Hands-on budgeting simulation makes learning come alive for youth

“Spartan Dollars and Cents” is a fun, free learning simulation created to exposure youth to the daily financial choices they will encounter in the real world.

Hands-on learning is the foundation of that makes Michigan 4-H youth programming successful. Youth, and even adults, learn better when they get to experience and interpret a scenario on their own. This is true for financial education, as well!

Most youth are not aware of what it is like to handle finances on a day-to-day basis, juggling living expenses, grocery costs, car payments and more. Before they have to encounter this in real-life, a simulation experience can be used to give them a sense of those costs in a safe, learning environment as it exposes them to the benefits of budgeting.

Spartan Dollars and Cents is budgeting simulation, designed for middle and high-school youth, that teaches participants to prepare a usable budget and it reinforces the value of creating one to track monthly income and expenses. Spartan Dollars and Cents can also be used with upper-elementary youth with assistance from other adults. The activity takes 45 to 60 minutes depending on the group’s size and the participants’ ages.

The simulation is fun and provides reflection questions to help youth interpret and apply the experience they had during the simulation. Youth participants have left the activity commenting on their appreciation for the choices their parents have to go through daily and acknowledging the importance of making wise choices with their finances so that they can have the life they envision for themselves.

Help youth experience the real-world decisions in financial management through this free simulation. They just might have a profound learning experience – and thank you for it!

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