Playing restaurant, supermarket or other everyday scenarios helps children understand the value of money. Get inspiration on how to help your child get started on the fun.
Three children the age of 8-9 are standing on a row side by side. One has folded a napkin over his arm, another has a bandana around his head and a third has a towel around her waist. A fourth child steps in through an imaginary door. She is greeted like a customer at a restaurant and shown to her table. The children are all trying to hold back the laughter as they go through the roleplay which ends with the customer paying for the food and giving a tip to the host, the waiter and the chef.
This particular roleplay happened at one of the workshops that ERNIT did with a Danish elementary school class. Roleplays like these are a powerful tool to teach children about money. It is not only fun, but also a key component of a child’s learning process, and at ERNIT we have used them several times to teach children financial literacy – the children on the other hand have taught us a lot about how they really think about money.
Get involved as a parent
When doing the different workshops it has always been up to the children themselves to choose their roleplay. This is important to really get them engaged into the fun of it. Some thus chose to do the restaurant scenario, while others played out an event at a flea market, the buying of groceries at the supermarket, going to the bank and exchange currencies or something else. One group even had a storyline with cops and drug addicts, so the point is that the imagination of the children needs to be a big driver in this.
But as a parent you can of course help their imagination a lot. A good way to do this is to step into your child’s world. Try for instance making them into a customer at a fancy restaurant next time you eat dinner. You can serve them with a napkin over your arm, and once the dinner is done you can ask for payment with imaginary cash. Don’t feel bad if they don’t give you a tip. See it as a golden opportunity to explain them about how tips work as part of a salary when you work as a waiter. And remember to have fun!