Financial education: 3 fun Scout activities to try at home with your children

With a history going back over a century, the Scouts Association has been helping children across the UK develop life skills. The badges youngsters earn are commonly associated with getting outdoors but they cover a huge range of areas. The newest badge focuses on developing money skills and offers inspiration for home activities you can do with children too.

It’s not the first time the Scouts have offered activities based on financial education. Between 1916 and 1925, scouts could earn the Thriftyman Proficiency Badge, which focused on the importance of saving. The latest addition will go beyond saving to look at how money is used and encourage children to think more carefully about how they spend money.

While primary school can seem young to start thinking about money, research suggests we start to form financial habits from the age of seven. Starting early can give your children the financial acumen and confidence they need to succeed in life. Even if your child isn’t part of the Scouts, learning about money at home can set positive habits. If you need some inspiration, the activities scouts will need to earn their Money Skills badge can help. Here are three ideas to get you started.

1. Make your own bank

Learning to save money is essential. It can help children understand the value of money, the difference between needs and wants, and form a habit that will be vital in adulthood. This activity is creative while encouraging them to think about how and why they should save. It includes answering some questions to get your child to think about saving:

  • What and why do they want to save?
  • How will they save?
  • What is their goal?

The activity covers saving outside of money, for example, points in a video game or even sweets. Looking at what saving means in life can help them make wiser decisions. But if you’re focusing on money, helping them think of the larger items or even experiences they want, like a new toy or trip to the cinema with friends, is a great place to start. From here, you can create a savings chart or piggy bank that will track their progress towards the goal.

If you haven’t already set up a savings account for your child, doing so together can help cement the ideas learnt in this activity. Being able to see how their savings account is gradually increasing can encourage them to think about saving money when they receive pocket money or gifts.

2. Budget building

This is an activity where you can work together or even turn it into a competition. First, you need to distribute tokens. The Scouts recommend playing some games to earn tokens first. These tokens can then be used to purchase items and materials, with the objective being to build the tallest tower using them.

The items used could be craft items or even household items. Those that are most useful for building a tall tower come with a higher price tag. It’s a game that can boost problem-solving and creative thinking skills, as well as getting children to think about the value each item offers. By only allowing them to purchase the items at the beginning of the activity, it can get them used to setting out a spending plan and sticking to it. They can also learn from their successes and mistakes.

3. Go Phish

Online security is becoming even more important as more financial transactions take place online. Teaching children about the importance of keeping your money and personal details safe from a young age can help them spot a scam and protect themselves.

As well as talking about tips for staying safe when using online accounts, this activity means coming up with a new password for an imaginary account, from simple ones that are easy to remember to more complex ones. Then, using a password checker, you can see how long it would take for each password to be cracked. Who can come up with the strongest one? You can also play a game of guessing what’s included in their password. Have they used their birthday or the name of their favourite toy, for example?

It’s also important to put losing a password into context. Explaining what could happen if someone else used their accounts can help ensure they take more caution when online.

These activities are a great way to start introducing financial concepts and the importance of money to children. Talking about money at home and involving them in some household decisions can improve their grasp on the topics and make sure they’re comfortable with money from a young age.

Please note: This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.