Updated: Sep 27
The mainstream belief is that games are purely bad, but we can assure you entirely, that's not the case. Games can teach your kids fundamental lessons about finance, negotiation, and life in general. Among others, it can teach the kids about planning, budgeting, savings, investments, and efficiency.
These perks are often ignored or overlooked by the concerned parents. It is understandable, we don’t like having our kids tied to the monitor the entire day when they could be doing something else. But what if the games they are playing are actually productive and actively teaching them?
On top of that, these games are completely kid-friendly, and more often than not, they contain zero violence. Yes, you heard it right, no trace of violence whatsoever. So, when your kids will be playing these games, you will rest assured it’s all flowers, bright colors, and good growth.
As a result, we had the exceptional idea to make a list of some of the best games that will teach your kids about money, business, and financial literacy.
The games presented are in ascending age order.
1. Animal Crossing (3+ years old)
Animal Crossing is a peaceful, life simulation game. The kids assume the role of a human character living in a rural village populated by other kids. The game has no defined objective, but the kids are encouraged to do various activities like collecting items, planting plants, fishing, and socializing with others kids. The kids can do activities to gather Bells, the in-game currency, which they can further exchange for furniture, clothing, home expansions, and to play games.
Investing – The “Stalk” Market is an in-game feature where kids can buy turnips at fixed rates. Sometimes the rates go up or down, just like the stock market. This way they are taught about the risk of losing as well as the opportunity to make a profit. Amazing lessons!
Debt – The game allows the children to make loans to expand their houses. There will be no interest involved, but this way the kids will learn that you have to repay what is due.
Needs & Desires – Certain areas of the game are inaccessible until the kids have the necessary tools. This teaches them about priority spending, savings, and necessities which are followed by the success of achieving their desire.
All in all, the game is very well executed. There are deep and meaningful lessons at every corner, that this game excels at delivering. It can teach not only kids about life but adults too.
2. Minecraft (7+ years old)
Minecraft is a video game in which kids explore an infinite, procedurally-generated 3D world, where they discover and extract materials, craft tools and items, and build structures or even terrain. Depending on the game mode, the children can either use unlimited resources creatively to build their own creations, or “survive” by acquiring resources, building homes, and maintaining their health. They can also join other kids in their adventure to create new things and surviving the world together.
Savings – The children can gather and keep their resources over longer periods of time in order to buy exceptional items to better survive the world. This lesson is great in teaching them to be savvy, careful, and to think long-term too.
Law of Supply & Demand – The game offers public markets where kids can exchange goods they gathered, with other children. If at a certain time, players gathered too much or too little of a specific item, the price of it will either go up or down.
Resourcefulness – In the “Surviving” mode, kids are taught to pay attention to how they use their limited resources and to be mindful about the priority of expenses.
This game is a great sandbox where kids can exercise their imagination to architect creations, while also being resourceful and economic. Minecraft has been critically acclaimed, being cited as one of the greatest video games of all time.
3. Stardew Valley (10+ years old)
Stardew Valley is a wholesome farming simulation game. The game starts with the player inheriting a small house, a plot of land, some handy tools, and a few coins. The plot of land is initially overrun with tree stumps, weeds, and boulders, and the player must “flip” the place to restart the farm. Once the farm is back up and running, the player needs to manage the crops and livestock to generate revenue and further expand the farm and its facilities.
Planning & Budgeting – The kids can combine items like wood, rock, and minerals to create bee houses, mayonnaise makers, and other many things, to bring them more money and improve the farm. They can decide on the right combinations that make them the most money.
Teamwork – The game teaches children about the group benefits when working towards a common goal. It allows the kids to play with other kids to grow their farms together.
Work-Life Balance – The kid can interact with friendly in-game characters that occasionally remind them to take breaks when farming too much. It teaches about self-care and balance.
Overall, the game is incredibly well-done, beaming with positive vibes and a calm atmosphere. It is fun, rewarding, and highly useful for kids, teaching them to manage resources.
4. Football Manager 2021 (11+ years old)
Football Manager is a football-management simulation video game, in which kids take the role of managing a football club. They are able to invest in the team’s infrastructure by trading players, upgrading the stadium, setting healthcare plans for the team, manage social aspects relating to players, and so many other things. Football Manager has proven useful not only for teenagers but for adults alike. This game is a finance/economics book in itself.
Planning & Strategy – The players have to think ahead before doing any financial decision as it usually impacts the whole club. So, every other purchase needs to be well thought in advance.
Budgeting – Budgeting well makes the difference between a bankrupt and still-standing club. If the kids spend too much money on the players’ salaries, they might risk going out of business before the end of the season.
Investing – Putting money aside for training and scouting the players will pay off highly after a certain period of time. This lesson is great in teachings kids about investments.
Football Manager is so well produced, that it has been recognized by real-life football clubs as a source for scouting real players. And as a mention, if your kids are not so much into football, there are other sports’ video game alternatives. They are all great for deeply teaching kids about finances.
5. The Sims 4 (13+ years old)
The Sims is a strategic life simulation video game. It is a simulation of the daily activities of one or more virtual people (“Sims”) in a suburban household near a fictional city. The children control customizable Sims as they pursue career and relationship goals. They can also use their Sims’ income to renovate their living space, purchase home furnishings or clothing, and to buy many other things. Additionally, the kids can also choose to pursue a social and successful life. It is the closest video game to a real-life scenario.
Savings & Budgeting – If the kids want to increase the comfort and well-being of their Sims, they have to save money and budget well so they can upgrade their items.
Teamwork – When kids manage multiple Sims living in the same household, their incomes unite, and the duties split. This way they are taught that some things are simpler in two.
Investing – The game allows the players to raise their skill level in order to get a better-paying job. This requires time to do so, but the rewards are well worth the effort.
Sims is a game known globally, and for good reason. It is a creative game in which kids can experiment with a variety of financial tools. There’s a whole lot of social and financial teachings to be taught from it.
Games can be great in teaching kids about money and financial literacy. And, besides their educational ability, the games highlighted here are also great to play, offering joy and entertainment all while teaching your kids life-important skills and lessons.
So, next time when you catch your children playing too much, check out what games they are playing, and maybe you will feel like giving them the “only 10 more minutes” spare.