Moneypalooza Provides Students with Dollars and Sense

03/31/2010  | 

Benjamin Franklin coined the saying, “A penny saved is a penny earned;” an aphorism that resonates far and wide these days.

Over the past two years Marbles Kids Museum, located in downtown Raleigh, has worked with the local banks of North Carolina to create an exhibit that would bring to life the importance of establishing healthy money habits through innovative and high-energy activities. The result is Moneypalooza, a colorful world of money where kids play with smart ways to spend and save while having a wealth of fun learning to earn.

“It is an honor for North Carolina banks to have been involved in such an important project,” said Skip Brown, chair of the North Carolina Bankers Association board of directors. “It’s is the most exciting thing to happen to your North Carolina banks in years. The children playing in Moneypalooza are our future customers. We must make sure they are educated consumers and smart savers.”

Moneypalooza provides an opportunity to bring an incredibly important message to children and families from across the state in a fun and engaging way. The exhibit empahsizes learning through play, an ideal way for kids to understand advanced concepts and apply them to their own lives. Each area of Moneypalooza allows for the chance to open communication between kids and adults about a topic that has long been taboo.

  • Pay Day — Earn money by pet sitting for Aunt Polly, serving pizza at Mr. Vito’s pizzeria or helping Entrepreneur Ellie at her lemonade stand.
  • Banker Ben and Betty’s Money Movers — Save money with Banker Ben and Banker Betty. Stack, deposit, withdraw, disburse and discover that little bits of savings add up.
  • Freddie Frugal’s Spending Smarts — Make smart money choices as you build budgets, balance needs and wants and aim high to save. Help Freddie Frugal through some playfully tricky decision-making activities.

The President’s Advisory Council on Financial Literacy’s 2008 Annual Report identifies financial illiteracy as among the causes for the financial and credit crisis. Marbles Kids Museum and its partners in this endeavor believe if we’re going to change attitudes about money and saving, that we have to start with kids.

Financial education enables kids to start positive habits early such as saving money and budgeting. Only three states currently require at least a one-semester course devoted to personal finance for high school graduation. An additional 18 states, including North Carolina, require that personal finance instruction be incorporated into other subjects. Researchers and educators advocate starting financial education earlier than high school, providing kids with hands-on experiences with spending decisions and opening the dialog about the emotions and social influences tied to how we spend. Marbles Kids Museum is a popular field trip destination for elementary school children. More than 65,000 students from across the state visit on field trips each year, and annual museum visitation reaches 275,000.

“Just like everything we do here at Marbles, Moneypalooza is designed to fuel learning through energetic hands-on play,” says Blount Williams, chair of the Marbles board of directors. “Moneypalooza targets children ages four to 10, an important time to begin developing healthy money habits that last a lifetime.”

The workforce of 2040 is playing at Marbles Kids Museum today. In the coming years, they will face unprecedented economic opportunities and challenges. Marbles is helping these 21st century workers meet these opportunities and challenges head on.

Funding for Moneypalooza was provided by the NCBA and exhibit sponsors including: Bank of America; Wachovia; Bagwell and Bagwell, Inc.; Thomas, Judy and Tucker, PA; KPMG LLP; CapStone Bank; Ethridge Foundation; RBC Bank; and Plexus Capital.

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