Grandma Rie’s 2011 Money Camp Guide and Overview

When I decided to hold a Grandma’s Money Camp this year, I wanted to have a guide for myself to help me remember the concepts and activities to teach my grandchildren about personal finance. Read about the Money Camp concept here and read about my preparation work here.

Money CampSince my grandchildren were 6 and 3 at the time I held this years money camp, I concentrated on very basic concepts about money. Believe it or not, there is quite a difference in what a 3 ½ year old understands about money vs. what a 6 ¾ year old has experienced. It was sometimes challenging deciding on which activities to pursue – something that was a review for the 6 year old or something too advanced for the 3 year old.

Based on the research and preparation I had done  I had an idea of concepts they should be ready to learn. I had also prepared a questionnaire and gotten it back so the parents could tell me specific things the  kids knew or didn’t know already.

Each Day Had a Particular Focus.

Day 1 – What is Money

The goals for the first day were a) to identify the different US coins and bills, to really look at them, to talk about the actual concept of money, to learn about how the physical coins are made and the different things that can act as money instead of coins and bills (like credit cards); and b) to review/learn about the value of the different coins and bills (for example, 5 pennies are equal to a nickel).

Day 2 – What is money used for (trade, collectors item, buy things, save, invest, give) 

The goals for Day 2 were to learn all the things for which money can be used. Included in this were discussions and activities related to barter, differentiating between needs vs. wants, and to learning that money is limited. We visited a bank, a store and a restaurant to demonstrate the concepts.

Day 3 – How do people get money 

The goal for Day 3 was to learn about what people do to earn money, including talking about what jobs people they know do, reading books about various types of jobs, introducing the concept of being self-employed and also to actually let them earn some money by doing a job or starting a little business, and using it to introduce concepts like customer satisfaction and marketing.

Day 4 – Earn, Spend, Save and Provide an Opportunity to Give

The goals for Day 4 were to do more earning, and also to do some spending, saving and giving – letting the kids decide which they wanted to do and how much of their earned money to allocate to each area.

Day 5 – Review and Recognition

The goals for this abbreviated day were to a) hand out award certificates and small prizes for attending money camp and b) to review (in front of the parents and other relatives) what we remembered of our money camp activities.

What other goals would you have included for teaching kids in this age group about finances?

Within Each Day – An Hour by Hour Guide

Since I’m a bit anal about organization, I set up a spreadsheet that had each day with an hour by hour indication of what activities, resources, and discussions might make sense to do at that time.

For instance, on Day 1, I had various types of US coins and bills to show the kids. I did that when the Dad was still there in the morning, after the kids were fed (you pretty much want to do anything after kids are fed!) – then used that discussion later on in the day as a refer back.

After lunch we would read, then later in the day we would play a board game or pretend play activity that related to the days goals. Even though I had hour by hour activities set up, I didn’t necessarily stick to them strictly. The goal was to enjoy each other and also have them learn about money – not to stick to a strict pre-determined  schedule.

The guide was in the form of a spreadsheet. It contained the goals for the day, the planned activities as well as the resources needed to accomplish those activities and of course the actual schedule.

If you would like to see the actual guide I used, leave a comment below with your email address and I will be happy to share it with you!

What suggestions do you have for me to use on next years Money Camp guide?

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