Luke recently received a 10.00 Meijer gift card from his grandmother. Tammy pulled up the Meijer website on her computer to show him the toys. The first thing on the page was Jenga. He saw that and immediately knew what he wanted. She tried to get him to look at other things, but he was done. The rest of the evening and a good part of the next day was, “When can we go get Jenga?”. Even when Tammy took him to the store, she thought he would see the other toys and change his mind. He was determined and they left with Jenga.
Luke still had two dollars from his birthday. He already knew what he wanted next (Frank from Cars). He was ready to take his 2.00, go back to the store and buy Frank (25.00 toy). I really want him to learn some concept of money at this age, which could make life so much better down the road.
So, I printed a “grid” with a countdown to help him save money. We had dome something like this on my whiteboard the Friday after Thanksgiving when Luke came into my office thinking it was Christmas. He had been told that Christmas comes after Thanksgiving, so on that Friday he figured it was Christmas. I drew the following grid on my whiteboard to try and help him understand how many days it would be until Christmas. He would remind me every day that we needed to cross out a day.
So, anyway, that gave me the idea for another grid to help him count down to his new toy. We printed out a picture of Frank, and pinned it above the grid. I then printed some labels to show how much he has saved. The plan is that when he “earns” a dollar, he will bring it to Tammy or me. We will put his dollar in his envelope and give him a sticker. He will then place that on the next square. So far, his excitement has been off the chart! He started hounding me as soon as I walked in the door asking how he could earn money.
In a future version of the grid, I plan to build in a Giving square and a “Save” or “Pay Yourself First” square into each row of 10 squares. I did not want to overwhelm him on this first version, just keeping with the baby steps for now.
UPDATE: The above post was Saturday. It is now early Sunday morning and Luke just came downstairs and found me. When I asked him what we were going to do today, he said: “We are going to make dollars”. 🙂