It is important for children to learn the principle of stewardship so they will mature into responsible adults. Churches and nonprofit organizations heavily rely on the stewardship and generosity of others. Parents, teachers and religious educators can begin teaching children when to spend, save, and give their money at an early age through games and play.
Save, Spend, Give Game
Children possess an inborn desire to spend their money, so you must teach them delayed gratification and giving to others. In this game, children learn that saving and giving money have their own sometimes hidden rewards. To play, have three jars with one labeled “Save,” one labeled “Spend” and the last labeled “Give.” Give each child the same amount of play money or coins. The children decide how they will distribute the money between the jars. For each coin or piece of play money they put into the “Spend” jar, they receive a small candy. After each child has distributed their money and earned their candy, explain that there is a surprise. Give each child who put money into the “Save” and “Give” jars a whole candy bar. You can also discuss with the children the hidden value and rewards of saving and giving money.
Giving Time, Talent, and Money
Explain to the children that there are three aspects of giving: time, talent and money. For the game, give the children examples of giving, such as making dinner for a sick friend or donating money to charity. The children must shout out whether you gave time, talent, or money.
Leaky Colander Relay Race
Overspending leaves you with nothing to show for your hard-earned money. Without saving, money slips through your fingers like sand. This may be a difficult concept for young children to learn, but with the leaky colander relay race they can grasp the idea. Split children up into two teams. On one side of the room place a colander, lined with a paper towel, resting in an empty bowl onto the floor. On the other side of the room, place a bucket of water with a measuring cup inside. Have the children line up behind the buckets of water. The first two children fill their cups with water, run to the colander and pour in the water. Have the child run back to hand the cup to the next child to start the process again. Explain to the children that the water leaks through the paper so the colander can never be completely full, just as people never experience satisfaction through overspending.
Counting out 10s
An important aspect of the Biblical principle of stewardship is tithing. Under this principle, parishioners donate 10 percent of their earnings to the church. Children can learn what 10 percent is through play. Give each child 50 buttons, coins, dry corn kernels or beads. Have each child separate the items into groups of 10 and then remove one from each group. The first child to gather 10 percent wins a small prize.
Hot Potato Review
To review, play a modified game of Hot Potato. Have children sit in a circle, passing around a coin as music plays. Turn off the music. The child holding the coin when the music stops can share one way they can display stewardship at home. Repeat the game until each child has had a turn.