DIY Savings Bank Supplies
- Shoe Box
- Scrapbook Paper
- Decorative Tape
- Packing Tape
- Scissors (adults!)
Step 1 – Find a Box
We picked a sturdy preschool sized shoe box that was already pretty cute.
Step 2 – Make Cardboard Dividers
Use cardboard to make dividers for the box. We made a compartment for: save, spend, share, and invest. Make sure your cardboard is as high as the top of your box. Cut a slit into the middle of one of the cardboard pieces, then intersect them in the middle. After the box is divided, use packing tape to secure the cardboard dividers to the sides of the box.
Note: If you were only making three compartments (save/spend/share), you could make one of them larger. This would be a great lesson on the importance of different aspects of money management.
Step 3 – Add Paper to Cover
Optional – Use scrapbook paper (or plain paper that your kids can decorate!) to cover the shoe box lid. My daughter picked her four favorite pieces of paper to differentiate the compartments of the box. Glue these to the lid.
An adult should cut out a slot from each section. I made mine about one inch wide and half an inch tall – large enough to fit a folded up dollar bill.
Step 4 – Decorate Cover
Now, the fun part – decorating! We used stickers to label each of the compartments – save, spend, share, and invest. Since my daughter is a pre-reader, I created labeled pictures. This was a great time to talk about the purpose of the box.
I explained the “save” compartment was to keep for something when she’s older. With aunts and uncles still in college, she knew that was a long-term goal. I used a photo of a college building as well as graduation caps to illustrate it. Next, we talked about what she likes to buy. We added graphics to show candy and toys. Next came the “share” section. Our daughter loves helping make blessing bags and shopping for our Adopt-a-Family at Christmas, but the images that made the most sense to her were the Salvation Army kettles and fountains. Finally came the “invest” section. Our daughter is blessed that both sets of grandparents have an investment account for her. For now she doesn’t understand exactly what it is, but she does know that it’s putting money in a special place that they’ve picked for her.
After we glued on the category graphics, I let her have fun using whatever other stickers she wanted to make it attractive to her. We also used decorative tape to strengthen the slots.
Step 5 – Start Saving
Hooray – your DIY Savings Bank is complete!
We recently made a deposit into my daughter’s savings account. We spent days counting coins into stacks of tens. She was SO proud to hand over the rolled coins and neatly stacked dollars to the bank teller. She was also pretty excited that she had the adventure of banking AND got a sucker at the end – free candy?!
It’s been pretty amazing to watch our daughter learn more about the value of money. She’s learning that sometimes it’s worth it to wait longer to buy something that’s better quality. Other times, you just REALLY want that plastic pointer at the school book fair. We’ve learned what a huge heart she has – when we pass by someone who’s looking for money and she’s eager to give from her “share” compartment. There have been unexpected benefits, too. She’s learned to plan ahead – if she wants a smashed penny at the Zoo, she knows she needs to ask before we leave the house and bring her money along.
April is financial literacy month. Here is a list of books to use as a starting point, if you’d like to talk to your pre-k child about money!