Bank's bid to improve children's maths and money-saving skills
- Credit: NatWest
NatWest has been providing free financial education resources for young people for more than 25 years. The bank has shared some of the top activities from its MoneySense programme for families to try at home.
So if you’re on the hunt for fun, free things (that even have an educational slant), then take a look at the most popular activities from MoneySense:
1. Island Saver – free video game and app for ages 7+
(Available on PS4, Xbox One, Steam, Switch, Android, and iOS)
NatWest launched Island Saver (its first ever video game) earlier this year and it has since been downloaded almost 2 million times. It is now available as a mobile game on Android and iOS.
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Created for 7-12 year olds, Island Saver has a series of money learning points woven into the gameplay. It has also been rated 10/10 on Steam, 4.6/5 on Xbox and 4.5/5 on PlayStation. Plus it’s a free game (as opposed to free-to-play) so there’s no monetisation or adverts which is rare to find in mobile games, but good news for parents.
NatWest has also developed a series of Island Saver activity sheets, which explore the money matters covered in the game, such as tax, loans and keeping money safe. These give families the opportunity to pause the game and discuss the missions they encounter – guiding children through important money questions.
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2. Pigby’s Fair – free app for children aged 16 and under
Produced and designed by the makers of Wallace and Gromit (Aardman Animations), Pigby’s Fair is a free-to-download app that gives children the chance to learn about earning pocket money and saving by running a stall in an animated playground.
After selling items such as ice cream and animal masks, they can choose to spend or save their money to unlock new items and features to progress through the game.
There’s strictly no in-app purchasing at Pigby's Fair so there won’t be any bills to worry about. Search for 'Pigby's Fair' on your relevant app store to download.
3. Coin Cruncher – free online game for 5-8 year olds
One of the most popular games on NatWest’s MoneySense website, this game challenges your child’s maths and money skills as they are tasked with choosing the correct mix of coins to make up the total.
By dragging their selection of coins into the ‘Coin Cruncher’, they familiarise themselves with what coin combinations make what amounts, and there are a range of levels to work through and master.
You can also pick between an ‘easy’ and ‘difficult’ gaming mode so children as young as five can play and join in the fun.
4. The Budget Game – free online game for 8-12 year olds
If your children are aged 8-12, now’s the time to get them thinking about budgeting. The Budget Game challenges them to see if they can manage their money for three months, balancing paying the bills and spending their money on more fun things.
Will they choose to cook at home or get a takeaway? Will they choose public transport or a taxi? And will they have enough left at the end of the month for those bills?!
5. Space Trade – free online game for 12-16 year olds
Test the negotiation skills of your teenagers in this trading game which sees players bargain with alien shopkeepers for a range of space commodities.
They will need sharp wits and quick maths skills to work out which is the best deal – while learning that some offers aren’t as good as they look! There are two playing modes so they can advance to harder levels once they’ve cracked the easy stages.
6. Free worksheets and rainy day activities
If you want a break from the computers and tablets, Money Sense has a whole range of activity sheets that can be printed off and completed at home. How about getting the kids involved in the weekly shop by helping you build a shopping list?
Or if you’re stuck at home due to bad weather, MoneySense has put together a ‘Rainy Days In’ list of fun things to try such as having a clear out of old toys and some simple games using coins.
To browse through all the free, fun content available for children aged 5-18 visit www.natwest.mymoneysense.com.