Over the past couple of days, I’ve been teaching my kids how to manage their pocket money. Instead of buying Hot Wheels toys out of my own pocket, I give them the money to buy the toys themselves. This way, they’re learning how to count their money and decide whether they’d spend it on toy cars or save it for a better purchase in the future.
This afternoon, I took them to the toy store. Knowing how much money they have in their combined wallet, they went into the store to check out the prices of different toys. They learned that better toys tend to have a higher price and that it’s better to save the money instead of spending it on trivial purchases.
Thanks to Money Up!, an app that we’ve been playing over the past week, my kids learned the concept of money and how to determine whether they have enough money to purchase the things that they want.
The Next Dollar Up Technique
Money Up! uses the Next Dollar Up technique to teach how money is used in real-life situations. Through seven different games, kids work out how much money they have, whether they have enough to purchase the items they want, and how much money to give the cashier for completing the transaction.
First, kids will learn to identify different denominations in US dollars. Based on the narrated instruction, they choose which note matches the stated amount. When they are familiar with the dollar bills, they practice the Next Dollar Up technique. For a given amount, they need to find what the next dollar up is. For example, the next dollar up for $3.59 is $4, whereas the next dollar up for $.85 is $1. If it’s already a whole amount, such as $2.00, then the next dollar up is $2.
Next, kids will learn how to count the money they have. I’d suggest you teach them to start counting from the largest bill first. Then, they will work out how much money must be handed over to pay for their groceries. You can even pick images from your Camera Roll to change the groceries list so that it matches your family’s shopping habits.
In the last game, kids calculate the money they have to determine whether they have enough money to pay for their items. Knowing that kids ages 4-6 can already use the app, the developers also added in a couple of fun mini games as an optional reward at the end of each activity.
Parents Need to Know
Money Up! currently supports several currencies, including US dollars, Australian dollars, Canadian dollars, British pounds, Euro, and the New Zealand dollars. The app also supports multiple user profiles. It will track each profile’s progress and allow you to send reports to your email address.
I wish the developer would find a way to create an iPhone version for the app. As of now, Money Up! is only available for the iPad. It doesn’t have any third-party ads, in-app purchases, or links to social networks.
Update: As of v3.0, the developer has added full support for the Spanish language. This means that players can have their profile set to use Spanish. When a Spanish student is elected, the entire app changes language, including the on-screen text and audio prompts.
Things I Like
Money Up! is effective in teaching kids how to use money in real-life situations. It uses games to teach monetary concepts as a natural progression. The app is able to get kids through the stages of recognizing the US dollar bills, counting how much money they have, and making a grocery purchase in US currency.
By default, the app shows five exercises per game. But, you can change this to 10 exercises/game in the in-app settings. You can also change the currency, which denominations you want your kids to practice, and the highest amount for the exercises.
One feature that I like the most is how the app recognizes whether my kids are submitting the most-efficient way to represent an amount. For example, when they use a $20 bill, a $10 bill, and five $1 bills to represent $35, the app would recognize that it’s correct, but also give feedback that they can replace those five $1 bills with a single $5 bill.
Money Up! proves that the Next Dollar Up technique is really helpful for kids who want to understand how to use money in real-life situations. Through seven exercises, kids learn everything from how to recognize different money denominations to how to determine whether they have enough money to purchase the things that they need. Even though this is not a brand new app, I think it’s a must-have for families with kids who are old enough to start managing their own pocket money.
Get Money Up! on the App Store: iPad
App was provided for our honest review.