Blog Posts for Tag: TrueSmarts Showcase
Money management lessons are so important, but if we don't teach kids how to make money - they'll never have any money to manage!
Here are our top 10 activities which will help you teach your kids how to bolster their bank accounts and hone their entrepreneurial skills:
1. Advanced Kids Business: This is our gold standard activity because it helps your kids to effectively plan for and implement their own small business. The business planning sheets lead children through the brainstorming, planning, implementation and evaluation of their business venture. Though the plan is simplified it will still ensure that your children know the process involved in starting up a business of their own, a skill which could ensure their future wealth and success!
2. Host An Event: Planning and hosting an event is fun, less time consuming than running a business over an extended period of time and it helps your child develop important leadership, time management and organizational skills. In this activity kids are encouraged to organize and host an event and charge admission/sell concession/ and or sell t-shirts and accessories. Some great ideas for an event your child could host include: an art show, a talent show, a sports tournament, a skateboard tournament, a play, a rock concert, a dance party, or a martial arts demonstration. Essentially your child picks something he/she loves to do and creates an event around it!
3. Movie in a Field: Another great event your child could plan and implement is hosting a movie in a field. Kids could set up a projector, a screen, a laptop computer, lawn chairs, and a concession stand then make a some money while doing something fun and unique with friends and family!
4. All Terrain Brain: This website has several fun games, activities and resources to encourage and engage your budding entrepreneur. I am a big fan of the Business Builder Tool, this is a simple and attractive spread sheet you can use with your kids to help them build a business, price their products/services, and figure out their break even point. What I also like about All Terrain Brain is that it doesn't just focus on helping your kids start a business it also helps them build confidence, leadership, persistence and creativity; all of which will help your children to be more outgoing and successful in all of their undertakings.
5. Lemonade stand: There is nothing wrong with a classic! This is an idea that most kids will come up with on their own, but why not encourage your children to take it to the next level. They could advertise, locate their stand next to a softball tournament on a hot summer day, they could offer a delivery service, or they could sell hot chocolate/coffee at outdoor sporting events in the spring and fall. Teach your kids to take a look at a classic idea and put a twist on it. This will help them to stand out and to be more creative in their endeavors.
6. Dollar a Glass: This is an online simulation game brought to you by the biz kids. In this game kids start up a virtual lemonade stand and serve this tasty beverage to their customers. Along the way kids will be asked questions and given different scenarios and depending on how they answer they will make a profit for the week or loose money for the week. This game is a lot of fun - and it's pretty addictive!
7. Understanding Profit: From the creator of Rich Dad Poor Dad and Rich Kid Smart Kid, comes this engaging online game. In the game "Jessie's Ice Cream Stand" the main character starts up an ice cream stand and works to create a profit. The game has several different versions for different age groups and teaches things like what is profit, price elasticity and how to operate a small business. The Rich Kid Smart Kid Website also has some great age specific resources in the "Grown Ups" section.
8. Sales Pitch and Elevator Pitch: In these activities kids put together and present a sales pitch and then distill it down and make an elevator pitch. Any business your kids start up will require them to do a little sales. The ability to create a sales pitch is not only invaluable for their business, but it also increases their confidence and public speaking skills.
9. Stone Soup : This is a wonderful book to read to your little entrepreneur. It is the story of how a soldier rallied a whole community to create something from nothing! It is an inspirations folk tale that will help kids focus on the opportunities around them.
10. Be your own boss: This online resource breaks down the steps involved in starting up a dog walking business, a comic book publisher business and a car wash business. It encourages kids to get a partner, get organized, plan, advertise, deal with unhappy clients, and use value added sales.
Making money doesn't have to be a chore, and starting up a business doesn't have to be complicated. By encouraging your kids' inner entrepreneur you are enabling them to always look for an opportunity to serve their community better and then to profit from their efforts!
Fall is fast approaching and as kids gear up for another school year it might be a great idea to get them thinking about small business opportunities available in autumn.
Here are some great Fall business ideas for you and your children to consider:
There are a myriad of landscaping activities that need to be done in the fall and there is a crunch for homeowners to get small jobs finished around the yard before the snow flies. Landscaping and odd jobs that need to be done include:
- raking and disposing of leaves
- draining hose lines
- planting bulbs (spring bulbs like tulips need to be planted in the fall)
- painting or staining fences/decks/sheds
- cleaning driveways/sidewalks
Your kids could go around the neighborhood and offer to complete these services for a fee. Better yet, they could create a fall landscaping company with teams of people to do landscaping chores. They could call or walk around the neighborhood and acquire a list of jobs that need to be done, book and assign landscaping jobs to each team and then take a portion of the profits from each completed job.
Fall is the opportunity for sitters to get those wonderful (and lucrative) weekly babysitting gigs. Parents who enjoy playing sports or have regular events will hire a qualified sitter on a regular basis.
Though the best way to get babysitting jobs is to canvass family and friends, you can also achieve good results with free advertisements. Good places and ways to advertise include, putting your name on local babysitting lists (community centers often have these or community association newsletters have them), placing a flyer on a community bulletin board or mail box, or placing an ad on free classifieds like kijiji, craigslist or ebay classifieds.
I always liked the idea of a babysitter's club or hotline. Kids could get a few of their friends together, advertise for jobs, assign sitters to jobs and collect a finder's fee or a portion of the sitter's profits for finding the position.
*Please see safety note below.
School starting means that kids get the opportunity to catch up with friends and there is often a need for a reunion celebration. Kids could plan a dance, a play, a rock concert, a video screening, air-band competition, talent show, video-game tournament, or a sporting event (skateboard competition, football game, race etc.).
They could sell admission, concession items, t-shirts, glow in the dark wristbands etc. It could be immensely profitable and a great opportunity for them to reconnect with friends in a very memorable way!
For more details take a look at Truesmarts' host an event activity.
Warm Drinks at Events:
This is a spin on the traditional lemonade stand. Kids could arm themselves with a couple thermoses of coffee and/or hot chocolate and sell during those chilly outdoor sporting events. They could even set up a small snack stand and sell candy/chips/granola bars/coffee/hot chocolate and so on to loyal and hungry fans. They can get information on outdoor events from couches or league websites.
If your children are the type that enjoy learning and have an aptitude for English, Math, Social Studies or Science they may want to consider tutoring. Tutoring pays very well and there is always a need for it (especially around November when the first batch of report cards come out). Libraries, and Schools often have a list of tutors available and your child can post an add on free classified websites.
*Please see safety note below.
Business Planning for Kids:
You may want to encourage your children to create a basic business plan before they embark on their start up. There is a great kid's business plan available in Advanced Kids Business.
What are your fall start-up ideas?
These are all fantastic ways for your kids to start the year off with a little cash in their pockets. Do you have any great fall start-up ideas?
*Safety Note: Anytime your child is operating a business where they need to go into someone's home it is prudent for you to thoroughly check out the situation. You will want to have a full name, phone number and address for the person who your child is working for and it is a good idea to pick your child up and drop them off for these types of jobs. You will also want to meet and speak with the adult in charge, just to make sure your child is in good hands. Also, make sure your child knows that if they are walking into a situation that makes them uncomfortable in anyway that they can decline the job.
We would like to take this opportunity to highlight some of our most popular and effective activities for teaching your kids how to budget.
Excel Budget Sheet
In the Excel Budget Sheet activity, you have the opportunity to introduce your child to Microsoft Office Excel while teaching them how to create a monthly budget.
If you know Excel fairly well you could create a new budget sheet with your child and then fill it in once a month. This is an excellent time to teach your kids how to set up a document in Excel as well as teach them how to use basic formulas.
If you do not know Excel well, there is a Personal and Family Budget Sheet template attached in the references section of the activity. Simply download the template and fill it in with your child once a month.
It would help your kids to see the value of budgeting if you show them how you budget for your family. Show them where you keep the family budget and when you sit down with them to update their budget sheet - take some time and update yours. If they don't see you doing the things that you are teaching them, they will likely disregard the lesson - it is very important to model good financial behavior for your kids. Kids learn best by seeing and doing. So make sure there is something good for them to see, in addition to a good activity to do.
Food Court Budget
This is a very fun and very simple activity to do with your kids anytime you are in a mall or a place with a food court. At a meal time, go to the food court or cafeteria and give each of your children 5-10 dollars to spend. Tell them they will not be given any more money, so if they want to have a treat they will have to save some of their money for the treat.
Give your children some suggestions for how they can save money and then let them go and get their meal. This is an activity that never gets boring as it is fun to see how far you can stretch a dollar. I know this is a fun strategy, because my parents used it with me - I loved it and always remembered how to be creative in my choices, so that I could get the best value for dollar.
Budget Field Trip
Your kids want to go to a specific destination - let them with the Budget Field Trip activity! But with a very small catch. They have to plan the day and stay within a budget that you predetermine! Have them do a little research online and find out how much admission/tickets will be, have them estimate how much they will spend in treats and toys and have them guess their transportation costs. Then pull out their budget amount in cash give it to them and help them stay on budget.
This activity also includes a useful list of ways to save money. You can find the list in the attachments section of the activity. You could print and give this page to your kids when they are planning and see how much money they can save.
Have your kids been bugging you to re-decorate their room? Use their enthusiasm and the Budget Bedroom activity as a way to teach them how to budget. Get your kids to plan their ideal room. Then set a budget for them, take them to purchase the materials and then redecorate their rooms.
This activity also contains a useful list of ways that your kids could save money and it links to a planning website so your child can create an awesome room on a shoestring!
Budgets can be fun! Really - they can! You just need to tap into a genuine desire your kids have and then create a budgeting activity around it. This will help you to create a positive memory around a good financial habit and will help your child to become a super saver and a brave budgeter.
Is an allowance a good teaching tool or is it ultimately limiting for children?
I have been rattling this question around in my brain for the last few months. I have several big concerns around giving kids an allowance. My first concern is that by tying allowance to the completion of menial, repetitive, and monotonous tasks, we train kids to be card carrying members of the rat race. Yet, If we do not attach allowance to any effort on behalf of the child I think this breeds laziness and a sense of entitlement. I also wonder if by providing an allowance, it limits kid's creativity when trying to figure out how to create cash-flow.
Conversely, I definitely see some benefit to providing children with an allowance. If you gave your children a flat rate at regular intervals you could use this money as an opportunity to teach specific financial lessons. For example, you could give your children a $200 per season allowance which they can only spend on clothing. This will teach kids how to plan and budget. Additionally, if the allowance is tied to some kind of task to be completed this will help kids to understand that they need to work in order to get money and that it isn't just given to them.
After weighing this out I have come to the conclusion that granting children an allowance is not the worst thing you can do, but that it really does not help your child to be innovative and creative. I feel that anything that trains children to be employees erodes creativity and limits a child's initiative. If kids know that they only have to do the dishes and they'll get the money they need to go to the movie - they are less likely to take the initiative and do something unique to earn the money they want. If they can get their immediate desires satisfied by the path of least resistance, then there is no need for them to be creative.
So how do you encourage your child to be a little more creative in how they make their money? Here are some ideas on how you can accomplish just that!
Encourage your children to start a business:
When I was a kid, two other girls and I started a driveway sweeping business. For $5 we would sweep your driveway. Our real stroke of brilliance was that we, three adorable little girls, would appear on your doorstep and rap: "We are the driveway Sweeping Team. We'll sweep your driveway nice and clean!" I believe that we even had a little dance number that went with it . . . but I digress. My point is we took the initiative to assess the needs in our neighborhood (dirty driveways) create a sales pitch (our rap) and provided a service (we swept the driveways). This resulted in us making a killing in exchange for a little effort and entertainment.
Having your kids start a business doesn't have to be an expensive, complicated, and time consuming activity. It can be as simple as discussing needs in the community, suggesting how the needs can be met and then encouraging kids to go out and meet those needs - for a fee of course!
If your child is interested in starting a business and you would like a little more guidance as to how to help them do that - see TrueSmarts' Advanced Kids Business activity, for some worksheets which will help your child get the creative juices and cash flowing!
Teach your children that there is always a way to make the money they need:
In later life it will be very comforting for your children to have an arsenal of techniques to make money. I am thinking of when your child is a young adult starting out, living on oatmeal and apples and trying to figure out how to balance the things they want against what they can afford. Teach your kids that they can always afford the things they want by showing them there is always a way to make money.
Showing your kids different ways to make money could be as simple as teaching them to turn in their pop bottles - or collect the neighbor's pop bottles and return them. Collecting spare change whenever they find it, rolling it and taking it in to exchange for bills and so on.
Or it could be a little more complicated, teach them to make extra money off of their particular skills and talents. For example, your son or daughter is a talented artist - they could make a couple dollars selling their art or drawing portraits. Or your son or daughter is really good at Math, Science or English they could make money tutoring other kids. There are a ton of ways that kids can use their talents to make money. By encouraging them to think this way you will be demonstrating to them that they will always be able to make the money they need to get the things they want.
Teach your kids to be smart consumers and save their money when they can:
A key aspect to always having enough money is being a smart consumer and learning how to save money when you purchase products. Being a smart consumer means that you have an eye for a bargain, you shop around, you research brands, analyze best value for dollar, and you are always looking for ways to save money on the things that you buy. This is a valuable skill to teach your kids as the secret to wealth is not just how much money you bring in, but how well you use the money that you have.
Show kids that if they do a little research, are a little patient and make a little effort they will need less money to buy the things they want and they will have more money left over for future purchases - or better yet savings!
Some ways that kids could save money could include looking for group deals on sites like groupon.com or livsocial.com - often you can get products or services for 50%-70% off. Also encourage kids to shop second hand or where possible at dollar stores. Show kids where to find coupons (either online or in the newspaper) and also demonstrate that the price of a product usually drops after it has been on the market for a little while.
Teach your kids to get their money to work for them:
It never hurts to teach your kids about investing at an early age. An investment could be in stocks and bonds and the like, but it could also be about putting money into things that will increase in value or into a small business that will bring them a profit. Essentially you want to teach your kids how to put a little money in, to get a lot of money back. This will allow your future adults to work smart, not hard!
If you choose to teach your kids about the stock market be open about how and why you invest. Show your children what you are investing in and why as well as how you chose your investments. Show your kids statements from your investments which demonstrate how they increase in value. If they show an interest in and an aptitude for investing in stocks direct them to Wall Street Survivor. This is an investing simulation game where kids are given $100,000 in virtual cash to invest. This site is also jam packed with educational resources. You and your child could both set up an account and compete to see who can turn the biggest virtual profit.
Another way you can teach kids to invest is by showing them how to put money into something so as to increase their profit. For example, if they are going to start a business tutoring people in computer repair, they should invest some money into their education (books, a subscription to Lynda.com, a class etc). The education increases the value of their service and will help them turn a profit.
They could also put money into materials for a business they are starting, maybe a gumball machine, to again increase or create cash flow. Direct your children to the Rich Kid Smart Kid website for a computer game called Reno's Debt Dilemma, it gives a great visual demonstration about good debt (investment), and bad debt (loss). Don't missout on the resources for kids and teens k-12 in the "Grown Ups" section of the Rich Kid Smart Kid website there are all kinds of educational goodies in there.
Money is a very powerful motivator, attitude shaper and teaching tool. When considering an allowance it is important to consider what attitudes, outlooks and lessons you would like to pass on to your child. Once you have prioritized the important skills, provide an allowance in a hybrid approach. Encourage kids to find interesting ways to create cash flow which is independent from your wallet, but also provide target specific allowances to teach kids key skills like budgeting and planning.
Summer is rapidly approaching. The weather is heating up and so is your kid's yearning for the latest summer fashion, gaming device, or technological advancement. It is the perfect time to help your kids start their very own summer business so they earn the money they need to buy the thing(s) they want.
What follows are some great ideas on how to help your child decide what summer business to start, plan for their business, implement their business and then analyze their business for greater success next time.
What Business Should They Start?
Summer offers a myriad of season specific start ups. Some examples could include any type of yard work, lawn mowing, gardening or neighborhood cleanup. Kids have two whole months off from school which opens up possibilities for child care, summer day camps and so on. With the nice weather comes hot opportunities for outdoor events and entertainment. Kids could plan and host an event like an outdoor movie, theatrical production, concert, or a skateboard competition.
Don't neglect the old standby - Lemonade Stands! These can be particularly effective if you get your kids to set their stand up near an outdoor sporting event on a hot day! You could also help your kids to put a new spin on an old favorite. Some ways they could accomplish this include: strapping on some roller-blades and offering a delivery service, offering a 2 for 1 deal or coupon, or giving a portion of their proceeds to charity.
If none of these are to your child's liking then use the Discover Your Business worksheet from TrueSmarts.com's Advanced Kid Business activity. This worksheet will help your child use his or her own interests and talents to devise a start up which is tailor made for your child.
How Should Your Child Plan?
I don't think that you need to sit your child down and make him or her crazy with executive summaries and marketing reports, but it is a great idea to have your child complete a basic plan for his or her business. You can make it as simple as answering the following:
- What are you doing?
- When are you doing it?
- How will you get the materials you need?
- How much will you charge?
A thorough answer to all of the above questions will give your kids the bare bones basics for planning their business.
If you would like your child to do a little more planning for their small business. There is a kid's business planning worksheet in the Advanced Kids Business activity called Plan Your Business. Though simplified, these worksheets will help your child create a complete and comprehensive plan for starting his or her business.
How Should Your Child Analyze The Results?
Once your kids have created and run a small business, take some time to perform a retrospective with them. A retrospective could be as simple as a discussion of how their experience went, whether or not they made a profit, if the experience was what they had anticipated and what they learned or would do differently the next time.
If your kids have started one or two smalls businesses in the past you may want to get a little more involved with the analysis portion of your child's business. Take a look at the Analyze and Improve Your Business section of the Advanced Kids Business activity which includes a simplified excel Balance Sheet and Income Statement. This is a great way for your child to begin thinking about how to maximize his or her profits, decide if there was anything to do differently next time, and reflect on his or her experience.
Reward Their Efforts
Regardless of how successful your kid's business was, you should reward their efforts. Positive feedback is an incredibly powerful reward for kids. A simple, "I am so proud that you started up your own business", goes a very long way!
You could also have a tangible reward. Some ideas for a reward could include: an outing to a favorite restaurant, an afternoon doing a favorite activity, getting to pick the movie on movie night, or you could create a small photo album with pictures from the day they ran their business.
Anything that you can do to create a positive memory around creating a business will drastically increase the likely-hood that your child will try to do it again. If you want to foster the courage, ability, and desire to become an entrepreneur in your children, make sure that you take the time to reward any and all efforts your child makes in this direction.
Every Journey Starts With a Single Step
Starting a summer business is a fantastic way for your kids to learn how to assess neighborhood needs, assess their skills and talents, plan a business, advertise, provide a service, create cash flow, budget, analyze a business, and so much more.
It is also a wonderful way to help your kids to be confident, independent, community minded individuals with the daring to step out and take a risk.
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