Maths is a subject kids either love or hate. For some, maths comes naturally, but for others, it can take a little work. Even if your child doesn’t enjoy or excel in maths, there are fun ways you can help to build their financial literacy.

1. Divide and conquer

A sense of monetary value and different types of bank notes is a financial lesson you can gently introduce your child to once they know how to count. Sit down with your child and show them 2 items of varying value – for example, a toy car, a video game or a bar of chocolate. Give them some $1 and $2 coins as well as a $5, $10 and $20 note and ask them what notes and coins they would need to buy each item. 

2. Go shopping

From a young age, kids love helping with the shopping. Tapping into this sense of responsibility is a great way to develop their financial literacy. You can ask them to help you create a mini-budget, give them the task of putting those items into their trolley, and then practice adding up what they cost.

Give it a try:

  • Cut out some pictures of your child’s favourite foods – these can be pictures from magazines or ones you’ve found online
  • Then, use a marker to write an estimated dollar value on each item 
  • Get them to pretend they're going to the shop and give them a budget 
  • They can then glue the items they can afford onto a sheet of paper - that's the shopping done. 

3. Count coins

Learning how to add coins can be tricky for children, particularly children who aren’t confident with maths. Here's how to make it simpler and more fun:

  • Create a pile of coins, with as much variety in the denominations as possible 
  • Get your child to sort the coins into 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c piles 
  • Ask them to use several coins to make up a dollar in total value
  • Then, ask them to find other ways, using the coins, to make up a dollar in total value – e.g. 2 x 50c, 5 x 20c, 10 x 10c. For extra motivation, tell them if they can come up with more than 3 variations, they can spend $3 on a treat

See our Youthsaver account for kids and discover tools, games and activities to help kids learn about money

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Things you should know

This article is intended to provide general information of an educational nature only. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product advice. As this information has been prepared without considering your objectives, financial situation or needs. You should, before acting on this, consider the appropriateness to your circumstances.