A teacher’s lament. Talking in class? Texting in class? Homework excuses? Nope. Laryssa, a teacher who wrote to me last week is bemoaning how “clueless” her students are about money.
Well, I’m here to help. Easter is coming up and in addition (pun intended) to chocolate bunnies and chicks, why not tuck in a game or toy that ups the kid’s math and money IQ?
One of the very best online sources of all things kid is www.mastermindtoys.com — there are also 11 retail outlets in and near Toronto. Not only does it offer a host of items you won’t find at the local big box store, but there are staff recommendations, detailed descriptions, age and stage suggestions and options for eco-friendly play things.
I challenged them to come up with some ideas to engage young minds and improve the skills needed to compute and understand money. Here’s my top five list distilled from the Mastermind Toys recommendations.
1. Calculating Coin Jar ($17.95 Ages 4 to 6)
What child doesn’t love collecting? Add to that a coin sorter and you have a real hit. This one calculates the total as you go, which is great for this early math age group.
2. Play Currency ($18.95 Ages 4 to 7)
Playing store is a favourite activity in the early years, and it helps to have money.
3. Decorate You Own Piggy Bank (Ages 6+)
Every child needs a piggy, and it’s even better when they can make it their own.
4. Pretend and Play Cash Register ($64.95 Ages 5-9)
Though pricey, I love this toy with lots of bells and whistles including a scale and checkout scanner. and it appeals to a broad age group.
5. Aba-Conundrums ($29.95 Ages 9+)
This hybrid of abacus and puzzle is not only entertaining but it gets pre-teens to tweens thinking logically as they solve 120 conundrums.