Financial literacy adds fun to 4-H

When working with youth of all ages, whether it be a 4-H club or other youth organizations, providing a variety of financial education activities or experiences can add a new perspective.

Boy counting change

Research says we need to start teaching youth early on about money and financial literacy. Once youth start hearing money words such as income, expenses, budget and spending plan, and then doing hands-on money activities, they will begin to understand what it means to save, spend and share. There are many activities available to begin teaching youth at all ages. The Money As You Grow poster shares 20 things kids need to know to live financially smart lives. This is a good start to share with kids as each age group lists different activities to teach.

Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Development programs offer many resources and materials that can be incorporated in a regular 4-H club. Financial literacy can also be used as a 4-H Spin club—a special interest club—to get youth involved in 4-H via a specific short-term topic.

To put a spin on the topic to spark youth’s interest, call it “Fun with Money,” “Saving Fitness,” “Watch Your Money Grow” or “Dollars and Cents.” Use your imagination as there are so many ways to promote this needed topic. If 4-H clubs meet regularly to learn about specific projects such as beef, sheep, swine, crafts, etc., taking a few minutes to teach the youth about money concepts can fit in almost all 4-H programming. It could even be part of the recreational section of the meeting using financial concepts in a game.

As you begin to look at the variety of activities available to use when teaching 4-H members or youth about money, visit the youth money management resources from Michigan 4-H. Money management programs can teach youth how to earn, save and invest their money. Knowing how to handle money will have a lasting impact on youth and their future.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives. Read more in the 2017 Impact Reports.

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