Blog Posts

Choosing Money Activities Your Kids Will Remember!

Cindy Posted May 24, 2013
by Cindy

Your kids are bright, active, curious little beings and money is a part of their world. Maybe they are asking financial questions that you don't know the best way to answer or maybe you want to make sure that your kids have the financial literacy skills they need to be successful in the real world. Whatever your motivation, you are looking for activities you can do with your kids which will address their questions and help them to be confident with the financial realities of our world.

Mom Teaching Money To Her Child

So, what are the things that make activities effective and what should you be looking for in order to increase the impact of the lessons that you are teaching your children?

What follows are some guidelines for how to choose money activities for your kids and some suggestions about what will make those lessons stick! 

Make It Fun:
My parents were very focused on teaching me about financial literacy. But the lessons that really took hold were the ones which were fun and offered an interesting intellectual challenge. For instance, my parents taught me to budget by taking me to the food court and giving me a five dollar bill. I was allowed to buy anything that I wanted, but I was not allowed to exceed the five dollar budget. This was fun, and it offered an interesting intellectual challenge (i.e. how do I get the meal I want - and still have money left over for dessert?).

To the contrary, the lessons that were forced didn't stick as well and in some cases I feel resistant to those principles even though I know they are sensible things to do. As an example, my Dad used to sit me down in front of Quicken and make me reconcile my receipts on a monthly basis - I hated it - and my Dad had to nag me to get me to do it. It's not that I don't do this now, but because I felt pressured (badgered really) I, to this day, have a negative response every time I sit down to do this.

My advice, keep things light, make them into a game or a challenge were possible and avoid nagging. 

Make It Hands On:
Edgar Dale's Cone of Learning states that we remember:The Cone Of Learning

  • 10% of what we read
  • 20% of what we hear
  • 30% of what we see
  • 50% of what we see and hear
  • 70% of what we say
  • and a whopping 90% of what we say and do!

If you want your kids to remember something then you need to make it active, hands on, and then you need to get them to tell you about it. Activities where they makes something (a craft, model, presentation, game) are going to have a greater impact than if you were to give them four lectures! How's that for bang for your educational buck?

This doesn't have to be complicated you can simply issue a challenge to your child and get them to show you if and why something is important. They then research the question and create a presentation or a game to illustrate what they find. An additional benefit to this strategy is that you can have a much deeper discussion with your children on the topic because they know more about it than they did before and more likely than not they are already hooked.

Consider The Context:

Nothing has more impact than the exact right information, at the exact right time presented in the exact right way. Listen to the things your kids are saying and asking. Then find activities which will give them the answers, information or skills they are looking for.

Example, when I was ten I desperately wanted a ghetto blaster (stereo, for those non-nineties children). My Dad used that opportunity  to teach me how to save up, research different brands of stereos, consider my specific needs and shop around for the right stereo. I remember being really proud of that ghetto blaster I'd saved for it, shopped for it, waited for it and the next thing I knew I was making mixed tapes with ease!

My point is, things tend to leave a greater impression when it happens in the correct context. In the teaching profession we called them "teachable moments". They are those magical times when your child wants something (an item, information, an answer to a question) and you have the exact right response - educational bulls eye!  

Practice, Practice, Practice:
Repetition and practice, without becoming tedious, are important ways to ensure your lessons are getting through to your child. Don't be afraid to have your child try something more than once or at regular intervals. They will become more confident and competent at the activity every time they try. There are also new lessons, perspectives and conversations to be explored every time you do something.

If you are confronted with the, "but we've already done this" whine, challenge your kids to do it again but do it even better than the first time!    

Make Sure It's Accurate:
You want to make sure that the activity is giving your kids good, up to date, financially sound information. Anytime that you are going to do a money activity with your kids you will personally want to do it first. Imagine that you succeed in helping your child ingrain a financial principle or financial information that is incorrect or misguided, it could have negative long term effects.

You can't really control what your kids will take away from any given money activity. What you can control is how you present money activities for your kids and their attitudes towards money in the long run.

For fun, hands on and engaging money activities for your kids take a look at our TrueSmarts Academy. Your children can earn points and badges while improving their financial literacy skills and entrepreneurial attitudes. 

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TrueSmarts' Founder Interviewed by CTV Morning Live About Financial Literacy

TrueSmarts Posted May 22, 2013
by TrueSmarts

Chris Epp of CTV Morning Live interviewed Rob Shaw this morning. Our founder discussed the importance of introducing financial literacy to kids at an early age. You can find the interview here:

TrueSmarts founder on CTV discussing financial literacy

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Tags: TrueSmarts Press 


TrueSmarts Is Startup Of The Week!

TrueSmarts Posted May 10, 2013
by TrueSmarts

TrueSmarts has been highlighted as the Startup of the Week in the Calgary Herald. In the interview with TrueSmarts' founder, Rob Shaw, Lloyed Lobo explores the roots and philosophy of Read this article and you will learn what drives our passion for teaching kids money and business skills, how we do things and what we are working to accomplish.

Bake Sale


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Tags: TrueSmarts Press 


Teach Your Kids To Sell

Cindy Posted May 3, 2013
by Cindy

Inspired By Cookies:

I was a Brownie, Girl Guide, Pathfinder, and a Junior Leader - in total I spent 14 years of my life as an active member of the guiding organization. And during those 14 years I lugged around a fair share of girl guide cookies. Thus, when a couple of adorable girls sporting cute uniforms and enthusiastic smiles showed up on my doorstep toting these boxes of sweet nutritional death - I was compelled to buy two boxes.

Guides Selling Cookies

While conversing with these brilliant young ladies, I described my experience with selling cookies. I was never very good at selling - I probably only sold 10 - 20 boxes a year. (In my defense my home town only had about 16000 people. Not as many selling opportunities as there are in a city of over a million.) The young lady standing on my door step proudly stated that she sold 17 cases in a year.  17 cases! That's 204 boxes of cookies, $5 a box means that she made a total $1020 in sales - not bad for an 11 year old!

I expressed my surprise and told her that she must be a sales genius, to which she replied that the secret to selling was "hotspots!" She took a couple cases to her dad's work and a few other places where there were going to be numerous people who would be, like me, helpless against the forces of Girl Guides bearing nougat! Smart Girl!

Teach your kids to sell:

I thought about the skills that this young lady had employed and began thinking that selling cookies for guides, or chocolate bars for band, or raffle tickets for sporting events or any other fundraiser where your child needs to sell some product - offers a fantastic opportunity to teach kids the art of sales.

Here are some ideas and activities which will help you teach your kids to sell.

Identify the Target Market:

Sit down with your child and have a discussion, ask your child two questions 1) Who will buy this? 2) Why will they buy this? Write down a list of individuals/groups of people that would be interested in buying what they are selling and why they think that people will make a purchase. Here are some ideas for groups of people and their possible motivations:

Group Motivation
Family Members Want to be supportive
Co-workers Want to be supportive

Want to be supportive to your child and want to make a difference in their community.

ex-members, athletes, etc.

They identify with your child and want to support an organization to which they once belonged./p>


Finding Hotspots:

What defines a "Hotspot"? A hotspot is a location where there will be a high density pocket of motivated buyers. The girl guide I spoke about went to her dad's work. An office full of supportive co-workers + her in uniform looking cuter than pie = cha ching!

The office is a good place to start, but there is also school. Get your child to talk to an administrator and see if it is possible to set up a booth in the cafeteria or if the child would be allowed to sell in the teacher's lounge (the teacher's lounge is a gold mine by the way).

Try to find an event that will bring a large group of ex-members to your child's organization together and set up a booth there. Some of these events could be a sporting event, rally, party, or a meeting.

Sales Pitch

Sales Pitch:

You could help your child create a sales presentation for his/her product. Take a look at the TrueSmarts Sales Pitch activity for ideas on how to create one. You child could present their pitch at a gathering, or for family members. Chances are the prospective buyers will be impressed with the extra effort he/she has put into selling their product and this might motivate them to make a bigger purchase.

Elevator Pitch:

If your child is going door to door or they are selling in a more fast paced situations they may want to create an elevator pitch. An elevator pitch is a two to three sentence synopsis of the use and advantages of the product they are selling. See TrueSmarts' Elevator Pitch activity for more complete instructions on how to create this type of sales pitch.


This might be a good way to have the buyers come to your child. Here are some advertising ideas that your child could use:

  • Create and distribute flyers: Prospective buyers need to know what the offering is and a date, time and location where they can buy. Kids could put these on school bulletin boards, or in coffee shops (as long as what you are selling is not for profit most coffee shops will let you advertise on a bulletin board or have flyers at the till)
  • If your child is selling door to door: Leave "sorry we missed you" flyers on potential customer's doors if they are not home. Detail what is being sold as well as where and when they would be able to make a purchase if they wanted to.
  • Your child could create and publish a simple website: Publishing an HTML page with a contact form for customers to place orders could be very effective. Flyer's or brochures should point back to their website.
  • Your child could create an e-mail campaign: Email would be an effective means to reach relatives or contacts who are out of you neighborhood or out of town. Your child might also be able to get a contact list with e-mail addresses for past members / athletes etc. from a leader or a coach).



At some point or another your child will have to sell something to someone. Why not use these times as an opportunity to teach your kids to sell.

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Tags: Marketing  Interpersonal Intelligence  Communication 


Business Brained Kids: Encouraging Entrepreneurial Skills In Your Kids

TrueSmarts Posted Apr 12, 2013
by TrueSmarts

Encourage your little entrepreneurs by helping them develop the ability to think creatively, never give up and spot a business opportunity. This article, by TrueSmarts editor Cindy Duffin, gives you invaluable insights as well as practical ideas for how to develop your kids' business brain. 

Business Kids

 Finished reading the article and want more? Take a look at the Entrepreneurship stream in TrueSmarts Academy. There are hundreds more fantastic, fun, and hands on business activities for kids, which will help them to learn key business skills such as leadership, creativity, organization, time management, sales, marketing and so much more. Your kids will get to earn points, collect badges and begin building their business brain!

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Tags: Creativity  TrueSmarts Site News  Ingenuity   Innovation 


Announcing TrueSmarts Academy - Teaching Kids Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship one Badge at a Time

Cindy Posted Mar 12, 2013
by Cindy

We are very excited to announce the arrival of TrueSmarts Academy!

This engaging new platform makes it easier than ever for you to provide your kids with an opportunity to learn and develop their financial literacy skills and entrepreneurial attitudes.

From day one, we’ve worked hard to provide you with Activities that would help you cultivate confident, outgoing, creative, and well-rounded children.

With TrueSmarts Academy, we have handpicked some of our already fantastic activities and organized them into two streams: Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship. Within these two streams, we’ve created a series of progressive badges that your children can now earn as they complete activities. Once they have earned all of the badges within a stream, you can rest assured knowing that they have acquired a solid foundation in the subjects and gained valuable experience.

TrueSmarts Academy

You can continue to work, hand in hand with your kids completing activities, however, with the introduction of TrueSmarts Academy, kids are now able to choose and complete activities on their own schedule.

You’ll also be better equipped to monitor their progress and provide assistance when necessary.

Sign up today and give your kids the advantage of financial literacy and entrepreneurship.

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Tags: TrueSmarts Site News