One of our responsibilities as parents is to teach the value of saving money. We start them out young with piggy banks and such, usually in the shape of well, a pig. (what does that mean anyway??) But I have also seen some really cute banks out there if pigs aren't your thing. I've even gone to wikipedia to see why pigs were the bank of choice, and it seems no one really knows.
I made my daughter her first "piggy bank" when she was one, and at almost 10, she still thinks of it as a prized possession. We have a rule that one-third of her money (usually birthday money at this point) goes into a savings account, one-third goes into her piggy bank and one-third is free for her to blow on what ever crap she deems necessary at the time.
She's loved this philosophy because she thinks it's super fun to go to the bank and add her money. She enjoys watching her piggy bank grow, and well, you know the story, she loves just blowing the rest on the first shiny thing that catches her eye. This is her bank (It's extra special to her because it is handmade:
Children can get the most out of the money saving experience by making their own piggy bank! There are many ways to make a bank, including this one on our activities page and the color-your-own bank by Melissa & Doug.
Piggy banks are also great ideas for make & takes at birthday parties. They can usually be bought straight from the ceramic shop for just $2.00 or $3.00, let the kids paint them and that will be their take home gift as well! I would suggest doing the craft 1st so it has time to dry throughout the rest of the party. So you've just done the craft AND take home gift under $4.00 per child. (And as an added bonus, the parents are thankful that the take home gift or "goody bag" gift is actually functional!)
Encourage children to be creative while making their banks, as this will encourage them to be proud and actually use the banks. Isn't that the ultimate goal, really?
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