Has a child asked you where money comes from?

Youth in grades 3-5 may begin to start thinking of money management and ask, “Where does money come from?” Learn about resources that can help answer that, and other questions.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development programs offer youth money management concepts and educational tools. Questions youth may have regarding how money was managed before money was developed can be found in the Reading Make Cents curriculum offered through the National 4-H curriculum. This afterschool curriculum is designed for youth in grades 3-5.

The history of money goes back in time to when instead of paying with coins and bills, people would barter with a cow or services or other objects to trade for something.

Today, most countries have their own official currency. In the U.S., the official currency is the dollar bill. To make trading easier, some surrounding countries use the same currency.

The Reading Make Centscurriculum offers many activities to teach youth about financial literacy. One of the concepts found in the text is to teach children about saving money. Saving money is not an option, but a necessity learned at an early age that will help individuals succeed later in life.

The seven money themes in Reading Make Cents are:

  1. History of money
  2. Managing money
  3. Earning money
  4. Spending money
  5. Saving money
  6. Sharing money
  7. Borrowing and lending money

One of the fun activities that can be done with children is playing “I-Spy” using a dollar bill. This activity can take up to 25 minutes. Materials needed include:

  • A sample dollar bill for each child
  • Magnifying glasses
  • A Chart, paper, markers and the “I-Spy” reference sheet

Once each child has a dollar bill they can be asked to find questions such as: “What Federal Reserve bank issued the bill?”, “What year was the dollar bill printed?” and “What is the total number of 1’s and the word one on the bill?” This can be done in teams as well as individually.

This is just one of many activities to spark a child’s interest in financial literacy. For more information on the many types of youth development programs offered through MSU Extension 4-H programs, contact your local extension office.