Money Management and Financial Lessons for Grades K-12

It's important that kids have an understanding of financial literacy early on in order to ensure that they have good (money management) skills as adults. They'll need to be able to create realistic budgets, manage credit and debt, and save for unexpected expenses if they want to be successful in the future. While learning from trial and error can sometimes be a good thing, when it comes to financial literacy, it's far better to learn these skills at an early age.

Grades K-5

Elementary-aged students are at a great advantage when it comes to learning about the importance of saving money. During this time, they are starting to learn about math concepts and money math, and they might be able to put these skills into practice by running a lemonade stand or helping with yard sales. Now is the time to start teaching important lessons that will serve them well for a lifetime.

  • Financial Literacy for Kids: Find easy-to-follow lesson plans for preschool through elementary school that are great for teaching kids about how to manage their money and make good spending decisions.
  • Peter Pig's Money Counter: In this interactive game, kids can practice identifying, counting, and saving money while learning facts about U.S. currency.
  • Money as You Learn: This page includes Common Core-aligned lessons and texts that connect students with real-life applications of money management.
  • Secret Millionaires Club: Lemons to Lemonade: This animated series teaches the basics of financial literacy as well as how to start a business. The series features Warren Buffet as a mentor to a group of entrepreneurial kids going on adventures and encountering financial and business problems to solve.
  • Money Smart for Kids: This lesson plan is geared toward students in upper elementary school and teaches about earning, saving, borrowing, and the basics of interest.
  • Introduction to Saving and Spending: Follow this lesson plan to introduce the role of banks in an economy and how to save money. It covers the importance and benefits of creating a simple savings plan.
  • Learn to Count Money: This game gives kids the opportunity to practice counting money by clicking and dragging coins and dollar bills into a box. The further you progress, the more difficult the game becomes.
  • Wise Pockets: Heather Learns About Earning: Kids can read this interactive story to learn about earning money and what to do with the money they've earned.

Grades 6-8

Middle-schoolers may have learned the basics about money, but they don't know a lot of the details about finance and economics. Since they are at the age when they may be asked to take on more responsibility and even start their own babysitting, cleaning, or lawn-mowing business, it's a great time to instill the importance of hard work and the value of saving money.

  • My Classroom Economy: The core principle of this lesson plan is that it can be adapted to any grade level and used by teachers of any subject. The program teaches students about investing and purchasing by giving students classroom duties that earn a salary of in-class currency, then asking them to pay rent on their desks and introducing other economic concepts.
  • Future Smart: Financial Literacy Lesson Plans: These free lesson plans are a great way for middle school students to learn how to effectively manage their finances, make good decisions, and become financially responsible through story-based exercises.
  • Money Math: Lessons for Life: This four-lesson curriculum uses math concepts and real-life examples to teach students about money management.
  • Play Money Magic: In this game, students need to help Enzo manage his budget, hit his savings goal, and reach his dream of making it to Las Vegas.
  • Biz Kids Financial Basics: Walk through the steps of crafting a budget through videos and step-by-step explanations.
  • Finance Word Search: Have students find the 16 words in this word search, then go over what they mean and how to use them in conversation.
  • Cash Out: This popular educational game is great for practicing counting money or calculating change. In a three-minute time span, students have to complete as many sales as possible while giving each customer the correct change.
  • Teaching Financial Literacy Skills: This lesson plan uses financial literacy articles and statistics to teach middle school students about saving and spending money.

Grades 9-12

Even though many high school students have an after-school job or are getting themselves ready for college and a career, the average student still lacks good money management skills. This means they may have little understanding of concepts like earning, spending, saving, and investing. It's important that students be taught about finance in the classroom to better ensure that they have great financial literacy skills when they are living on their own.

  • Finance in the Classroom: This educational website provides personal finance materials for students and parents so students can be money-smart.
  • Credit Clash: In this game, the goal is to raise your credit score up to 850 or drop your opponent's credit score down to 300 using payment cards, loan cards, and clash cards.
  • Hit the Road: Financial Adventure: In this easy-to-play interactive game, players go on a virtual cross-country road trip and have to create a budget, manage debt, and spend responsibly.
  • Basics of Taxes Lesson Plan: This lesson plan explains to high school-aged students what taxes are through activities and conversations that cover the necessity of taxes and vocabulary surrounding the topic.
  • Time for Payback: This interactive activity allows high school students to act out the process of getting through college while managing a budget and avoiding excess debt.
  • Plan Your Dream Prom: In this game, students can learn how to budget while planning for the prom.
  • The Uber Game: This game allows players to take on the job of a full-time Uber driver with two children to see if they can successfully pay their bills in a gig economy.
  • Hands-on Banking Experience: These real-world money management simulations are designed for teenagers and young adults to learn through 13 stations that mimic real-life expenses.
  • Learn How to Get Started Investing in High School: It's no secret that understanding the stock market and making good investments can make you money, but did you know you can start investing in high school? This article breaks down how to get started in investments at any age.