Where does money comes from?

Learn about a resource that can help answer where money comes from, and other questions related to youth money management.

A hand with a stack of coins in it with another hand adding a coin to the stack.

The history of money goes back in time. Instead of paying with coins and bills, people would barter with a cow or services or other objects to trade for something. Today, most countries have their own official currency. In the U.S., the official currency is the dollar bill. To make trading easier, some surrounding countries use the same currency.

The Michigan State University Extension 4-H Youth Program offers youth money management concepts and educational tools. Questions youth may have regarding how money was managed before it was developed can be found in the Reading Makes Cents curriculum offered through National 4-H. This afterschool curriculum is designed for youth in third through fifth grades.

The Reading Makes Cents curriculum offers many activities to teach youth about financial literacy. One of the concepts found in the text is to teach children about saving money. Saving money is not an option, but a need learned at an early age that will help individuals succeed later in life.

The seven money themes listed in the curriculum are:

  • History of money
  • Managing money
  • Earning money
  • Spending money
  • Saving money
  • Sharing money
  • Borrowing and lending money

One of the fun activities from the curriculum that can be done with children is to play “I Spy” using a dollar bill. This activity can take up to 25 minutes and can be done by teams or individually. Materials needed include a sample dollar bill for each child, magnifying glasses, a chart, paper, markers and the “I Spy” reference sheet.

Give each child or team a dollar bill and have them find the answers to questions such as:

  • What Federal Reserve bank issued the bill?
  • What year was the dollar bill printed?
  • What is the total number of 1s and the word “one” on the bill?

This is just one of many activities to get kids interested in financial literacy. For more information on the many types of youth development programs offered through MSU Extension 4-H Youth programs, contact your local MSU Extension office.

Perhaps these resource ideas will spark interest in learning more. MSU Extension and Michigan 4-H Youth Development helps to prepare young people for successful futures. For more information or resources on career exploration, workforce preparation, financial education or youth entrepreneurship, email us at 4-HCareerPrep@anr.msu.edu.

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