How can you teach financial literacy to a child?

How can you teach financial literacy to a child?

Can studying financial literacy be interesting, fun and productive at the same time? Sure it can! You can’t believe it? Then we invite you to read the advice by career guidance expert, teacher of financial literacy in CISC_Kyiv, trainer certified by the “Academy for innovational development of education”, speaker of School Angels Ukraine project – Viacheslav Zrazhevsky.

When is it better to start studying financial literacy

Studying financial literacy as a child (it’s best to start at 7) forms a correct financial behavior and habits: ✓ from counting the change at the supermarket; ✓ to a detailed studying of any financial document the teenager is about to sign.

Financial literacy in adult life helps make reasonable decisions, orientate quickly in the whirl of financial possibilities, to save money effectively and to invest your personal funds.

The aim of “Financial literacy” course is revealing to the children the laws of financial world through games and real projects. These laws are strictly logical and intuitively simple, so even the junior students can cope with the tasks perfectly.

A child can learn by heart, understand and remember any information. But only if the child discovers such information by HIM/HERSELF, takes it from EXPERIENCE and practical tasks, then the child will be able to apply such knowledge throughout the whole life.

Our purpose is to help the children obtain such experience and to raise the practical knowledge to the level of financial reflex.

Teaching financial literacy in CISC

We base the teaching of financial literacy in CISC on real-life and business examples. The students like such tasks, they can see that the finance and business are not that complicated.

Upon fininshing certain topics, we try ourselves in finance management and money earning in practice. We create internal short-term projects to this end. The last of such projects was only for two days, but the children managed to earn money on their own:

The children sketched a small material dream and determined differenet ways of earning the money. Some of the children wrote fairy-tales and created comics which then were sold, some of the children made slimes and squishies, while the others created scenarios of a magic show; there was one nice idea – to sell the dried apples from grandma’s garden; and we had the classic ideas too – selling sweets. By the way, the student who sold cookies earned the most.

One more peculiarity of teaching financial literacy in CISC are the hidden super-complex tasks, which are of great importance. Since the sphere of financial and business knowledge has many exceptions, such tasks mostly involve attentiveness.


At the lesson “Permanent and variable expenses” we ran a virtual business, dividing in two teams. At the beginning of the lesson the children received a business development loan. Well, the business was on the upswing, everyone was satisfied with the profits, but by the end of the lesson everyone forgot about the loan with the interest accrued… We started recollecting what might have skipped our attention and suddenly remembered that we have the loan to pay. I think that such experience will become very useful for the students in adult life.

Examples of financial literacy integration with other disciplines

There are no limitations in this respect. We can successfully integrate into the block of humanitarian disciplines, natural or exaxct sciences.

With mathematics

We cannot avoid mathematical calculations when planning a budget. Algebraic distribution of complex into simple is the basis for a successful financial planning.

With music

A very unusual and successful example of integration with music lessons. After finishing complex time-limited tasks we make short 5-minute breaks and listen to light music with our eyes shut. The effect is amazing, the children receive a charge of energy and power. And at the end of the lesson we discuss the effect of music on brain activity.

With Spanish language

We can set tasks on the basis of real offers on the Spanish version of Airbnb. For instance, create in “Entertainment” section of the site a programme of accommodation for groups of children in Barcelona and calculate the budget.

At our next lesson, when we started the project of opening a tour company, the children easily used the experience from our previous lessons.


Dialogue with parents – we talk about the money

In toy stores we can often hear: “mommy, please buy me this, and that, and one more, and ten more” and the answer: “it’s too expensive”. Until the child learns to evaluate own capital and expenses, he/she will never be able to understand what “expensive” is and how it is evaluated.

This situation can be solve in the following manner – we can give the child EXPERIENCE, i.e. the pocket money with one condition – to spend it on anything not harmful for the health. The sum must not be too large, but must be fixed, for example, on monthly basis.

A moment is sure to come when a child will feel that his/her desires are much larger than possibilities. As a rule, that is the moment when children start a dialogue with the parents about earning own money. Sometimes such dialogues lead to having a financial planning and accounting.

There is one more crucial moment. A child cannot plan the expenses for more than a month. If the parents start explaining that the child must save money for 5 years in order to buy a new cell phone, it will not be productive. But we can apply a different approach – write together a potential plan of incomes/expenses in order to decrease the time of waiting for the new cell phone.

And, of course, the first thing you must do in the pre-school period is to give the child a money-box where the child will gather and keep all the coins forming the first own capital. You can also buy a nice wallet and teach how to organize money and keep it in order. The order is very important for financial literacy.

Financial literacy is a fun kind of science

If we want to make the financial literacy lesson fun, we must give the tasks that are both practical and familiar to the children. And it’s even better if we divide the tasks according to different roles.

The children enjoy real-business cases of such companies as Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Samsung, Apple, Tesla. If we imagine someone in the role of Elon Musk, the whole class will gladly engage into developing his business. And if we do not set limitations or conventional solutions, the creative children’s brains will definitely produce something very interesting!

The thing is that the children mostly are afraid of money. And helping them conquer such fear and to make the lesson more fun is one of the main tasks for a financial literacy teacher.


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