Fun Money: Learning Finance Through Stories
In This Article:
Questions for before the story
- If you had a tree in your backyard and it could grow anything, what would you want it to grow? What kinds of problems might your tree create?
- Imagine you found treasure or won the lottery. How would your life change?
- (Show the title page illustrations and ask) What winter chore is keeping Miss McGillicuddy busy?
Questions for after the story
- What does Miss McGillicuddy mean when she says that the tree is a gift from the birds?
- What is a Maypole?
- Why doesn't Miss McGillicuddy seem interested in the money? What is important to her?
- Why are others so interested in the tree?
- How do the people find out about it?
- Why does Miss McGillicuddy cut the tree down?
Activities to do together
- Draw the life cycle of the money tree. Ask your child to draw the money tree as it changes over the course of the story, from an oddly shaped sapling; to an ornamental tree, lush with greenery; to a leafless, lifeless pile of firewood. Look at the title page illustrations again and ask how this story has come full circle, like the seasons?
- Make a chart of seasonal chores. In many parts of the country, the seasons bring about changes and new chores. Imagine you lived on Miss McGillicuddy's farm. Make a chart of chores and activities for winter, spring, summer, and fall. Use the illustrations to help remember what needs to be done; collecting kindling and firewood, planting peas, gathering roses, carving pumpkins, etc.
- Miss McGillicuddy is generous with her neighbors. You can make sure your children grow up knowing how to be good neighbors by encouraging them to welcome a new neighbor with home-baked cookies, bring flowers or dinner to an ill neighbor, or help a neighbor who needs an extra hand.
- Many a family has fantasized about what they would do if they inherited great wealth, or won a fortune in the lottery or the sweepstakes. In addition to wishing aloud about the material rewards, talking about what kinds of activities or treats everyone treasures that cost no money at all can reaffirm your familiy's values.
- Your family may enjoy reading Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney and watching how one woman enjoys the seasons with each passing year.
- Check with the local chamber of commerce or consult the telephone directory to find a nearby farm where your child can pick his own seasonal fruits and vegetables. You may also find a working farm that allows children to help with the chores.
- Check a community calendar for events celebrating Arbor Day (late April). Include your child in local activities, or help her plan her own celebration. Reading aloud The Money Tree and other tree fables, such as The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein to give younger children a meaningful way to observe this spring holiday.
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss. The whimsical Dr. Seuss takes on a more serious tone in this 1971 book about saving trees to protect our environment.
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Like the money tree, Shel Silverstein's tree gives unselfishly of itself even after it is cut down.
- The Story of Money by Betsy Maestro. In a simple and straightforward manner, this book tells the story of money, how people obtained things they needed before there was any currency, and how the concept of bartering and trading currency developed.
- Round and Round the Money Goes: What Money Is and How We Use It by Melvin Berger. Similar to The Story of Money, this book explains the origin of money from the old days of bartering to the use of checks and credit cards today.
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