One of the most memorable lessons from elementary school was when I learned about stocks and was given fake money to “invest” in my favorite companies. As a kid I wanted to buy the most “fun” stocks, thinking I was basically buying a piece of the company and would have access to whatever they made. So of course I invested wisely in Crayola (BYS) and Disney (DIS). I don’t remember making money but it was a lot of fun running to get the newspaper every morning (before the internet) and checking my stock prices.
Because I home-school, I am not sure if schools still do this sort of activity. We encourage our children to save and many open bank accounts but judging from many adults’ investment literacy we don’t go a step further and introduce other investment options like stocks and bonds. These are important concepts for older kids and adults to understand.
There are tons of resources out there on this topic, but I wanted something that would be basic, fun and engaging for older kids. Growing Money, A Complete Investing Guide for Kids by Gail Karlitz and Debbie Honig is a great first step. It was written for kids age 9 – 12, but easily could be enjoyed by teens. The book introduces the basics about investment strategies in a fun and interactive way with quizzes throughout. What could be a very boring topic is actually an enjoyable read.
Our newest contributor to Free Market Mommy, Jaime Riddle, took the time to write up a review and discussion guide on the book. Jaime is a voracious reader, devoted fan of history, and homeschooling mom of four. You will be seeing additional discussion guides from her about more favorite books – so stay tuned!
One other activity to consider pairing with this book is simulated stock trading. It is an easy exercise to duplicate, especially with all the online resources available. Smartstocks.com is a great tool to set up “play” trading and you can even create online groups to trade together and track progress. I just started an account to better educate myself on how stock markets work. If you are interested in joining, we created a group called Free Market Mommy, and we can track each other’s progress. Just sign-up for a free account at www.smartstocks.com, click “Groups” and “Join Group” and look for Free Market Mommy. Don’t worry if you are new to investing, we can learn from each other!