easy to lose or that they can be stolen, so that’s why people started bringing their money to banks; but that’s a whole other story.

Now, you may be wondering, how do parents and other grown-ups make money? Just how do they get it?

Sometimes, it’s by cleaning houses, or fixing them. Parents and others make money by being teachers, doctors, garbage collectors, janitors, mechanics, lawyers, plumbers and many, many other things. Anything that needs to be done in the cities and towns where we live will need workers to do it. And workers make money!

How can you get money for buying the things you want? That’s not so hard, if you are willing to do a bit of work, that is.

You can earn money by doing chores around the house; by having a garage sale; setting up a lemonade stand; walking dogs for somebody; or, like your parents, by simply doing things that people need to get done.

When you work, though, you’ll soon find out that you only have so much money. If you spend it all, you will go broke – you won’t have any more.

You can save it (in piggy banks or at the bank) so that you can eventually have enough to buy something big like a bike, or go to school, or buy a house.

You can invest it, so that the money you’ve made can make even more money.

Or you can collect it.

In a future column, I will look at teaching kids about collecting.

Now, go and spread the word!

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