Sitting on top of Milo and Luna's play kitchen, we have three banks. Luna has a personalized money jar with her name and a moon design (get it?!) from Etsy, Milo has a blue mailbox that Josh (my husband) picked out on Amazon, and we have a "fancy" creation that the three of us constructed -- Milo & Luna's GIVING JAR.
The GIVING JAR was created as a task assigned by the GIVING ELVES who visited us before the holidays (learn more about the elves at a later date!). But putting this together could be a rainy day activity or a Saturday morning activity or a breakfast activity or an any time activity!
Since my kids are so young, the concept of money is still pretty...abstract. But we try not to miss financial opportunities, so we always, always (brace yourself, as many of you will find this disgusting) pick up coins that we find scattered about the subway platform and on the streets of NYC. We can consistently count on finding coins (mostly pennies) once or twice a week, at least. It is actually remarkable how many we see now that we are on the hunt! (And in case you were wondering, we also always have hand sanitizer with us!)
Whenever we find coins, I always ask Milo, "Is this for your bank, Luna's bank or the GIVING JAR?" If there are multiple coins, he often divides them up between two or all three. But sometimes, he chooses only the GIVING JAR or only his bank or only Luna's bank. While Luna is not quite old enough to make these choices, she sure loves to put the coins in the banks!
I love how the GIVING JAR helps send a message to appreciate every single penny. It is OK to keep it for ourselves sometimes and it is also really nice to think of others because it is part of who we are. Milo knows that one day, when we feel it is time, we will take the money from the GIVING JAR and give it to the right person or organization. And when we do, I will surely post about it.
Tips for GIVING JARS:
- GIVING JARS can be created from anything! Any cup/container/jar, preferably with some sort of lid, can be used. We simply wrapped and taped a piece of construction paper over a dried, empty wipes container and I let the kids decorate it. They didn't feel like drawing on it, so scarf-clad penguin and snowman stickers it was! You could even take a cup and put a piece of foil or plastic over the top and cut a slit into it.
- GIVING JARS are as valuable for adults as they are for kids.
- I recommend having one jar for yourself (or your child) AND one GIVING JAR. It is OK and important to save for yourself for whatever it is that you want/need. I also find that we are more responsive to this type of activity when we have the choice and don't feel forced into giving money. The process doesn't always look perfect and this is what helps us make it a part of our daily lives.
- You can put whatever you want in the jars: split $1, $5, $10 a week between the two jars; empty the change from your pockets/purse at the end of each day; divide found coins the way we do, etc. The possibilities are endless!
- Make sure to keep your jars in a visible location. It can be challenging to make a ritual out of this type of activity if you don't have a physical reminder that you see often.