We are excited to have Rachel Smith, official Money Matters Guru here at BGCA, here on the ClubX Blog for the first time! Read on for a fun activity you can adapt for all ages for Financial Literacy Month!
Money! That word can cause emotions of joy, excitement, or even worry. Here at BGCA we do not fear talking about money. We become financial superheroes leading the way to financial confidence! Boom! Pow! Clash! That’s the sound of us fighting for financial health for all Club members! In the midst of all this superhero work, did you know that April is Financial Literacy Month? This is a great time to celebrate all things financial literacy. And to mark the occasion, we have a super awesome way to engage your Club members of all ages in all things money!
Financial Literacy doesn’t have to be hard or boring. We don’t have to be the villains of fun to get young people on the path to financial health. We don’t need advanced degrees to encourage good spending habits. Forget about cracking open a calculus book or trying to be a stock expert. We can encourage youth to save in ways that are fun!
What can you use? Comic books.
I see you questioning how comic books and financial literacy have anything to do with each other. The divide between the two topics may seem vast but stay with me as I lay out a great way for you to turn-up the fun.
First, check out this comic book series from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The series is geared toward middle and high school students and come with FREE lesson plans. They break down the purpose of the Federal Reserve Bank and how currency creates a system to exchange goods and services. It’s pretty cool that a comic book can do all of that! This is a great learning vehicle to encourage reading while understanding complex financial topics – with pictures.
For Club members who want to read comic books about superheroes they recognize, Visa and Marvel Entertainment partnered to create a series of Guardians of The Galaxy and Avengers Comics accompanied by lesson plans, worksheets, and glossaries of financial terms. Whoever thought the Hulk would teach us about saving money? The aligned lesson plans are suitable for 2nd – 7th graders, and both comics can be read for free at the site in SIXTEEN languages!
Some Clubs have already started to use comic books to create interest. Angela DiCicco at Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Scottsdale created a superhero called Money Matters Man, based on BGCA’s Money Matters, a financial literacy program for teens. She used her own comic book to engage members in one of the hardest financial topics for teens to wrap their heads around, retirement. Your youngest Club members can color in Money Matters Man to celebrate Financial Literacy Month. Want to read this amazing comic? Download it by clicking the image below!
If anyone gives you a side-eye about using comic books to support financial literacy – fear NOT! The benefits are clear. In this article, the president of the Jump$tart Coalition mentions the benefit of using comic books to teach about money. Even beyond financial literacy, comic books can be used to teach reading comprehension and literary analysis, and can be especially beneficial for beginner or struggling readers.
But don’t just read comic books about financial literacy- have youth create their own! This is a great way for your Club members to display their favorite tips for saving money. Writing comic books can be used as an activity to gain interest before Money Matters sessions, or you could use comic books as a closing activity to display takeaways your Club Members have gained from Money Matters.
While comic books can be created using good old-fashioned pencils and paper, there are also some websites that easily create comic strips. Make Belief Comix and Pixton are two great websites. If your youth prefer to hand-write, you can find lots of printable templates online. This could be a great crossover activity with either your technology lab or with your art room!
This isn’t just limited to teens. Club Members of all ages can participate in this activity with some modifications. For example, younger youth may need an introduction to how comics are structured, with examples and clear templates. Here are some age-appropriate topics ideas you can use, but allow youth the flexibility and creativity to come up with their own!
|Age||Prompt for Comic Strip|
|6-7||Show ways kids can earn money
|8-10||Tell a story about saving for something
|11-13||Explain a situation where someone would use an emergency fund
|14-18||Show your financial goals as a young adult
Your Members are on their way to feeling like this…
What are your favorite ways to teach youth financial literacy? How have you used comic books in your afterschool program? Comment below, on the BGCA Youth Development Facebook page, or email us at ClubXBlog@bgca.org