Ways to gamify saving money for kids

Ways to gamify saving money for kids

According to a new survey, more than nine out of 10 (91%) of UK children aged between 3 and 15 years play games on some device, ranging from personal consoles to mobile phones. With this in mind, never has there been a better time to use gamification to your advantage, especially with financial education. Here's how to teach key money-saving lessons with the use of gamification.


Related: Financial literacy for kids



What is gamification?

Gamification uses game-like elements in non-game contexts to help motivate and engage adults and kids. In terms of financial education and teaching kids to save, it's a great way to engage your child by creating an experience similar to those experienced when playing games.


For example, a maths learning app might use points and badges to encourage students to complete challenges and learn new concepts. Or a health app might motivate people to exercise and eat healthy using points and leaderboards.


Is gamification a good idea?

While there are some real worries about the addictive nature of gaming, studies also reveal that gaming can have several benefits for cognitive, social, and emotional health. For example:


  • Gaming can raise your IQ. Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam found that US children who spent an above-average amount of time playing video games increased their intelligence by approximately 2.5 IQ points more than the average. 

  • Gaming can also improve hand-eye coordination. This is because many video games require players to use their hands and eyes in coordination to control the game's characters or objects. For example, a study published in the journal PLOS One found that playing action video games for 10 hours can improve hand-eye coordination in children.

  • Gaming can improve problem-solving skills. For example, a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that playing strategy video games can help improve children's problem-solving skills.


However, as with all things, moderation is key, and choosing suitable games for kids is important.




Ways to gamify saving money for kids

No matter how you gamify saving money, the most important thing is to make it fun and engaging for your child. If they enjoy themselves, they are more likely to learn the lessons you want them to grasp.


  1. Savings spree app. This app is for ages seven and up. It teaches kids how their daily choices can add up to big savings or significant expenses, depending on what they do with their money.


  1. The jar game. This is a simple but effective way to gamify saving money. Get a jar and label it with your child's savings goal, then have your child put money in the jar every day (it doesn't matter how small or large). When the jar is full, they can use the money to buy something they want. You can take this game up a notch by giving them opportunities to earn money through extra chores.


  1. The piggy bank challenge. This is a fun way to get your child excited about saving money. Get a piggy bank for your child and let them decorate it however they want. Every time your child saves money, have them put it in the piggy bank. When the piggy bank is full, they can break it open and use the money to buy something they want.


  1. Fortnite. Use creative mode where players build their own houses and structures. This game will quickly teach your child how to budget as they must learn to save resources and in-game currency to get what they need. (Age rating 13+)


  1.  GoHenry's in-app Money Missions include fun stories and quizzes to help your kids learn important financial lessons from money safety and jobs to investing, saving, and borrowing. Your kids can earn XP by playing the quizzes, and they can unlock fun badges. Plus, more challenging levels are tailored to different age ranges, so there's always something new for your kids to learn.


  1. The Bean game. This is a good one for younger kids. It's a simple game that helps kids learn about the value of saving. Start by giving your child a bean. Each time they do something good, such as making their bed or cleaning their room, they can add another bean to the jar. At the end of the week, see how many beans they have saved and turn it into a reward. 


How can the gamification of savings help kids save?

  • It can help kids to see and recognise their spending and saving patterns. Are they impulsive or good at budgeting? Do they need to save more to reach their goals, or do they need to set more realistic goals?

  • It can make saving money more fun and engaging. Kids are naturally drawn to games, so gamifying savings can make it more enjoyable for them. This can help them stay motivated and make saving money a habit.

  • It can provide clear goals and rewards. When kids have clear goals to work towards, they are more likely to stay motivated. Gamification can provide specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals. It can also offer rewards for reaching these goals, further motivating kids.

  • It can help kids track their progress. Tracking progress is important for staying motivated, so use progress bars or charts. Doing this can help kids see how far they have come and how much further they must go.

  • It can create a sense of competition. Competition can be a powerful motivator. Gamification can create a sense of competition by allowing kids to compete with themselves, friends, or family members. This can help them stay motivated and push themselves to save more money.

  • It can make saving money a social activity. Saving money can be a lonely activity. Gamification can make it more social by allowing kids to connect with friends. This can help them stay motivated and learn from each other.

  • It can teach kids about the value of money. Gamification can help kids learn about the value of money, such as the concept of compound interest. This can help them make better financial decisions in the future.

  • It can help kids develop good financial habits. Gamification can help kids develop good financial habits such as delayed gratification, budgeting, and regular saving. These habits can last a lifetime and help them achieve their financial goals.



How can GoHenry help your child save money? 

GoHenry's mission is to make every kid smart with money thanks to a range of great features that help kids safely and securely learn about money, from saving to smart spending. In-app Money Missions makes learning about money fun and engaging with videos and quizzes covering everything from the value of money to budgeting. Parents can support their kids through the GoHenry app by setting flexible parental controls and receiving real-time spending alerts whenever they use their GoHenry prepaid kids debit card.




Related articles:

Teaching kids about money

Things to save up for as a kid

Ways to save money as a kid

How much should your child save?

Written by Anita Naik Published Dec 6, 2023 ● 5 min. read