By Mary Morris, Virginia529
July 20, 2016

School may be out for the summer, but that doesn’t mean children stop learning. Summer provides many new and different opportunities to engage kids. It’s also a good time to sneak in important economic concepts that will serve them well in adulthood. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Reading makes sense …and cents
Reading is a great way for a child to take an adventure without leaving his or her seat. The best part is its versatility and mobility: in the car, at the pool or right before bedtime. Help your child absorb key financial concepts by steering them to books with age-appropriate messages about money and financial responsibility. A good starting point is this list compiled by Virginia529.

Building with budgeting
Projects such as building a bird feeder or baking a cake teach children to follow directions and how great it feels to create something with your own hands. Help them develop a budget for the project for an economics lesson.

Young girl in front of lemonade stand

Working for rewards
Earning money helps kids develop responsibility. Ideas include pet sitting, setting up a lemonade stand and mowing lawns or doing yard work for neighbors. Encourage everyone to declutter the house with a family yard sale and let each person keep the proceeds from their own transactions. Establish good saving habits by encouraging kids to divert some of their newfound wealth into a 529 plan for higher education.

These are just a few ways to add economic enlightenment and empowerment into regular activities. Spend a little time this summer developing your child’s financial IQ. It will pay off with dividends in the years to come.

About the author:
Mary Morris is CEO of Virginia529 College Savings Plan. In addition to directing the operations, resources and investments of Virginia529, Mary advocates for state and federal legislative and governance issues relating to the 529 industry. Mary serves as chairman of the board of the College Savings Foundation and is actively involved in the College Savings Plans Network and the National Association of State Treasurers Legislative Committee. With 2.4 million accounts and almost $56 billion in assets under management across the country, Virginia529 is the largest 529 plan available.