Cool Apps for Kids to Help Them Learn to Save!
Written By Savvy Auntie Staff Writers
By Dorothy Frank for Ballooning Nest Eggs, Inc.
Ballooning Nest Eggs' website seeks to disrupt the notion that building youngsters’ nest eggs is strictly a close family affair and connecting kids to their money – and broader economic and global world – is more akin to homework than play time. Our site is full of practical yet “out of the nest” ideas to grow youngsters’ wealth and encourage them to dive into investing, entrepreneurship, charitable giving and their broader economic world. It brings much-needed fun and imagination to these topics, making them relevant to kids' lives (as well as yours). We recently launched and invite you to dive into our site.
When spending time with your nieces and nephews, do you find yourself explaining
that you can't afford to buy them every little thing they want (no matter how much you’d
love to spoil them)? Now, thanks to technology, there are plenty of calculator and allowance apps to help you get your point across, Auntie. Those may be useful for Savvy Aunties, but there are also lots of fun game apps that will excite your nieces and nephews about money and savings goals, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility, while keeping them interested - and maybe even stir them to make a difference in the world.
After searching the app world and weeding out the best from the rest, we let our nieces and nephews test the games for more hours than we probably should have allowed. Here are the ones that passed both the Aunties’ and kids' play tests with flying colors. The age ranges shown are our own recommendations and would depend on your nieces' and nephews' comfort level with reading and technology.
1. Savings Spree - $2.99 (ages 5+) This award-winning app is worth every penny. It was our
favorite. (It was approved by all of the nieces and nephews testing apps!) In this game, kids can discover the difference between each type of saving and spending goals, how to
earn money at a job, how to have a rainy day fund for unexpected expenses, to avoid
spending on impulse purchases, how to build healthy habits by making good financial
decisions, and how kids can be entrepreneurs. The player gets rewarded or penalized
with "dollars" and it tracks his or her ongoing balance through each round. The goal is
to build the biggest nest egg by the end of the game. It does this with cute graphics and
fun activities. It even instills productivity in kids and demonstrates the "time is money"
concept because the more cupcakes they frost in 60 seconds, the more they get paid!
2. Game of Life - $0.99 (ages 5+) This is an updated app version of the old board game
that you may remember playing (and loving) as a kid, Auntie. The 8-year-old nieces and nephews testing the app tell me it's still just as fun! We loved the graphics and the spinner used to roll for moves. The game helps nieces and nephews understand the value of good financial decisions, budgeting, and savings. Although the costs of big-ticket items are lower in the game than those in reality, it gives kids an idea of what things like college and a house cost and some of the enormous expenses that they can anticipate in life. If you're game, you can try explaining to your nieces and nephews how inflation will cause those life essentials to cost significantly more in 10 years.
3. Bee Farming - $0.99 (ages 10+) This game fosters entrepreneurship and skills like managing money and a business successfully. The player starts a bee farming business with only three swarms of bees and $100 cash. The player has to gather the nectar to produce honey and sell it in the BEEDEX honey market. Then he or she goes to the Farmer's Co-op to
purchase bees and other supplies. There's only 10 weeks to run the business, and if it
earns more than $500,000, it makes the Farmer's World Record. As part of the game,
the player allocates money and resources to afford supplies, and watches the market
prices to know when to sell the honey for maximum profits. The graphics are beautiful,
but it is important to read the instructions first because there's a lot to keep track of.
This can be a complicated game for younger nieces and nephews, so it’s recommended for kids aged 10 and up. But once you get the hang of the app, it's pretty fun.
4. Snoopy's Street Fair - The app is free, but specific in-app
features must be purchased. (ages 7+) This game inspires entrepreneurship and budgeting by helping Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the rest of the Peanuts gang build and organize a street fair to raise money for baseball uniforms. Depending on the level of the game and how much money your niece or nephew has earned, he or she can purchase additional stalls, attractions
and decorations. The player decides if something is worth investing in and he or she
can learn to maximize profits. Kids can also participate in Snoopy's mini-games to earn
extra points and fulfill some of the requirements on the "To Do" list. Although it lacks
instructions, our niece and nephew testers figured it out and didn't want to stop playing. My 8-year old son reached Level 8 and has built a successful enterprise, while I'm stuck on Level 4.
Here are a few honorable mentions that help younger kids learn to care for the environment:
1. The Amazing Adventures of Eco Boy - $1.99 (ages 4+) This is an e-book that
encourages nieces and nephews to protect the environment. Eco Boy becomes a green superhero and transforms his town to save his beloved planet earth. It is easy for younger kids to understand as it reiterates the three R's: "Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling." It offers
both a Read option and Listen mode.
2. Let's Go Chipper - Nature and Environmental movies, books and activities - $2.99
(ages 5+) This app is a portal filled with books, music videos, and activities like
coloring that teaches kids a love for animals and nature. It is both entertaining and
If you're looking for a simple app that can help your nieces and nephews track their savings
toward a goal, here are some recommendations. We have not included age ranges because, in all likelihood, you or their parents will be inputting the information.
1. Kids Money - free - This is a simple savings calculator toward a goal. Slide the lever to set the goal and the weekly income (allowance) and it tracks how many weeks it will take for your nieces and nephews to achieve the goal. It is very difficult to set the levers at exact numbers.
2. Allowance - $3.99 - This is a simple allowance and savings tracker. It's easy to input the weekly allowance and then it tracks the total savings and expenditures. This app has a feature that reminds busy moms to pay allowance. It also gives fun facts and advice.
3. P2K Money - free - We liked the budget feature on this allowance and savings tracker.
Although it's not an app, Freerice is the online game that I’d recommend most to nieces and nephews because it combines educational games with charitable giving. In this game, your nieces and nephews can select the subject he or she wants to practice and it will serve up questions (elementary school to high school levels). For every correct answer, the site donates 10 grains of rice through the World Food Program to help end hunger. It includes a graphic that shows the bowl filling up with rice as you answer correctly, so your nieces and nephews immediately see their impact and get excited about helping. It’s also good practice for multiplication tables, while doing good. It looks like Freerice is raising "rice" to create an app, so we'd encourage you to donate.
We were really inspired to hear about an amazing little boy that might motivate your own niece or nephew: Owen Voorhees, age 11, of Hinsdale, IL, who created a best-selling app for the iPhone called Math Time - essentially digital flash cards to reinforce basic arithmetic. His achievement is in the spirit of the Ballooning Nest Eggs' mission to inspire entrepreneurship in kids. Maybe your niece or nephew will be inspired by the apps we’ve suggested to create their own, Auntie!
Photo: Stuart Miles
Published: March 28, 2012