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There are some great quality numeracy and money apps available for all platforms, that introduce young kids to numeracy and older kids to enterprise and personal money management. Here are some of my favourites, which I was lucky enough to talk about on Simon Mayo's Radio 2 show last week.
Apps for pre-schoolers
Simple apps can be very effective at introducing little ones to basic maths concepts like addition and subtraction.
Mums and dads on Quibly have previously recommended Little Digits for iOS, which is based on finger counting.
All the numbers designed like little creatures. Simple sums such as 1 + 3 pop up, and kids place four fingers on the screen. It’s simple but effective and makes great use of the iPad’s sensitive screen.
It costs £1.49.
Pocket money for school aged children
As well as GoHenry, with it's pre-paid debit cards, which we use at home for all the kids, there is Rooster Bank - an online piggy bank manager where kids are incentivised and rewarded for saving and keeping track of their income and outgoings.
Parents have an online dashboard and kids have their own personalised dashboard where they can keep track of their balances and work towards rewards and prizes. There are also games and reward charts. Rather than an app, there is a mobile version that works across different smartphones. Rooster Bank is free.
A relative newcomer to the UK, Virtual Piggy, is big in America. It’s a free money management service for kids and teenagers, where they can monitor their spending and saving and then buy online from Virtual Piggy partners like Claire’s accessories and Hexbug. They can even donate to charity. The app is available for Android and the site can be used on mobile web.
The money comes off their parent’s card but with strict limits so there’s no chance of maxing them out.
Apps for enterprising kids
My middle son is 11 on Wednesday, and he’s money mad. He plays Lemonade Stand which is based on a computer game from the 1980s that was very popular and just as simple.
Kids run a lemonade stand and learn about supply and demand, profit and loss. They look after the stock, make sure their lemons don’t go off and whack up the price of lemonade on a hot day.
In a similar vein to Lemonade Stand, there is Cafe Boss for Apple devices (69p) where kids run a little cafe and try to earn a profit.
Then there’s Mindblown Life which is a whole new breed. It’s a witty, irreverent game where kids have to get their customisable avatar from living with their parents, to owning a penthouse and earning bags of loot. It was a very successful Kickstarter project and is now available free for Apple devices (Android is coming).
Obviously for a lot of teenagers, going to university or getting a job is the first time that they have to manage their money and learn to budget. By the time my kids get to that age, they’ll be experienced thanks to the apps they’re already using, but the current teens will benefit from taking a bank account that offers mobile money management - NatWest and Barclays are very good for this, and allow mobile payments over smartphones as well as balance checkers.
And there’s one free iOS app that I think will come in handy at university, which is called iHave, which records who has what to eat and drink on a night out, and prevents big bills and fall outs at the end of a long night.
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This is all about numeracy and might give a great boost to number sense skills for children:
I think it's one of the best structured apps out there since it focuses on problem solving and not routine, procedure-based exercises.
Hope this helps!