Blog Posts

How To Teach Kids About Money and Have Fun Too

Cindy Posted Oct 12, 2012
by Cindy

Here is what Grace T. Thompson had to say in an article that she wrote when mentioning TrueSmarts:

parent teaching a child about money

"Talking to kids about money is an important part of a parent’s role when bringing up their child. Unfortunately, however, most loving parents hesitate to talk about this, as they feel it is too soon for a child to shoulder such responsibility. So, you can start this kind of discussion on a lighter note in the early years of a child’s life. Parents should not hesitate in discussing money matters with their kids. Experts believe that as soon as your child starts asking for things, you should make them realize that things cost money. This will help them to understand that money is important and useful.

. . .

With the advancement of technology and easy access to the internet, nowadays there are many easy and fun ways available of communicating this important lesson to young children. Sites like,,, etc. provide many interesting money centered games which would make learning about money a friendly experience for children."

We couldn't agree more...

It's never too early to start teaching financial literacy to your children, just make sure that the lessons you are teaching are age appropriate and are not destructive to your relationship with your child. Some great TrueSmarts' activities to do with your young child include:

1. Three Piggy Bank System

2. Felt Wallet

3. Tooth Fairy

4. Free Money

5. Stone Soup

Have fun!

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Tags: TrueSmarts Press 


Entrepreneurial Skills For Kids: Top Ten Activities

Cindy Posted Oct 10, 2012
by Cindy

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:

Kids Business

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!

outdoor movie3. 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 lemonade standwhy 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.

stone soup9. 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!

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Tags: Income  Calculated Risk  Cash Flow  Money  TrueSmarts Showcase  Goods and Services  Allowance 


Fall Business Ideas for Kids

Cindy Posted Sep 5, 2012
by Cindy

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 raking leavesof 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.

Event Planning:

rock bandSchool 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. 

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Tags: Marketing  Income  Cash Flow  Money  Customer Service  TrueSmarts Showcase  Goods and Services 


Rich Kid Smart Kid

Cindy Posted Aug 23, 2012
by Cindy

Robert Kiyosaki, author of Rich Dad Poor Dad, wrote Rich Kid Smart Kid in order to help parents teach their children financial lessons that are not taught in schools. Kiyosaki helps you empower your children to increase their financial IQ, secure their financial future, and side step the rat race.

Rich Kid Smart Kid

Rich Kid Smart Kid has a companion website,, which offers several online games and lots of resources for you to either direct your kids and teens towards or to work through as a family.

This Book's Impact on TrueSmarts:

We agree that there is a glaring gap in our education system with regards to financial learning, so TrueSmarts offers a multitude of activities around Kyosaki's key concepts, and have included this book as one of our most important resources.

Here are some TrueSmarts activities which are based on the Rich Kid Smart Kid book:


Other useful and inspiring titles by Richard Kiyosaki include:


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Tags: Income  TrueSmarts Inspiration  Personal Finances  Liabilities  Assets  Expenses 


Teach Your Kids To Budget

Cindy Posted Jul 10, 2012
by Cindy

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.

excelIf 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.

Budget Bedroom

BedroomHave 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.

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Tags: Logical-Mathematical Intelligence  Budgeting  Income  Money  Personal Finances  Expenses  TrueSmarts Showcase  Consumer Smarts 


Outliers, The Story of Success

Cindy Posted Jun 13, 2012
by Cindy

"Outlier is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience."* A person who is an outlier is someone who is so exceptional as to be outside of normal human experience.

The Outliers Book

In the book titled, "Outliers, The Story of Success", Malcolm Gladwell postulates that success has less to do with innate ability and more to do with a combination of hard work and favorable circumstances. Some of the oportunitie that Gladwell writes about include:

  • birth-date
  • culture/language
  • right time/right place
  • more opportunities to practice

Gladwell takes a close look at what makes someone immensely successful. He explores everything form meteoric rise of The Beatles, to NHL Hockey players, to software giants like Bill Gates; and he exposes a common pattern in the case of each one. Gladwell demonstrates again and again that an opportunity combined with 10,000 hours of meaningful practice is what it takes to create an 'Outlier'.

The Outliers identifies that great success is made up of a complex network of opportunities, culture, upbringing, talent, and hard work.

This book's impact on TrueSmarts:

The idea that we need not only the right opportunities but also 10,000 hours of meaningful work is something that has inspired us at TrueSmarts. Meaningful work means that an activity needs to:

  1. Be mentally challenging
  2. Have an internal or extrinsic reward that is easy for kids to understand.
  3. Allow kids the autonomy to do it.

All of our activities keep these concepts in mind and help you to teach your children key financial, entrepreneurial, leadership and social skills in a way that is both meaningful and rewarding.

Also, Gladwell stipulates that one opportunity that middle class parents can give their children is the cultivation of practical knowledge through a parenting style called "Concerted Cultivation". In concentrated cultivation, children are actively parented. They are taught to talk to and question people in authority, they are taught to manipulate their environment to suit them, parents communicate with their children, protect their children and are actively involved in their children's free time. All of these things combined help middle class children to learn practical intelligence.

TrueSmarts offers a community which helps you to develop practical intelligence in your children using hands on and meaningful activities. It is also, the goal of our activities, and this blog, to help you to recognize the opportunities and favorable circumstances that your children have and then to teach your kids to recognize them as well. We want to help you raise your own little outliers! 

*Quote from a Q&A session with Malcolm Gladwell.

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Tags: TrueSmarts Inspiration