Making financial literacy fun

Nathaniel Sillin | 7/26/2016, 5:15 p.m.
What important lessons will you teach your child this summer? Riding a bike? Sharin with others? How about teaching them ...

What important lessons will you teach your child this summer? Riding a bike? Sharin with others? How about teaching them important financial skills.

Financial literacy may not immediately come to mind when parents think of essential skills for students, but what children know about money at a young age can shape the way they manage money in adulthood. In fact, a 2015 study by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) found that credit scores among young adults improved in states with mandatory financial education.

However, not all states implement financial education. So how do we close the gap

between what American students currently know about money and what they need to know?

Edutainment – one of the key personal finance instruction tactics that Visa uses to

reach people of all ages – is an innovative learning method that strikes a balance

between education and entertainment. Students can learn financial lessons without

feeling like they're studying, and edutainment can help them retain the information

better. According to a 2013 study commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates

Foundation, students who played educational games in addition to the standard

curriculum performed better on tests than students who didn't.

Here are a few simple ways your child can learn about money this summer.

Learn together: Mymoney.gov offers activities and lessons for all ages, ranging from

fun cartoons about American coins to guides on how to budget effectively. The

website features World of Cents, a child-friendly game for ages 5 and up designed to

help teach the value of money through the concepts of earning, saving and spending

money, while incorporating basic math concepts.

Begin with the basics: Knowing the value of money is essential to financial

literacy. The sooner children learn how much everyday items are worth, the better.

Visa's Practical Money Skills initiative has developed a game, Peter Pig's Money

Counter, which helps children improve basic financial skills such as sorting and

counting coins to learn their monetary value. The free game is available online, as

an Android app and from Visa's Practical Money Skills website.

Animate it: Educational favorite Schoolhouse Rock! makes finance fun with songs

about interest, savings accounts, paying bills, and more. Dynamic animation and

catchy songs help children learn basic financial facts while having fun. Search for

clips on YouTube or pop in a DVD to teach your children these important and

practical lessons in a fun and memorable way.

Play the market: The Stock Market Game is an online simulation of the global capital

markets that engages students grades 4-12 in the world of economics, investing and

personal finance, and has prepared 15 million students for financially independent

futures. The game is part of a program provided by the SIFMA Foundation.

Make it comical: Visa recently teamed up with Marvel Custom Solutions to create a

Guardians of the Galaxy comic that promotes saving and smart spending and introduces

young children to the difference between wants and needs. The comic, "Rocket's

Powerful Plan," features an exciting storyline where saving money in an emergency

fund is crucial to helping the Super Heroes. If your children are fans of Rocket,

Groot and Ant-Man, they're bound to love this comic featuring the same iconic


Bring it to life: Jump$tart Clearinghouse offers a variety of games and resources

that demonstrate how money skills transfer to real life. Children are challenged to

plan their budgets, stretch their money, and be financially responsible. The website

also provides a range of educational materials for both parents and teachers.

Additional edutainment resources include: MyMoney.gov Youth Resources

TreasuryDirect Kids MoneyMemory and Perry's Pennies The United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Exchange games Visa's Financial Football and Financial Soccer

Bottom line: It's important to teach your children about finance, and edutainment is

both an effective and engaging way to do so. Use these summer months to teach your children important basic personal finance skills that they can use for the rest of

their lives.