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# Fun Money: Learning Finance Through Stories

Last Sunday, Alexander had more than three dollars, which he honestly planned to save. But before the day was out, he had squandered the money on a number of impulse purchases. Now all he has left are bus tokens...and regrets.

Questions for before the story

• Have you ever received money and tried really hard to save it?
• Why do you think it is hard to save money?
• What do you like to spend your money on?
• (Show the cover and read the title.) What do you already know from the cover and the title of the story?
• Before you begin reading, ask your child to figure out the amount of money in the numbers you read to them. For example, if Alexander had 3 quarters, 4 dimes, and 17 pennies, how much money would he have altogether? This is great practice and will help your child get a better concept of money as she listens to Alexander's tale of money troubles.

Questions for after the story

• You could say that Alexander's money was "burning a hole in his pocket." What does this expression mean?
• What did Alexander spend his money on? Would you spend your money on the same things or would you choose something different?
• Why are his brothers able to save more money than Alexander?

Activities to do together

• Do the math! How much money did Alexander start out with? How much did he actually get to spend? How much money do Anthony and Nicholas still have? Work together to write word problems from the story, and do some money math to get the answers.
• Come up with some good money-making ideas. Alexander tries to sell the gum he has already chewed, pull out a tooth that's not loose, and return non-refundable bottles. Have your child make a list of some better ways to make money. Write her ideas on graph paper.

Family Involvement

• Kids learn the value of money when they have a chance to earn and spend it. Having an allowance or spending money has a practical benefit: it gives children experience doing money math. If your family doesn't want to hand out real currency, try making coupons that are redeemable for various treats, like ice cream for dessert, or home-baked cookies or activities such as an extra bedtime story or a visit to the zoo. You can hand out a certain number of coupons in a month and your child can learn to save that way as well.
• You can reinforce the value of saving by offering some sort of dividend to your child if she manages to keep her money in a piggy bank. For example, you might offer to match the amount your child is trying to save when the goal is met, or contribute a dime for every dollar your child manages to save - a pretty generous interest rate!

Community Connection

• Show your child how to set up a simple ledger page to keep track of a budget and expenses. Try out some of the tools of the trade, such as a computer spreadsheet program.
• Have your child research recycling guidelinesin your community. Survey local stores to see which ones sell bottles that may be returned for a small refund.

• Pigs Will Be Pigs: Fun With Math and Money by Amy Axelrod and Sharon McGinley-Nally. What do you do if you're a pig and you're hungry, but there's no food in the cupboard and no money in your wallet.... You go on a money hunt! The Pigs look in every nook and cranny and come up with a total that takes them to the Enchanted Enchilada.
• The Go-Around Dollar by Barbara Johnston Adams. "Have dollar will travel" is the basis for this fictional story that includes factual information about the history of the dollar as well as how a single dollar changes hands.
• Alexander, Who's Not (Do You Hear Me? I Mean It!) Going to Move by Judith Viorst. Alexander's family is moving, but he doesn' want to leave his house.
• Arthur's Funny Money by Lillian Hoban. Good old, lovable Arthur and his little sister Violet are up to it again. Arthur learns a few lessons about owning a business when he tries to raise money to pay for the t-shirt and matching cap he wants to buy.

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