Prepare now for fun during Money Smart Week

Money Smart Week, April 23-30, 2016, is the perfect time to introduce youth to personal finance concepts. Using games, stories and online resources, join others across the country in building key money skills in children.

It’s not too early to start planning for Money Smart Week! Whether you’re a teacher, an after-school care provider, scout or 4-H group leader, there are lots of resources available to teach young people invaluable money skills. Your efforts to set them on a good financial path when they are young could literally pay off for them when they are adults.

Money Smart Week will be April 23-30, 2016. Created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002, Money Smart Week is “a public awareness campaign designed to help consumers better manage their personal finances.” Partnering organizations across the country will host fun, educational events for youth and adults from all backgrounds and income levels. Events held in conjunction with Money Smart Week cover all facets of personal finance.

The Money Smart Week for Kids website offers an extensive list of ideas and resources for those working with children. Be creative in designing ways to teach youth indispensable money skills.

An age-appropriate activity for preschoolers is to read a variety of money-related books, including “The Trouble with Money” by Stan and Jan Berenstain; check out a reading of the book on YouTube. Another appropriate book is “A Chair for My Mother” by Vera Williams, which is also available in Spanish. For elementary-school age children, pair a fun activity that reinforces the money concepts in the books; a handy resource is Reading Makes Cents available online at the 4-H Mall.

For upper elementary and middle school students, consider holding a money fair. Have each student research a money topic they’re interested in and create a poster or activity that they share with others in the group. This makes a great community gathering where the students can showcase what they have studied. Invite the public to mingle with the students while they take turns presenting the information they have learned.

There is a plethora of financial education activities and resource tools available for middle and high school age students. The National Endowment for Financial Education’s High School Financial Planning Program offers education in six key financial areas. The 4-H Build a Million website allows teens to learn the basics of investing through interactive games, quizzes and calculators. Contact your local Michigan State University Extension county office to learn of the resources and trainings available to youth and adults working with young people.

For more information on youth money management topics, check out the 4-H Youth Development website, contact your local MSU Extension office or go to eXtension.org/personal finance.

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