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The 13 Best Board Games That Teach Kids Financial Literacy (And Are Actually Fun)

Amanda Mushro  |  May 14, 2020

These board games are a great way to get your kids into a money mindset and teach them real-world financial skills that will help them succeed.

Want to send your kids running to the opposite end of the house? Just start lecturing them about money. The problem is that they’re going to pay the price later in life if they never learn the basics about saving and investing. Most of them already are behind the curve. The average score on a National Financial Educators Council financial literacy test among kids ages 15 to 18 was a failing 63%. 

As taboo as the topic may be among family members, it’s time to get our kids thinking about their money skills. One idea: Transform family game night into financial literacy game night. (Probably best to keep the game night name change to yourself.) 

Here are some board games designed to teach kids in all age groups personal finance skills couched in fun. Game on!

Preschoolers

Exact Change

This game is a favorite among preschool and early elementary teachers because it helps kids learn how to count money. It’s an easy game to learn and can be played in a small group or with just you and your child. While the game is intended for kids five years and up, younger kids can still play with a little help from you. 

Sub Shop Board Game

This family friendly game is one that will grow with your kids and continue to teach different money related skills as they get older. For preschoolers, it’s all about taking orders, making sandwiches quickly, and collecting money for a job well done. Plus they get to ring a bell and yell “Order Up!”—which is adorable.  

Counting Money Puzzles

This game is perfect for your youngest players. In Counting Money, children practice matching coin values to their correct money value to master basic money concepts. The puzzle pieces are self-correcting so little hands can easily fit them together.  Also, once your preschooler begins to understand coin and dollar value, you can upgrade to more advanced sets of this game. 

Elementary Kids

Buy It Right

From teaching coin and bill recognition to making change and learning adding skills, Buy It Right is a shopping game that teaches the value of money. During the game, kids will buy and sell items, set prices for those items, and practice making change. The game does come with a calculator, but parents have the option to skip calculators so everyone can practice some mental math.

Money Bags

This board games challenges kids to earn money for completing chores. Sorry, parents, these chores are only on the game board.  Players practice dollar and cents values, making change, and exchanging money as they choose which entrepreneurial endeavors to take on–like opening a lemonade stand–or which chores to complete—like setting the table. When it’s time to collect money, players have to determine which coins they can or cannot take from the bank because they are given money challenges like making 31 cents without using nickels or 51 cents without using quarters. The player who makes more money than their fellow “investors” wins. 

Pay Day

The original version of this game was made in 1975, and even though the newest version has several upgrades, it still teaches basic money management lessons in a fun way. Pay Day is all about making and spending money wisely. Kids learn how to manage their money, find bargains, and try not to go broke before the next pay day. Since players can choose to play for one or more “months,” this is a game that can be played quickly if your kids only have a few minutes, or if they have time for a longer game during family game night. 

The Allowance Game

This fun and fast-paced board game teaches kids about spending, saving, and budgeting money. Players earn money by landing on jobs and chores. Then they can spend that money on things like ice cream or movie tickets. Kids can even earn interest on their money from the bank. However, if they spend too much money, they’ll be left with nothing… A good lesson, indeed. 

The Game of Life

Break out this old family favorite board game, or get an upgrade with The Game of Life Junior or the version with electronic banking. The concept of the game is still the same—the player who accumulates the most money as they navigate different stages of life, is the winner. This game is great for opening up discussion about spending habits and how saving now can help you later in life. 

Tweens and Teens

Catan

In this wildly popular game, players become the leader of settlers trying to build communities in the undiscovered land of Catan. It’s a great strategy game for both beginners and advanced players to explore together as they try to maximize their resources to win the game.  While there’s  no money involved, this game teaches kids about supply and demand, trading, and resource management. If your kids become fans of Catan, spark financial discussions about the importance of diversifying your income, and thinking strategically about long term financial goals. 

Monopoly

This family favorite teaches kids about investments and earning income. Go with the original game or grab a different version that would interest your tween or teen, like Monopoly Speed that can be played in ten minutes, or the Ultimate Banking Version where players go digital and use ATM cards and a banking unit to keep track of their money.

Modern Art

In this game, you are in control of a world-class museum, and it’s your job to auction off modern art pieces and purchase art from up and coming artists. The winner is the player who has earned the most money for the museum, but it’s not that simple. Players quickly learn that some of the artwork that seemed like it was going to be profitable can decline in value. So not only does this game teach kids how auctions work, but it demonstrates how the value of items can change over time. 

Franklin’s Fortune

In this fast-paced strategy game, players sharpen their financial management skills as they make choices about their careers, education, and plans for the future. Each player has limited energy so they have to strategize which decisions will help them get the most out of Franklin’s fortune.

The Stock Exchange Game

Help your kids learn the basics of the stock market during family game night with The Stock Exchange Game. This game teaches players how to build a portfolio, buy and sell stocks, and make mergers and acquisitions. With different rules for different levels of play, this game is great for beginnings who are just learning about the stock market. 

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