Fun Money: Learning Finance Through Stories
In This Article:
Questions for before the story
This story lends itself to several different topics: Chinese New Year and other cultural celebrations, the value of money, and the act of giving to people in need. Staying with the focus of money, introduce the story by asking your child:
- Have you ever received a gift of money? What for?
- How did you feel when you received the money?
- What did you want to spend it on?
- Does $4.00 seem like a lot of money to you?
- What can you buy with $4.00?
Questions for after the story
- Sam was very angry when he realized that his $4.00 would not get him what he wanted. What made him change his mind about the money?
- Sam did not feel that his money was worth much, but to the old man, the money had a lot of value. Why?
- Why was Sam's money called "Lucky Money" at the beginning of the book? Did the meaning of "Lucky Money" change slightly by the end of the story? If so, how?
- Would you have done what Sam did with his money?
- How do people in your community help those who lose their jobs or their homes?
Activities to do together
- Turn a room into a store.
Set up stations around the room: post office, toy store, grocery store, ice cream store, book store, flower shop, etc. Put items with price tags on them at each station, give your child a sum of play money, paper and a pencil. Ask her to figure out what she can buy with her money, thinking up several different combinations of purchases. Try it yourself and then compare shopping lists when both of you are done.
- Celebrate Chinese New Year!
Turn your home into a street in Chinatown. A local Chinese restaurant may be willing to donate pairs of wooden chopsticks for your Chinatown restaurant. Try to cook an authentic Chinese meal and use the chopsticks to eat it. Give your child play money as "Lucky Money" to redeem for paper fans or fortune cookies in one of the pretend shops. With a mask and a sheet, you and your child can become the festival lion, weaving through Chinatown.
- Many families experience hard times. Reading and talking about picture books like Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting, The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern, and Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan lets parents and children empathize with other families in difficult circumstances.
- A community calendar can alert you to ethnic festivals and events in your area. Families who live in or near cities can visit the local Chinatown during Chinese New Year and enjoy the street festivities. But even small communities may have a local Chinese restaurant that serves up a special menu for the New Year.
- Your kids may express concern for the old man in the story and others like him. Encourage them to help by filling donation bags with necessities such as soap, towels, toothbrushes, socks, books, etc. Note: If focusing on a shelter or crisis facility upsets a child who has recently spent time in one, choose a different community service, such as a food bank.
- If you live in a city with ethnic neighborhoods, take your family to Chinatown. Walk through the decorative gates; notice the signs written in Kanji; find new vegetables, seasonings, and foods in the markets; have lunch in a Chinese restaurant; or buy sweets in a Chinese bakery.
Books that deal with the topic of homelessness:
- Fly Away Home by Eve Bunting.
- The Lady in the Box by Ann McGovern.
- Uncle Willie and the Soup Kitchen by Dyanne Disalvo-Ryan.
- Happy New Year! Kung-Hsi Fa-Ts'Ai : Kung-His Fa-Ts'Ai by Demi (Illustrator).
- Lion Dancer : Ernie Wan's Chinese New Year by Kate Waters.
- The Dancing Dragon by Marcia K. Vaughan. 1996.
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