Start a conversation with your child about setting financial goals and deciding how to achieve them. Then have some fun with a paper plant they can “grow” to track their progress.
We don’t have to tell you how important it is for kids to understand why saving money is good for them and their future. Have your child choose a financial goal and some activities they can do to earn money. Using our fun template, your child will track the growth of their savings by adding a petal or leaf to their plant for each activity they finish. As their plant grows, they come closer to achieving their financial goal.
6 to 12 years old
- Financial literacy
Children will learn to:
- set financial goals
- find creative ways to earn income
- budget for the future
- paper or card stock
- pens, pencils, markers
- magazines or flyers
- tape or glue stick
1. Prepare the template
Download and print the plant template (on card stock if possible).
2. Set up the activity
Place the materials and printed template on a table.
3. Start the discussion
Begin by asking your child what setting a financial goal means. A financial goal is an amount of money to save in order to do or buy something. For an adult, such a goal might be to save for a vacation, car or university.
Talk to your child about the questions we ask ourselves when deciding on a financial goal:
- What am I saving for and why?
- How much do I need to save?
- Is this a short-term goal (something I want to buy soon) or a long-term goal (something that might take me longer to save for)?
- How does this goal benefit me and/or others around me?
- Is this a “need” or a “want”?
4. Identify a goal
Now that you have talked about financial goals, it’s time for your child to set their own. Ask them what they want to purchase, how much they need to save to buy it and where they can get the item they are saving for.
5. Create a plan
Brainstorm with your child to create a list of activities they can do to earn money. How much money will they charge for each of the activities? The amount they can earn will determine how long the goal will take to achieve.
Here are some examples of activities your child can do to earn money:
- sell used toys or clothes
- become a dog walker or pet sitter
- do chores for neighbours
- help with yard work
- recycle aluminum cans or glass bottles for cash
- make and sell things like cards, artwork or cookies
If you already give your child an allowance, have them integrate this income into their plan alongside earnings from their activities.
Now that they know how much they want to save, and when they want to reach their goal, you can help them figure out how much money they need to save week by week.
- Example: $100 goal / five-week timeline = $20 per week needed
6. Create your goal tracker plant
On the printed template, ask your child to:
- choose one of the goal circles and add their goal to its centre (by writing it out, drawing it or attaching an image from a magazine or flyer with tape or glue)
- write each activity they want to do to raise money on a petal or leaf, along with the amount of money they are hoping to earn from it
- (optional) colour or decorate the petals and leaves
- cut out the plant pot and decorate it with markers or stickers
- cut out stem, and glue or tape the bottom of it to their plant pot and the top to their goal circle
7. Track your progress on the plant
As your child completes each activity, get them to write the final amount they raised on the petal or leaf for that activity. Glue or tape completed petals or leaves to the plant.
Your child can also track their progress by colouring in each bar of their stem as they reach a certain savings milestone.
Once they reach their savings goal, help them buy their item in a store or online.
After achieving their goal, your child can reflect on how it went. Ask your child these follow-up questions:
- Was it easier to reach your financial goal after creating a plan?
- Did you follow your plan exactly, or did you have to adjust along the way?
- Did you meet the timeline you set yourself?
- Which activities did you find challenging?
- What would you have done differently?
You can support your child in many ways to achieve their financial goal.
Here are a few ideas:
- Motivate them by matching their earnings. For example, tell them that every time they raise $10, you will add an additional $10.
- Do some comparison shopping: look at different stores and websites together to find the lowest price for the object they want to buy.
- Continue the conversation about saving by explaining compound interest. When they save money in the bank, it pays them interest. And as their savings grows, they earn even more interest.