Stacking cups are one of my children's favorite toys. I bought my sets of cups from a Discovery Toys party and that was when I was first exposed to how educational they were. I was a bit skeptical at first, but now watching both my children play with stacking cups all the time has convinced me that this is definitely one of the best toys I have invested in (and the best part is that it is not a very big investment!)
Piggy Banks may be a non-traditional toy, but they are great toys for multiple layers of learning! You can use it for fine motor skill exercises and to teach them about saving money, all while they think they are playing!
We first gave our son a piggy bank when he was one years old. It is the one pictured above. At that age, he had no understanding of money, but it was GREAT for his fine motor skills. He spent a lot of time just dumping the money out and putting the coins through the little slots at the top. It was great having 4 different slots because it seemed to keep him entertained longer. If you are afraid of germs, you can wash your coins first by soaking them, or use play money. We will be gifting our daughter with her own piggy bank this year when she turns one (she still puts everything in her mouth which our son never did so she will be closely monitored).
When Ky turned 2, he became very interested in money. He loved watching us buy things and insisted on "helping" us pay for items at the store or at the restaurant. We started giving him a little bit of money to buy his own stuff, for example, we went to a Food Carts Festival in our city and he got to choose what he wanted to buy to eat with his own money. He LOVED it! So we decided to start teaching him about saving his money. We started giving him a small "allowance" and some money for small, age appropriate chores so that he could begin to understand the value of hard work. He can decide if he wants to save his money, spend it, invest it, or donate it. He has just a very beginner's understanding of these concepts, but we think it is important to start talking about it so he understands as he gets older. It teaches kids that money doesn't just appear, but that we have to work for it. It also shows him how important it is to start saving at a young age. This website has a Savings Calculator that calculates how much money can become if you invest it: https://retirehappy.ca/teaching-kids-save-with-a-piggy-bank/
As they grow older, it teaches children the benefits of saving money and HOW they can save money, a little bit at a time.
Ideas of what to give them money for, the chart is also listed below: http://windgatewealthmanagement.com/six-ways-to-teach-your-kids-about-saving-money/
As Christmas comes closer there are many organizations popping up that are asking for donations, and this is an incredible way for us to introduce our children about how we can help others who may have less. Ky loves using his money to donate to other children and putting them in a Salvation coin donation bin, for example, is a great physical way that he can participate in giving. We also like to put together a basket of items to gift to a family, and we let Ky choose some toys that he can donate too. I know they are still very young and many would argue that their children do not understand, but I truly believe that children can begin to understand at a young age if we have high expectations for them and give them the resources to understand.
Here are some books that go along with money management:
Berenstain Bears' Trouble with Money by Stan Berenstain
Berenstain Bears' Dollars and Sense by Stan Berenstain
Little Critter: Just Saving My Money by Mercer Mayer
One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cent, New Cent: All About Money by Bonnie Worth
A Bike Like Sergio's by Maribeth Boelts
Curious George Save his Pennies by H. A. Rey
Author - Kimberly Mah
I am one of the owners of My Sunshine Creations and a mother to three beautiful children: 1 year old and 3 years old daughters and a 4 year old son. I am also a primary school teacher with my Masters' Degree in Education, with a special interest in early literacy.