Can Kids Comprehend Value - At Age 5?

Ashley at Wide Open Wallet posed the question a week or so ago - How do you teach value? I was a bit stumped. We'd tried explaining, at various times, why something was or was not worth it's cost. I never felt like any of it really hit home.

In reading Ashley's post, I thought about our oldest - age 5. She definitely didn't have this. But it's not for a lack of trying. These decisions are still very binary - I have enough money or I don't have enough money. I'm not sure, at this age, she could comprehend a concept like value. But it is something to work toward.

As always, we'll lead by example. We'll try to explain why we make the purchases that we do. We'll try and guide her she wants to buy something. But there has to be something more. Some way to harmlessly let her make purchases. Someway to get insight into her decision making.

Maybe... Monopoly?

She has a Junior version of Monopoly and we've been playing it together for about a year now. At first, she bought every property that she landed on. Kid in a candy store, right? Why wouldn't she by everything??? The more she plays it, the more sophisticated she's gotten. She doesn't buy everyone that she lands on now. Why? I'm not sure. Working on that one.

Monopoly has some properties with good 'value' in that they aren't that expensive, but can yield a descent payoff. Others hardly worth buying, and some you'll go broke just buying them. Trouble is, her 'buy everything' strategy works pretty well. She either kicks our butts or gives us a very good run for our money.

Maybe we'll just chill on this one for now.

In the meantime, here is a link to a detailed property analysis and Monopoly strategy. Looks like he has more time than I. Good stuff.


Ashley @ Wide Open Wallet said...

Hey, thanks for the mention! It's a lost concept on my 7 year old too. Just yesterday we were at the store and she was disappointed that she couldn't really buy much with her $6. I took that opportunity to explain that if she hadn't spent $30 at the school store (no joke) that she could have afforded just about any toy in the store. She didn't like that very much. Hopefully it made an impression.

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