By BERN MORLEY
The summer school holidays are LONG. No, I’m sorry, I need to reiterate, they are Looooong. I’m not entirely sure “who” came up with the brilliant idea to put kids on a massive hiatus over what is essentially the HOTTEST period of time in Australia, but I’d sure like to meet them. And then perhaps have some quiet words with them.
See, it’s different since when I was a kid. When I was little, my school holidays consisted of me trundling out the front door at my convenience in the morning, some bike riding, some swimming, probably in a friend’s pool or a local creek, some more bike riding, some eating whatever was put in front of me at lunch time and then repeating the previous riding/swimming scenario until it was time to have a bath and/or go to bed. If we were lucky we’d see a movie. One movie. In eight weeks. None of this let’s ‘see every single movie that is released during the school holidays’ business. None of this let’s meet at the local kids mega playdome and take out a second mortgage on the house just to walk through the doors.
Now, well now, kids want entertainment and get this, they want to go do STUFF! All. The. Time. Stuff that costs money. What they don’t understand is that every time I agree to take them to a simple movie, I am agreeing to forego their university education if we buy drinks and popcorn.
So I thought about it. If I was going to have to entertain and invigorate these children for weeks on end, they may as well be learning the importance of the money at the same time. But to teach would bore. They had just come in from a whole year of being force fed times tables by Mrs Edgeworth. No, they needed it to be fun. And most importantly, not realise they were even learning.
Here are a few games about how to teach kids the value of money, all whilst they still think they’re having a great time:
Teach your children about virtual transactions:
While your child watches from the back seat, you swipe your credit card, push a few buttons, put some petrol into your car and, just like magic, the car runs again. Children cannot be blamed for thinking that cards are magical and infinite. Break through this by letting your child help you pay for goods at the counter. Let them swipe the card. But also, make them understand and remind them what you’re paying for.
1. Visit the bank/ teach them about financial institutions and their role:
Turn visiting the bank into a game. Let your children interact with the tellers themselves, helping them fill in the forms, even if it’s only the date. Withdrawing cash the old fashioned way. Depositing it. Enquiring about the balance. Interacting and understanding that THIS is the place that houses the cash.