ALA, in partnership with the FINRA Investor Education Foundation , has released a collection of free online games to teach children basic financial skills related to earning, saving and spending money.
The four interactive games — part of a series called Thinking Money for Kids and available at tm4k.ala.org  — are designed for children ages 7 to 11 but are appropriate for other ages as well.
- Earning It : Follow the paths of characters Grace, Emma, and Kenji to see how their childhood interests translate into successful careers and opportunities to “give back” by volunteering.
- Balance My Budget : Make choices about how to meet basic needs and treat yourself with a splurge here and there, while sticking to a monthly budget.
- Money Trail : Starting with $500 in your bank account, make decisions about how to earn and spend.
- Let’s Deal : Hear from buyers and vendors at a farmer’s’ market as they swap goods and learn about money.
Library workers are invited to use the games for in-person or virtual programming or to share them on library websites or social media. Additional financial literacy resources for library workers, including model programs and professional development, are available at Smart investing@your library .
The new games supplement the Thinking Money for Kids traveling exhibition and allow more libraries to bring fun ways to learn about money to a larger number of families. The traveling exhibition itself is an interactive financial literacy experience for children ages 7 to 11, as well as their parents, caregivers and educators. The exhibition was touring to 50 U.S. public libraries in spring 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic forced a pause in the tour schedule. The tour will resume when it is safe to do so.
“For nearly 15 years, the FINRA Foundation and the American Library Association have worked together to help more than 1,000 public libraries meet the financial education needs of communities across the country,” said Gerri Walsh, President of the FINRA Foundation. “During the pandemic, libraries have been innovative and creative in delivering virtual programs and services for families. These new interactive games allow libraries to bring financial education directly into the home, with the assurance that all of the learning is engaging and appropriate for children. FINRA Foundation research shows that adult financial literacy is declining in this country. To reverse this trend, it’s critically important to start financial education early. And that’s exactly what the new Thinking Money for Kids games do.”
Thinking Money for Kids is administered by ALA’s Public Programs Office. To learn about future Public Programs Office grant and exhibit offerings, sign up for ALA’s Programming Librarian e-newsletter.
ALA and the FINRA Foundation have partnered since 2007 on Smart investing@your library , a program that supports library efforts to provide patrons with effective, unbiased educational resources about personal finance and investing.