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Games That Teach Kids About Money Management

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Family Game Night

We are big advocates for the empowerment that comes with financial literacy. In fact, it is one of the principles we were founded upon. Teaching kids about money management is one of the most important lessons parents, teachers, and guardians can impart to children, but kids (especially young ones) are often resistant or overwhelmed by the messages. Honestly, who can blame them? Without experience and context, learning how to save your pennies can feel boring, confusing, or pointless.

The not-so-secret truth is, learning money management skills can be fun—especially when you turn it into a game. Whether you play board games as a family or share educational video games with your child, learning through interactive play is an excellent way to teach the basics of saving, spending, and investing. Here are some board games that can be used to teach kids about financial literacy:

Board Games

Implementing a family game night is a fun way to gamify learning. There are several board games designed specifically to teach finance skills (like Monopoly, Game of Life, and Pay Day), but kids can also learn budgeting and saving skills from strategy games that ask players to spend and collect resources.

Monopoly/Monopoly Jr.

  • Monopoly (Ages 8+, 2 to 6 Players) is arguably one of the best-known board games of all time. It was designed and patented in 1904 but gained popularity in 1935 when it was purchased by Parker Brothers. Players compete to buy, sell, and trade their way into a total monopoly of the board—all while forcing other players into bankruptcy. It’s an excellent way to reinforce budgeting and math skills while also educating kids (and parents) about how to recover from losses.
  • Monopoly Junior (Ages 5+, 2 to 4 Players) is modified for younger players, but still allows players to buy property, collect money, and travel around the board as they set up amusements along the Boardwalk. The game is designed to help young players learn how to do basic math and make strategic decisions.

The Game of Life

  • The Game of Life (Ages 8+, 2 to 4 Players) is all about making big life decisions. What career path do you pick? Do you want to invest in your education? Get married? Buy a house? Players are given a handful of choices and a spin of the wheel decides their fate based on those choices. The Game of Life also introduces kids to the concept of insurance and the importance of planning for unexpected events.

Catan/Catan: Junior

  • With more than 40 million copies sold since its creation in 1995, Catan (Ages 10+, 3 to 4 Players) is one of the most-played board games in the world. Players compete to be a dominant force on the island of Catan by acquiring, spending, and trading resources (wood, sheep, brick, and ore) to build roads, settlements, and cities. Since resources and roll probabilities are equally distributed across the board, successful gameplay comes down to selecting the best placement and employing clever strategy (a.k.a. budgeting).
  • Catan: Junior (Ages 5+, 2 to 4 Players) is a modified version of the classic game that is suitable for players as young as five. In the game, players collect resources (wood, goats, molasses, and swords) and acquire gold. They can budget and spend their resources on building ships, creating hideouts, and expanding their network as they try to conquer a ring of islands and avoid the dreaded Ghost Captain.

Pay Day

  • Pay Day (Ages 8+, 2 to 6 Players) is a classic board game that simulates a month-long budgeting cycle and teaches kids about the importance of budgeting, saving, and planning for unexpected expenses. Players receive a paycheck at the beginning of the month and then must budget their money for expenses like groceries, bills, and unexpected events. If a player cannot pay all their outstanding bills, they can take out loans and learn about the impact of interest rates. The player with the most money (or the least amount of debt) at the end of the game wins.

Quacks of Quedlinburg

  • Quacks of Quedlinburg (Ages 10+, 2 to 4 Players) is a relatively new game that was launched in 2018. It is a strategy game in which players are quack doctors who build their potions by acquiring ingredients and adding them to their cauldron (hopefully without spoiling the mix). Between rounds, players can spend the money they make from selling potions on more ingredients to make more powerful concoctions. Quacks of Quedlinburg is a push-your-luck game wherein players learn the risks and rewards of gambling by increasingly putting their highest-value tokens in play. What’s more, gameplay is not turn-based. Instead, all the action takes place simultaneously—which sometimes leads to disastrous (or very rewarding) hasty decisions.

Video Games

Video games are another form of entertainment that can be a valuable tool for teaching kids about financial literacy and money management—and they may not even realize they are learning. Some games (like The Sims), are overt about teaching money management skills; others like Minecraft and Animal Crossing are more subtle and simply incorporate budgeting as part of regular gameplay. Here are some video games that can be used to teach kids about financial literacy:

Animal Crossing

  • Animal Crossing (E for Everyone, Ages 3+, Single or Multiplayer) is a popular Nintendo video game that has been around since 2001. The newest version, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, is an excellent game for teaching kids about financial literacy. In the game, players must manage their finances, earn bells (money), and make wise investments to improve their island and keep their adorable animal residents happy. The game has no built-in ending, but throughout the gameplay process, there are lots of opportunities to learn about home (and loan) ownership, savings accounts, the “stalk” market, and frugal living.


  • Minecraft (E for Everyone, Ages 10+, Single or Multiplayer) is another popular video game that can be used to teach kids about financial literacy (among other things). In the game, players must gather resources, build structures, and manage their inventory to survive. Minecraft also has a marketplace where players can buy and sell virtual goods. This type of gameplay not only teaches kids how to spend and make money, but also the impact of supply and demand. The makers of Minecraft are aware of its educational value—so much so that they’ve built an entire platform designed for the purpose called Minecraft: Education Edition. This platform is often used by teachers and parents who want to give kids fun ways to learn about economics, math, literacy, and creative thinking. 

The Sims/SimCity

  • The Sims (T for Teens, Ages 12+, Single Player) is a series of social simulation games that teach kids about small-scale (and large-scale) money management. It also happens to be one of the most successful video game franchises of all time. Players choose a profession, go to work, earn an income, and manage a work-life balance—for better or worse. The Sims games offer an excellent way to discover the joys of good budgeting while also learning the ramifications of poor money management. In one spinoff, SimCity, players oversee a city and must manage its budget, make investments, and balance the needs of their citizens with the city’s financial health.

Stardew Valley

  • Stardew Valley (E for Everyone, Ages 10+, Single or Multiplayer) is a role-playing game that focuses on resource management and smart investments. At the beginning of the game, the player inherits a family farm and must balance the incomes and expenditures of the farm to keep it thriving. Along the way, there are ample opportunities to choose how (or if) the farm will make money—from selecting which crops to grow to deciding how you want to interact with the other townspeople.

If you are looking for online options, there are a few standout options. The U.S. Mint, for example, has put out an entire website devoted to teaching kids money management skills. It includes coloring pages, fun facts, coin-collecting tips, and games that help kids identify coins, spend on a budget, and make change. For the little sports fan in your life, there’s also Financial Football a game that comes from the collaboration between Visa and the NFL. The game is centered on educating youth about personal finance by using football for motivation Teams can compete by answering financial questions to earn yardage and score touchdowns. You can play as your favorite team, choose your game difficulty, decide on the game length, and choose between single or multiplayer.

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