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Category: Budgeting

Cookie Fun Way to Teach Money, Arithmetic, and Geometry

Cookie Fun Way to Teach Money, Arithmetic, and Geometry

Cookies in math class? Absolutely! This fun and engaging hands-on activity will get your students excited about doing math.

Students will be designing their perfect cookie within the limits of a budget. They will be filling out order forms for cookies, candy and frosting then designing and drawing their final product. This fun activity seamlessly ties in important concepts in math, specifically, addition, subtraction, multiplication and division with money, and attributes of geometric shapes.

This lesson is divided into grades 2-3 and grades 4-5. In grades 2-3 students get lots of practice adding and subtracting with coins. There are coin counting mats and coin sheets to help students as they fill out their order forms. In grades 4-5, in addition to filling out their order forms, students will get practice using a compass and centimeter ruler.

There’s nothing like cookies and M&Ms to get students motivated about doing math. But the best part is, they get to eat their math work when they’re done!

Along with the pdf, you’ll recieve a private link to the video version of the lesson where I share samples and offer tips.

Check out this video to see a preview of this lesson: Cookie Fun Preview

Click here for more information or to buy the lesson.

Supported standards:
CCSS: 2.OA.1,2.OA.2, 2.NBT.5, 2.NBT.6, 2.NBT.7, 2.MD.8, 2.G.1, 3.OA.1, 3.OA.3, 3.OA.4, 3.OA.7, 3.NBT.2, 3.G.1, 4.OA.2, 4.NBT.4, 4.NBT.5, 4.MD.1, 4.MD2, 4.MD5, 4G.1, 4G.2, 5.NBT.5, 5.G.3, 5.G.4
TEKS: Second Grade: 4A, 4B, 4C, 4D, 5A, 6A, 8A, 8C; Third grade: 4A, 4C, 4E, 4G, 4K, 5A, 5B, 5D, 6A, 6B; Fourth Grade: 2E, 4A, 4C, 4D, 4H, 6A, 6C, 6D, 8A, 8C; Fifth Grade: 3A, 3D, 3E, 5, 7

Of Slugs and Budgets – Teaching Money Management to Kids

Of Slugs and Budgets – Teaching Money Management to Kids

When my oldest son, Nathan, was four years old, I caught him crying silently in bed one night. I had gone back into his room to tuck him in as he liked to spend a few minutes “reading” to himself before saying goodnight. Seeing him crying concerned me.

“Nathan, what’s the matter?” I asked.

He lifted the book he had been reading and turned to the page where a cartoon representation of a slug was sitting behind a ticket booth. The sign read: Hugs and Kisses $1.00 50¢ 25¢ 05¢. The book he was sharing with me was called The Unhuggables: the truth about snakes, skunks, spiders, and other animals that are hard to love.

“He looks so sad,” Nathan sniffed, pointing to the slug, who did, indeed, look pretty sad. “No-one wants to give him a hug.”

Not being a huge fan of slugs, myself, but relieved that this was what made him upset, I had to quickly figure out what purpose slugs served.

“Oh, honey,” I stalled, “Slugs are misunderstood. They’re actually quite useful. They decompose a lot of dead leaves and that’s a very good thing because it puts nutrients back into the soil which helps flowers grow. But not many people know this otherwise I’m sure they would be giving him hugs and kisses.”

I actually impressed myself that this little bit of information about slugs surfaced in my brain. I guess I really was listening in biology class. And the good news is that hearing this seemed to satisfy Nathan.

“We should tell people that slugs are good,” he said.

“Yes, we should,” I agreed. Five minutes later, he was asleep.

Budgets are like slugs. They’re often misunderstood. And because of that, people find them unhuggable.

But budgets actually serve a very important function. Budgets help us get the things we want in life: a new car, a house, college education for our kids, more time with our family, the ability to travel to exotic places… Money is the tool that can help us achieve those desires. A budget helps us use that tool effectively.

So teaching our kids how to budget is important if we want them to achieve their goals in life. Kids budgeting? Of course! The good news is, teaching them is pretty simple. Here are three ways to give your kids hands-on experiences with budgeting (excerpted from the book Raised for Richness):

The Birthday Party – ages 7+

Decide how much you are willing to spend on your child’s birthday party. Get CASH in that amount (that’s your budget) and put it in an envelope labeled ‘(Sara’s) Birthday Party’. You’ll use the envelope to help you keep track of your running expenses.

Then have your child help you make a list of all the expenses related to the party. Making a list will help you stay focused when you’re shopping. And thinking of these in advance will teach your child to be organized. She’ll need to consider number of guests, party games, food, party favors, paper plates, etc.

Now the fun part…you get to go shopping. As you buy items, write the total on the envelope and keep a running balance. Using cash will underscore the value of a dollar (it makes a difference if you can SEE the money) and help you stick to the budget.

Tweens and teens can go a step further and come up with the “flow” of the party…when to play games, when to eat, etc.

Clothing Allowance: Tweens and Teenagers

This is a great back-to-school-shopping activity, but can still be used any time of the year. Tweens and teens are quite capable of shopping for themselves. They may make mistakes along the way, but those are great learning opportunities. So giving them a lump sum of money and putting them in charge of spending within the limits of a budget is good practice.

Just like the birthday party activity, begin by deciding how much you’re willing to spend on clothing. Consider how long you expect those clothes to last. In other words, are they shopping for all their fall/winter clothes? Then have your child make a list of needed items: 2 pair of jeans, three t-shirts, socks, warm jacket, etc.

Again, get CASH in the needed amount. Tell him that he needs to buy all the items on the list and any money left over is his to keep! This usually gets kids to think carefully about their purchases and look for good deals. Instant savvy shoppers!

The Cell Phone: Teenagers

Parents have been handed an unbelievable tool to help teach teens how to budget. It’s the cell phone. Yup, that object of love and hate. Done correctly, it becomes an object of learning. Here’s how.

Teens need to stay connected to their friends. This is normal as they figure out their place in the world. Cell phones keep them connected. Using their “need” for a cell phone as the motivator, we can teach them basic money management skills such as budgeting and paying bills.

First, teens need to know that along with a cell phone comes responsibility. Keeping track of your cell phone, resisting the urge to text during dinner, and paying your phone bill. Kids paying bills? You bet! And the best time to teach them is while they are still hanging out with you.

Next, it’s important to establish what part of the phone bill your child will be responsible for. For example, you may pay the family plan fee but maybe your teen pays the additional phone line fee, texting, and upgrades…

Now comes the fun part. Kids learn to budget their money in the context of something the love…their cell phone! Upgrades? They pay. Overages? They pay. Lost phone? They pay. Unpaid bill? No phone. See how simple it is? Okay, so it’s going to take a few months before everyone understands how the whole thing works, but when that happens, it’s a thing of beauty. Kids are happy; as long as they budget their money correctly, they stay connected to their friends. Parents are happy, their kids are learning real life skills. It’s a win/win.

Although a lot of parents are willing to pay for their kids’ cell phones because it offers peace of mind, how about the peace of mind that comes with knowing your child is ready to take on the financial challenges that await her out there? Don’t miss this silver platter opportunity. With teens, when you get the chance, take it!

Great Holiday Gifts: Board Games that Teach Money Concepts to Kids

Great Holiday Gifts: Board Games that Teach Money Concepts to Kids

Board games are always great gifts for the holidays.  And board games that teach kids money skills are doubly great!  The key is to sneak in the “money conversation” as you play.

For example, the popular Game of Life oozes opportunities to discuss buying a house, paying insurance, being prepared for unexpected expenses, playing the stock market…

And the lesser known Allowance Game is perfect for discussing wise spending choices, earning interest on savings, and jobs that your kids can do to earn extra money.   Gently tie in your real life experiences with these important money topics as they come up during the game.

We sometimes assume that, through osmosis, kids will make the connections between the money lessons in the game and what happens in the real world.  That is not always true, so it’s up to us to be on the lookout for these priceless opportunities!

Here is a list of additional fun games that help teach kids about money:

Presto Change-o (ages 4 and up)  Making change

Monopoly Junior (ages 5 to 8)  Adding/subtracting money

Pit (ages 7 and up)  Investing, understanding the stock market

Cashflow for Kids (ages 7 and up)  Investing, general financial education

Payday (ages 8 and up)  Household finances, bill paying

Monopoly (ages 8 and up)  Adding/subtracting money, real estate

Teaching Kids the Price of Luxury – A Teachable Money Moment

Teaching Kids the Price of Luxury – A Teachable Money Moment

It’s our job as parents to provide food, shelter, and clothing to our kids.  But no where in the manual does it say that our little cherubs need to be clothed in the finest of linens.

So the next time you’re out shopping with Junior, and he is just drooling over those $100 Lacoste shoes that “everyone is wearing”, remind him that you will always make sure his toes are dry and comfy, but your shoe budget taps out at ($60).

Smile, and then add that you are more than willing to have him pay the difference.  Tell him that’s the price of luxury.  Then let him decide if he’s willing to plunk down his money on the latest fad.

This is a great way to get kids to reflect on what they really value and underscores the difference between needs and wants.

Renting vs Buying a Saxophone

Renting vs Buying a Saxophone

This is Nathan.  He’s playing By Loch and Mountain, one of my absolute favorite pieces he learned in middle school.  That was five years ago.  Nathan is now headed off to college soon and will not be taking his saxophone with him.  So I’m selling it.

Until today, it had been three years since he tooted a note.  He quit band his sophomore year in high school.  Even so, I’d been holding on to the sax in the off-chance that he might pick it up again.   That never happened and now it’s time to move on.

I bought the sax seven years ago on ebay and paid $367.  It was my very first ebay purchase and I was stressed out.  I’ll never forget that I was bidding against ‘Rosie’ and, gosh darn it, Rosie was not going to win.  I remember hyper-ventilating as the clock ticked down to bidding close and I was trying to increase my bid.  It was an unbelievably stressful event but my kid needed a sax.

I probably paid more than I needed to.  But let’s break down the math.  At the time, it cost $45 a month to rent a sax.  Multiply that by 9 months and the total yearly cost for a rental adds up to $405.  He played the instrument for 4 years.  So $405 times 4 = $1620.  Sheesh, that’s a lot of money.

Two days ago I placed an ad on Craig’s list and listed the sax for $300.  It’s in great shape.  And came with 5 brand new reeds.  Those things are pricey so it’s a bonus to the buyer.

Tonight I sold the sax.

So let’s do a little more math.  The original price I paid was $367.  I just got $300 in cash.  That means that it cost me $67 to have Nathan entertain us with his sax playing for four years.

Okay, so there’s the price of the reeds that I seemed to always be buying.  At $2 a pop, those add up.  Then there was the time that one of the palm keys needed to be replaced.  That cost $50.  Of course, when the lower oct key mechanism needed alignment, that was another $55.  Those things are simply going to happen.

But all in all, purchasing vs renting was absolutely the way to go.  And getting misty over the band’s rendition of By Loch and Mountain…well, that was priceless.