Interesting & important money facts for kids

Interesting & important money facts for kids

Learning about money doesn’t need to be dull. And as financial literacy is important for kids, you want to keep them engaged and interested. So here are some facts about money to teach them in terms they’ll understand. 

 

Related: Teaching kids about money

 

What is the definition of money?

Money is what people give in return for something they need or want. Like groceries, clothes, a car, or a house. Or in return for a service such as teaching or babysitting. 

 

It can come in the form of coins or notes, which usually have their specific value printed on them. 

 

Most countries have their own type of money. The UK has the sterling pound and America has the US dollar. Several European countries use the same type of money: the Euro. 

 

You might also hear money called ‘currency’,  ‘cash’, ‘ funds’ or ‘legal tender’. In the UK, there are slang terms for money, too, like ‘quid’, ‘fiver’ and ‘tenner’.

A brief history of money

The history of money can be traced back thousands of years. Before we had money, people used things they valued to barter for goods. Like cattle, corn, spices, leather, fur, precious stones, and even human skulls! 

 

But it could be tricky working out what was a fair exchange. To make things easier, more convenient forms of money emerged. 

 

In ancient Mesopotamia, around 4000 BCE, people began using clay tablets. Each tablet represented a certain amount of something, such as barley or oil and could be traded for other goods.  

 

In China, around 1000 BCE, people started using cowry shells for money. These small shells were easy to carry and could be used to represent different values. 

When were coins and bills introduced?

The first coins, made of silver and gold, which were used as currency, were made in Lydia, in Ancient Greece (now part of Turkey), around 600 BC. 

 

During the Middle Ages in Europe, coins remained the most common form of money. But as trade expanded and people started travelling greater distances, they needed money that was easier to carry. 

 

Paper money was invented in China during the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE). This meant people could pay large sums of money without the heavy weight of metal coins worth the same amount. 

 

However, it took until the 16th century for other countries in Europe to catch on to paper notes. 

 

Now,  banks and credit systems have transformed money further. Today it exists in various forms, including cash, electronic transfers and digital currencies like Bitcoin. But people are using coins and notes less and less. And as technology continues to advance, we now have even more ways to pay. 

Different currencies

Every country has its own currency ( its own kind of money). But they don’t all have currencies of their own. Some countries in Europe use the same currency, the Euro. The British Virgin Islands, El Salvador and Ecuador use the US dollar. 

 

When you visit another country, you’ll need to use their currency to buy things. UK pounds for example, won’t work in a country where they use Euros. 

 

Related: How to explain currency exchange rates to kids

 

What is the oldest currency in the world?

The shekel is believed to be the oldest currency in the world. It was a unit of weight used by the Babylonians around 3000 BC. However, the world’s oldest currency that’s still in use today is the British pound. It dates back to Anglo-Saxon times and was originally equal to a pound in weight of silver. 

 

Here’s a list of the eight oldest currencies still used today:



Country

Currency

British pound

Circa 800

Russian ruble

Circa 1200

Serbian dinar

1214

US dollar

1792

Haitian gourde

1813

Falkland islands pound

1833

Dominican peso

1844

Japanese yen

1871

 

Money vocabulary

ATM

Automated machine where you can withdraw cash. Also known as a ‘cash point’ or ‘hole in the wall’.   

Bank

A place you store your money

Bank notes

Paper money.

Budget

A plan for how to use your money.

Coins

Small metal pieces of money.

Credit

Money you borrow from a person or bank. People often buy cars or houses using credit.

Credit card

A plastic card used to pay for things on credit. You pay the money back at a later date.

Currency

The type of money a country uses.

Debit card

A plastic card you can use to withdraw cash at an ATM or pay for things in-store or online. GoHenry is a prepaid debit card.

Debt

Money you’ve borrowed and must pay back.

Deposit

Putting money in your bank account or transferring it to someone else. 

Donation

Money you give to charity or a special cause.

Income

Money you earn from working or investing.

Inflation

When the price of things goes up. Inflation affects money’s value. Its value drops when prices go up. 

Interest

Extra money you pay when you borrow money. Or extra money you earn on your savings.

Loan

Money you borrow from a bank or a person.

Mint

A factory that makes coins.

Savings

Money you set aside.

Stocks

A piece or share of a company. If you buy a stock you own a small part of a company.  It’s a type of investment.

Taxes

Money the federal government requires you to pay from your earnings.

 

Fun facts about money

When you’re teaching kids about money, it might help to introduce them to some fun facts. Here are a few to get you started:

  • The word “money” comes from the Latin word “moneta”, which was the name of the goddess of finance in ancient Rome. 

  • The Bank of England has a £100,000,000 note, also referred to as Titan! It is a non-circulating Bank of England sterling banknote used to back the value of Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes. It is the highest denomination of banknotes printed by the Bank of England.

  • The world’s largest coin (which weighs over 1 ton) was produced by the Royal Canadian Mint in 2007.

  • The direction the monarch faces on UK coins changes with each appointment. King Charles will face to the left, and his mother, Queen Elizabeth II faced to the right.

  • Two 1p coins weigh the same as one 2p coin, and two 5p coins weigh the same as one 10p coin!

  • Prior to 1914, the gold sovereign, worth £1, was in circulation. On the outbreak of war, the government asked the public to hand in their sovereigns, to fund the war effort. In its place came the £1 and £10 notes.

  • The world’s oldest surviving bank is the Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena in Italy, founded in 1472.

  • Piggy banks have nothing to do with pigs. The word comes from ‘pygge’ an Old English word meaning a type of clay used to make jars and dishes holding money.

  • The first credit card was introduced by Diners Club in 1950. It was made of cardboard.

  • The first ATM was installed in London in 1967. 

How can GoHenry help?

GoHenry’s prepaid kids' debit card is a great way for kids to participate in the digital economy and learn how to save, invest, track their expenditures and more.  It comes with an in-app learning tool, Money Missions, designed to accelerate your child’s financial literacy, with bite-sized lessons and quizzes, Money Missions teaches everything from saving money to spending wisely.

 

 

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Written by Charlotte Peacock Published Apr 12, 2023 ● 5 min. read