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Financial literacy online resources for parents, children

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With a decreasing number of schools offering formal financial literacy classes, what are concerned parents to do to make sure their children learn money skills?

Even in school districts that offer formal financial literacy programs, the best teachers are informed parents. "One of the biggest influences on children's financial capabilities are their parents," says Nan Morrison, CEO of the Council for Economic Education. "Ideally, financial literacy is taught in schools and reinforced at home, just like other subjects."

To get informed, Morrison suggests consulting your local library, chamber of commerce or workplace for personal finance programs. Then incorporate those lessons into everyday situations where your child has an opportunity to make a choice about money.

The websites below also offer resources to help parents and children learn about financial topics. All materials are free unless otherwise noted.

The Council for Economic Education's Financial Fitness for Life Parent Guide is a comprehensive resource that helps parents lead kids K-12 through all of the important aspects of personal finance.

The Muppets teach young children about spending, saving and giving in Sesame Street's "For Me, For You, For Later" videos and printable activities. A parents' guide is included.

At The Mint, activities, games, quizzes, pointers and tools relating to personal finance are broken down into sections for children, teens, parents and teachers. It was created by Northwestern Mutual Foundation with the Council on Economic Education.

Consumer Jungle, a collaboration between the University of Arizona's Take Charge America Institute and the Young Adult Consumer Education Trust provides tweens, teens and young adults with lessons, blogs, games and interactive tools dealing with credit, savings, insurance and more.

Visa partnered with consumer advocates, educators and financial institutions to create Practical Money Skills for Life, geared toward consumers and students of all ages. It includes videos, podcasts, articles, calculators and lesson plans intended to teach the essentials of personal finance.

Kids Count, a free activity workbook and online field trip, are intended to bridge the gap between classroom and home education about personal finance. You can also order an educational board game for $25. The materials are created by the Networks Financial Institute at Indiana State University.

Videos from the Biz Kid$ public television series, as well as games and other activities, teach children how to make and manage money. Funded by America's Credit Unions and presented by WXXI-TV, the Rochester, N.Y., public TV station.

Yes You Can offers a full curriculum, newsletters and tools to help parents and educators teach young people how to build financial independence. The site is sponsored by American Century Investments.

See related: Public schools get mixed grades on financial literacy

Published: March 9, 2012


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