Parents & Carers

About this online resource

It’s never too soon for children to learn about the value of money and the concept of saving money. Saving Squad will delight your child as they explore their very own virtual world. As well as problem solving money activities, your child will pick up random chance cards as they navigate around. These will award extra money for saving water and energy in the home. There are also tips and activity sheets for you to download with additional ideas on how to make new things from old which will also help you, as a family, save money!

On their first visit, children will be prompted to create their avatar. Accessories can be purchased for their avatar once they have started to earn money which is saved in their bank account. Children can move their avatar around the town by using the arrow keys. There are 6 hotspots, each one contain problem solving activities on 3 levels, which they can choose from. The hotspots are:

  • Corner shop
  • Cinema
  • Restaurant
  • Bowling alley
  • Market
  • Eco farm

Additional areas include:

My house – this area is where the avatar lives and can be customised by the child. They can buy accessories from the Get stuff area with money that they have earned when playing each game.

The Bank – this is where your child opens up a virtual bank account. They are issued with a pin number to spend their money in the virtual world as well as being able to see their bank statements so they can keep a track of how much they have earned, saved and how much they have spent.

Get stuff – children can spend their saved money here. There are lots of items available including desktop wallpapers, Avatar accessories and games to play.

Supporting your child

Money isn’t a piece of elastic although this is exactly what some children think, so it’s never too early for them to learn about the real value of money. Communication plays a big part in helping to develop good habits and understanding about managing money in everyday situations. Talking to your child from an early age and teaching them to differentiate between saving and spending money will form the basis of good money management skills that will hopefully stay with the young person as they become adults themselves.

So what can you do?

Shopping trip

Obviously on a trip to the local supermarket you will be spending money but you can discuss ways of saving money too. Discuss the items on your shopping list and encourage your child to help you check out the best value deals available. Remind them to stick to the shopping list and not be swayed by offers that you don’t actually need as this would end up being false economy and possibly cost more rather than less! Don’t forget to ask them to check the weights too, to help make decisions.

Talk about payments and the different methods available. You might usually use cash but sometimes prefer to use your debit or credit card. Explain the difference to your child especially about the way a credit card works so they don’t grow up thinking they can buy anything they like with one! They need to be aware that it can be like borrowing money which has to be paid back, sometimes with interest unless the full amount is paid back each month.

When your child goes into the bank on Saving Squad they will be given a pin number, but unlike a real one, they don’t have to remember it. They can simply call back to the bank and reveal it. They can use it to spend their virtual money on their avatar or their room. They can also save their money to buy a fun game which they will love playing.

Economy drive

We all feel the need at some time to tighten our belts, especially when we are planning for a special occasion e.g. a holiday or other treat. If you are thinking of making such a plan and want to cut back on some luxuries try and include your children in the decision making. Let them have some say and you are more likely to successfully get their buy in and cooperation.

Pocket money

Some parents / carers give out pocket money, some don’t but it’s never too early for a child to earn their money and save up for something special themselves. It’s also a great way to get them started in developing money management skills. Encourage them to save some of their money (perhaps give them a goal to aim for) and spend the rest, that way they won’t get too fed up and will be able to see saving as a positive activity rather than a bore! There are lots of little jobs around the house that they can get involved in e.g. washing up / drying dishes, keeping their rooms tidy, putting their dirty clothes in the washing basket to name but a few. Decide on a rate together for different jobs, be consistent and give out pocket money on the same day each week. Try not to give into pressure in the meantime if children regularly want extra cash for sweets or treats, although you might not mind paying for the occasional extra treat. Reward good behaviour or other achievements with treats or extra pocket money.

Piggy bank or bank

Younger children will enjoy saving in a piggy bank. However they need to know they will not earn any interest on this money. Opening a bank account with your child is another good way of introducing them to the concept of saving. Obviously they will not be able to access their money so easily but at least they will begin to have some understanding of the way a savings account works and how it can benefit them.

What else can you do?

Encourage your child to re-use your refuse. If you have some spare time or it’s a wet and rainy day work with your child to make something and save money. There are several activity sheets to help you:

  • Make a bird feeder
  • Ideas of things to make from empty yoghurt pots
  • Make a game of skittles from empty plastic bottles
  • Make a hanging basket
  • Record your recycling in a week

Younger children

We also developed www.funtosave.org for younger children, which is just as much fun to use, but aimed at meeting the curriculum requirements of 5 to 7 year olds