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For most of us, a discussion on the value of education is redundant because it is a presumed fact of life. Likewise, depending on the part of the world in which you live, you may also value reading or mathematical skills equally or one over the other. Still, it is unfortunate that even the most educated among us are not entirely aware of or understand the importance of financial literacy and especially that of initiating an early interest in it among kids, even those as young as elementary school children.
What is financial literacy? Simply stated, financial literacy is the all encompassing term for understanding how money works. Acquiring, managing, investing, saving, and spending, are some of the many dynamic aspects of what being financially literate entails.
Relevant research on the subject has unequivocally supported the need of early financial instruction. Specifically, when provided with age-appropriate financial education, these studies have found that kids are (a) more likely to budget, (b) better able to understand financial concepts and discuss them at home, (c) have higher rates of savings, and (d) have better credit scores as adults.
More recently, in aiming to uncover when and where during childhood and adolescence “people acquire the foundations of financial capability”, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s research confirmed the importance of early intervention of financial education and a continuation of building on the foundations thus learned, K-12. The research also placed a great deal of importance of extending this education beyond formal instruction. Categorically, they emphasized the need for schools, families, and communities to work intentionally to create the financial building blocks for children and adolescents.
Creating healthy and positive financial habits is children is relevant to every aspect of their adult lives so the sooner parents and others can provide the right resources for kids, the better it is not only for our children’s own financial security, but for all of us as a society.
ExplorerHop is one website that is dedicated to making kids, ages 8-12 years financially literate in a fun yet educational way. Even a casual look around the website in enough to convince parents, as it did for me even though my kids are much younger than the targeted ages, that this website is on to something. Founded by parents who were inspired by their own children, the website and its contents speak directly to the target demographic. By way of completing many different adventures and missions in money management and cultural quests for example, that kids can complete on their own time and then submit, they can get rewarded in points. They may even have characters in future adventures and missions named after them! How cool is that!
What I really liked about the website is the hidden lesson in every adventure. There is new information and little nuggets of knowledge spattered throughout the different adventures and kids reading them will find these useful, and contextual. Furthermore, the casual writing style that weaves the lessons into the narrative simply makes the learning a natural part of the process.
The simplicity of the website is its strength but it can also be a tad plain for a space that is targeting kids. Because this was completely up her alley, I asked my 11-year-old niece to take a look around the website and give me her thoughts.
Her thoughts: I liked how colorful it [the website] was and how you told a lot through stories. I do think that there are a lot of forms to fill out and that it would be better to have more designs throughout the whole website. I also think that it would be nice to try a mission without having to enter a username and password just if someone wanted to give it a try but ending up not liking it.
When I asked her to speak some more to what she meant by the designs on the website, she said, “Maybe they can have some comics or cartoons. Bright and vibrant colors would be better too. They could maybe create slideshows. Maybe have swirlies and doodles on the border, or polka dots…makes the whole thing more appealing and attractive because a lot of people are drawn to such things.” With regard to the missions and website in general, she commented that, “I was really confused, didn’t know how to do it [mission] but completed one.”
I have to admit I was a little confused too. Perhaps, a ‘Start Here’ section would be helpful to most readers – a page that clearly states what the different sections – Adventures, Money, and Missions mean; the expectations for kids reading them, and so on. The Adventures section does have an ‘Introduction – How it all began’ page’ but that only pertains specifically to the stories in that section. Likewise, a more obvious ‘How it Works’ section only describes the subscription options available to join and participate more actively. A ‘Start Here’ page will make things clearer.
The website has tremendous value and even more potential to take financial learning for children to an entirely different level. I was intrigued by the many adventures and enjoyed reading the stories too. In fact, I wished I was Mira and could go on her many adventures!
ExplorerHop offers monthly subscriptions with the option to renew automatically. A paid subscription gives access to many more adventures, missions, and stories, as well as lessons, recipes, and foreign language words, among other things. The basic website is a great preview to what else you can get with a paid membership.
I am excited for the brand and I can’t wait to see how things will progress in the next few years so I can get my own kids to start using ExplorerHop.
If you are interested in a chance to win a 1-year subscription (value of $180) to ExplorerHop, click on the link below. Who knows, you may be the lucky winner and hop on your very own Luctus Velo exploring many new adventures of your own!