Finance for Toddlers (2-3 years)

Have you spent some time in Money Therapy with us? Great! Hopefully you have removed your inhibitions and the awkwardness you felt around the topic of money. Now it's time to work on the children.

toddler money, pocket money, hootloot

Let's start with toddlers!

When you think of a toddler, you certainly don’t think about talking to them about money. Yet many recent studies have proven that financial habits are acquired much earlier in life than we originally thought, and are pretty much formed by the age of 7.  It seems that the earlier we introduce children to the topic, the more beneficial it is for their financial development.  

With this in mind HootLoot has collected some playful activities to get your toddler started.

1- Use real coins as props in games.

At this age children are very sensorial and coins are extremely attractive for them. They are round and shiny, come in different shapes and colours, make a heavenly jingling sound and, of course, they roll!

hootloot, toddlers money, pocket money

As a word of caution - if your child still has a tendency to put everything into their mouth, you might want to stick to the large coins like pounds, 50ps and 2ps and never leave them unattended while playing. Otherwise perhaps better to wait this one out until they are a little older.    

Collect all your spare change in a jar for few days and then let your toddler play with it!  Make sure you wash the coins well before handing them over as cash goes around thousands of hands every week. 

Coin-sorting is a particularly fun and educational activity for this age group. Not only it helps them familiarise with the different types of coins, but it is also a great way to train the brain in colour and pattern recognition.

Further it also helps with mathematics and creativity, not to mention that it’s very inexpensive and easy to arrange.


hootloot, toddlers money, pocket money

In this example we used left over paper cups. On each cup we attached a different type of coin with some sticky tape, we laid the change on the table and watched our 2 year old daughter have fun with it.

You’ll be surprised how soon they will be able to recognise their pounds from their pennies!

2 - Take them shopping with you

Involving children in grown up activities is one of the easiest and most educational games you can arrange for your children. A large part of the Montessori educational method is dedicated to empowering children with helping out in adults’ activities. I have always been surprised at how effective even little children can be.

Basic shopping transactions are not too difficult for your toddler to understand and replicate. Take him/her with you to the shops and let them sit up on the counter when you pay, explain what you are doing and why.  After few times they will know what to do and will be thrilled to help out. At this age it is important that they understand how the buying and selling works, specially the part where you have to give something to receive something. 

3 - Play "shops"

Older toddlers can have a lot of fun with role-playing and if they are already used to come shopping with you, they will immediately be able to replicate the game. Without spending too much money you can build an excellent cardboard box shop front like these. (click on each photo for instructions)

Role playing offers great opportunities to easily teach toddlers the structure of our market based society.

4 - Let them hand money to charity

As we discussed in a previous post, we believe it is important to teach children to donate some of their money to worthy causes.

Whilst walking in London we regularly come across street artists such as musicians or mimes. Last Sunday, in front of the Tate Modern, our children had loads of fun with a guy who was making giant bubbles out of a soap bucket.  It is a good learning exercise to hand them some coins to pop in the collection hat. They will hopefully learn to appreciate and reward whichever performance they have enjoyed.

In our next post we will discuss how to teach financial responsibility to a slightly older age group: 4 to 5 years old preschoolers, stay tuned! !





Most Popular Posts