Summer of Nothing: A Penny Saved is... Our Activity Today
Lately, I've started to realize it's time to have the "money talk" with my son. In addition to his inability to grasp the concept of limits (which might be a result of my inability to set said limits), I'm starting to see that he has a hard time understanding that the sky is not the limit on purchases -- that we can't just walk into a Target and buy things whenever we want (athough it really IS impossible walk into Target and not spend money on random stuff). Anyway, I've decided that it's time to teach him a lesson... to help him understand that money doesn't just grow on trees and that it takes more than just an X on a chart for behavior, sleeping, language or chores to "earn" and spend money.
This morning, he found a quarter on my nightstand and asked if he could put it in his "penny bank" (his words, not mine). I told him it was fine, and that maybe we should count all the change he had in there. Maybe that way, we could see that he has enough money to buy his own Star Wars Legos Video Shooter Gun Game. (He thinks there is a toy/game/video that exists like this... Wait. Is there?)
It occurred to me, sitting on the floor of his bedroom, barely awake with my coffee mug in hand, that this could easily qualify as a perfect "Summer of Nothing" time suck activity.
Here's what we did:
W dumped out all the coins, separated them into piles and found one or two that weren't U.S. currency coins. Thankfully, my ignorance in global economics led to the second part of the "nothing" which was to look up where the foreign currency came from.
We discovered he had a coin from China. Honest to god, I have no idea where this came from.
This prompted a talk about which presidents were on what coins and what monuments (or plants in the case of the dime) were on what coin.
Next, we sifted through our piles and pulled out the coins that were minted for a special series like the "Bicentennial Colonial Military Drummer" on the quarter..... This led to a discussion (albeit brief due to lack of coffee and attention in 8th grade history) about the United States.
After separating the "rare" coins, we lined everything up in rows and I let him add everything up. I think this was the highest he had ever counted. And that was really fun for him. All in all, we determined he had $17.35. Not bad and certainly enough to get one of the ten toys he thinks actually exists.
Currently, he and his babysitter are at Target picking out his well-earned treat. I'm glad I'm not there.... A morning of nothing could have led to an afternoon of doing damage. I think I'll stick to writing.