Free Games That Teach Kids Stuff About Money

A significant amount of parenting is about coercing your kids into doing things that are good for them, such as eating vegetables and learning life skills. Playing computer games with your kids is a way to do just that. Under the guise of sitting at the computer to have fun, games can make it easy to teach them financial lessons, such as simple math, fractions and more abstract concepts.

Kidworth suggests these money games:

* Money Desk — You pick out a “helper character,” — we selected the George Washington head — who commands you to pick out coins to reach various change amounts.

* Mad Money — A budgeting tool, the game gives you a shopping list of things to buy each month, provides a weekly allowance and judges you on your financial choices. Just like real parents!

* Wall Street Survivor — It teaches older kids the joys and perils of stock trading. Warning: This is one of those free-to-play pastimes that encourages you to plunk down real money at advanced levels.

Games that Teach Your Kids About Money [Kidworth]

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  1. Cat says:

    Thank you, Phil, for finding a list I can actually use.

  2. energynotsaved says:

    When I taught economics, I used two online games.

    I really like the one that permits one to be the Federal Chairman.
    http://www.frbsf.org/education/activities/chairman/index.html

    Another great (free) game on line is The Budget Hero Game. It is found at http://www.marketplace.org/topics/economy/budget-hero

  3. Lyn Torden says:

    Where are the games that teach kids how to deal with real life things like identity theft, inappropriate overdraft fees, multiple charges for the same thing on credit/debit cards, foreclosure on mortgages you’ve always paid on time, and harassing phone calls from debt collectors calling for banks you never had an account at?

    • pop top says:

      Learning how to make change and creating a budget aren’t “real life things”?

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Oh, those things most certainly are real life. Do not leave them out. But do not overlook the other real life things which clearly too few adults are prepared to handle.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          Kids should be given games that teach them things in a positive manner, not games designed to teach them about crappy parts of life. See my sarcastic comment above.

          • Lyn Torden says:

            So basically, you want kids to become adults without being prepared to deal with all those crappy things in life that we read about on Consumerist every week day?

            • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

              I’ll bite. You try getting a kid to play a game about all the depressing things in life that will happen to them. You see how much they enjoy the game.

              No, you don’t say “fuck it” and never teach them how to take care of themselves and overcome adversity. You just teach them the skills they need to succeed, not teach them how to deal with every individual problem. You can’t possibly teach them to handle everything that will happen to them individuallly – you teach them the skills to use for any situation.

              • alana0j says:

                I think you should teach them the basics (which these games seem to do) while they’re young, then perhaps give them the more serious talk before they move out on their own. The point is not to scare them into never wanting to grow up, but to prepare them to be smarter, more self sufficient adults.

                In other words I agree with you Loias

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      You’re right. For years I’ve been clamoring for a game that teaches kids about being sexually molested, being in a loveless marriage, and waiting in line at the DMV.

      Because kids should learn about every obscure aspect of human existance at as early age as possible.

      /s

      • Lyn Torden says:

        Or at least the ones they might encounter (either as kids or adults), such as the situations people often find on Consumerist.

  4. homehome says:

    I will use this

  5. B* says:

    We played Gazillionaire and Zapitalism. (http://www.zapitalism.com/lavamind.php) When our alien overlords finally reveal themselves, I’ll be prepared to make a mint.

  6. sponica says:

    monopoly taught me to buy the most expensive properties and put hotels on them….

    whereas Risk taught me NEVER try to defend Russia, you always lose

    • Lyn Torden says:

      Monopoly was always about captive markets where people could not pick and choose what hotel they stayed at. That and they could be arrested just for being in the wrong place. This is probably what has screwed up the minds of so many corporate executives. It needs to be replaced by a competition oriented open market game.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Risk taught me that in a world war, Australia will be the last hold out.

  7. failurate says:

    I learned everything I know about money from Wall Street Kid.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wall_Street_Kid

  8. incident man stole my avatar says:

    What about Lemonade Stand? A classic that I played on ym Apple II+

    • missminimonster says:

      I played a Flash version of Lemonade Stand a few years ago. That’s actually the game that comes to my mind when I think of a game to teach kids about money.

  9. MJDickPhoto says:

    ok, normally, I try to bypass Phil’s posts, but this is a top notch for him. I’m going to sit down with my wife and make her play till she can achieve certain scores.

    More like this Phil. this is a +1 win.

  10. EarthAngel says:

    Oddly enough, those websites mention nothing about refund anticipation loans.