Money Smart kids at the library!
The Fond du Lac Public Library has been leading the charge for Money Smart Week since 2007. Money Smart Week Wisconsin is an initiative of the Governor's Council on Financial Literacy, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. The one-week campaign promotes the importance of financial literacy and provides hundreds of financial education events and courses.
Every year, the FDL Library is the site for dozens of events for all ages. In 2014, the library hosted several highly popular events just for kids:
The Big Read
The Big Read is a storytime program at which families receive a free, new picture book about money. (In 2014, families received Curious George Saves His Pennies.) We handed out the book at the start of the program so that families could read along and model great reading practices. After the storytime, families were invited to participate in fun money activities in the Children's Room.
We loved seeing our families reading together, as we moved through the book!
We held our first Scout Night in 2014. We invited area scout troops, dens and packs for a program at which the kids used a money passport to complete seven money-related activities that challenged their knowledge of money, their understanding of needs versus wants, their math skills and their knowledge of money around the world. Once they completed all seven, each scout earned a special Money Smart Wisconsin Patch designed just for the event. We had over 100 scouts earn patches. District executives from both the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts helped spread the word and encouraged participation. We plan to repeat the program next year.
Scouts competed against each other in money identification and sorting challenges.
After studying paper money around the world, a troop works together to design their own currency.
Scouts complete a needs vs. wants collage from magazines while "Ben Franklin" looks on.
Here Lori Burgess, FDL Library support services coordinator and a nationally recognized leader in the financial literacy and Money Smart Week movements, helps scouts think 10 years into the future for a brainstorming session on needs vs. wants. Scouts had to select three items out of a jar and decide which one they would buy immediately, which one they would need to save for and which one they would do without.
Library board member Lori Pain got into the spirit by dressing up as Ben Franklin and handing out candy.
Brandon Singer, Boy Scouts district executive, sported a money costume at Scout Night. "The Boy Scouts of America is all about fun with a purpose," Singer said. "The library did a great job of putting 'fun' and 'financial literacy' into the same event, and we were glad to have been a part of it."
A scout proudly displays his new Money Smart Patch on his pocket.
Penny the Pig
The final Money Smart Week event for kids was the annual Penny the Pig program. Tammy Matzdorf from Consumer Credit Counseling Service presented a program about learning the differences between saving, spending, donating and investing. Every child who attended the program received a Penny the Pig bank, which is separated into the four sections.
Families worked together to decorate their banks. It was great to see parents reinforce the day's lessons and involved with this project.
Overall, Money Smart Week was fun-filled and event-packed, bringing nearly 300 children and parents to the library. We were thrilled with the community response.
Let's help kids get Money Smart next year, too!