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On the JJ Barnes Blog, I share my experiences of using games to teach my children about money, and why I think financial education is important for kids.

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Teaching Children About Money

I’m always been on the lookout for creative and engaging ways to teach my children about the things I’m not personally an expert in. There’s so much I want them to know about, but unless it’s story craft or how to cook vegetarian food for people who love spice and garlic, I need a bit of help.

One of these areas is finance. I’m terrible at maths, really struggle with reading numbers properly, and am absolutely not a financial wizard. But I’d love it if my children could go into adulthood with more confidence and understanding about numbers and money than I’ve ever had.

One way I’ve found to be really helpful is online games to teach them about money. I’m going to share my theories about why online games are a great way to explain money to kids, and share a couple of example of games I’ve found success with.

Captivating Learning Experience

Children are naturally drawn to technology and interactive activities rather than the more passive and traditional ways of learning. Online games made to teach kids about finances feature colorful graphics, relatable characters, and interactive scenarios. This style of education not only captures a child’s attention, but it’ll also keep them engaged and motivated to stay learning.

Treze Game on The Table Read Magazine
Treze Game

Basic Maths Skills

Online money games can be a great way to teach children simple maths. They can provide a fun and interactive way to learn about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

For instance, the Treze Coins game gets children to make the correct amount of change based on the value of the coins in their purse. My kids have done lots of money based homework to teach them about our currency, and using an online game over the holidays to just reinforce that education, and keep it fresh and relevant in their minds, is a super helpful tool.

Real-life Simulations

One of the most significant advantages of using online games to teach children about money is the ability to create realistic simulations of real-life financial situations. These games offer a safe and controlled environment where children can make decisions about saving, spending, investing, and even entrepreneurship. Through virtual scenarios, children learn the consequences of their choices, helping them develop critical thinking and decision-making skills that are directly transferable to the real world.

Immediate Feedback and Rewards

Online games often provide immediate feedback and rewards for actions taken by players, which reinforces positive financial choices. When a child makes a sensible move within a game, they receive positive feedback and rewards, creating a sense of accomplishment. This, in turn, encourages them to make similar informed decisions in real-life situations, and reinforces their understanding of financial principles.

Crypto-Currency

Online games can be a great way to explain cryptocurrency to children, which I am absolutely not in a position to do!

Bitcoin Bubble Blaster
Bitcoin Bubble Blaster

The Bitcoin Bubble Blaster game is the perfect introduction to the world of crypto currency, and even I’ve learned something. While the game itself is super traditional, shoot the bubbles at each other to match up in three or more sets so they explode, each round introduces a new currency. This way of familiarising yourself with currency means that it feels like a more accessible world to learn about.

Learning through Mistakes

Failure is a really important part of the learning process, and when they’re playing online games, children are safe to make mistakes and learn  the consequences of those choices without actually causing real world damage to their parent’s purses. By learning from their virtual mistakes, children can start to recognise the traps of financial risk taking, develop resilience and become better equipped to handle financial challenges later in life.

Holistic Skill Development

Financial literacy extends beyond mere money management. It encompasses skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, planning, and communication – all of which are honed through online games. Children learn to strategize, collaborate with others, and adapt to changing circumstances, which fosters a holistic skill set that prepares them for a successful future.

Conclusion

Using technology and gaming in education strikes me as a really sensible way of embracing the modern world, and I’ve witnessed firsthand the positive impact that online games can have. While I was growing up it just wasn’t an option, but that doesn’t mean it’s wrong. These games offer an engaging and immersive way of making things like finances, which might otherwise be a dull subject, an exciting adventure of learning and discovery.

There’s a whole world of online gaming out there, plus I highly recommend Scratch if your children have any interest in coding and want to design games themselves! My ten year old is busy designing simple, but functioning, video games and getting to grips with coding in a way that blows my mind.

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