Summer financial fun

As we wrap a very unconventional academic year, plans are now underway for what could be an unusual summer. The COVID-19 virus has made life different for many people, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to enjoy summer vacation.

There are many activities you can do as a family, such as movie and game nights; camping in your backyard; taking neighborhood walks; cooking meals together; working on home projects; and more. While many parents are likely exhausted from distance learning, it is still important to not only continue to teach children valuable lessons but spend quality time together as well. The world is different for all of us, and as things continue to rapidly change one of the best things we can do is enjoy time with our loved ones.

Financial literacy lessons do not have to be boring, in fact there are many fun activities that you can do with your kids. By using project and game formats, some children might not even realize that they are learning something too! As many folks are having to rework their budgets due to the virus, the importance of saving money is more vital than ever. It’s never too early to teach kids how to save their money and plan for the future. Here are some of our recommended financial activities that you can do as a family:

  1. Encourage competition. Sometimes a little sibling rivalry can be a good thing. Create a savings challenge. Urge kids to save their allowance funds as well as money they may receive from holidays and birthdays. Create a stats chart by using a dry erase board. Update the stats on a weekly basis – this visual aid will inspire your kids to keep saving with hopes of winning. As for the winner’s prize, add a bonus to their amount saved. If you are able, match the amount they saved as another incentive. For families with one child, perhaps work with neighbors and/or cousins for the savings competition. Send updated charts via email or have video call in sessions to keep momentum going.
  2. Let the kids decide on dinner. Do your children often complain about their meals? Here is a way they can pick what they want to eat, but with a twist. Provide your children with a “budget” and price various items in your pantry/refrigerator. Once they pick their recipe, they will need to see what ingredients their budget allows for. This not only encourages kids to spend wisely, but also shows them how to not be wasteful. Cook the meal together as a family. If you have leftovers, consider sharing with family and friends, but remember to practice social distancing.
  3. Create a “mock mall”. Put together various items from clothing and shoes to video games, movies, toys, and food. Let your kids use play money to shop. After they make their purchases, go over each item. Determine if each purchase is a want or a need. Discuss the value of the items as you emphasize the importance of spending wisely. For older children, consider giving them a pretend credit card as well, which will teach them to understand the cost of borrowing money.
  4. Plant flowers. Just like plants and flowers need regular maintenance and attention to grow, so does your bank accounts. Planting flowers together will allow you to spend quality time outside, while also learning an important financial lesson. Discuss how finances need regular maintenance just like plants. Explain how just like the seeds or initial flowers start small, savings accounts begin small too, but with regular maintenance and care they grow as well. This activity can span the entire length of summer vacation. Bonus? Flowers might just be what you need to brighten both your mood and yard.
  5. Create savings jars. To explain how saving works, this fun craft allows kids to use their artistic creativity. Use four jars to represent four ways to categorize saving: spend, give, grow, and save. Have your children label each jar and then decorate as they please. For more on this activity, check out our video lesson here.
  6. Pizza party game. Generally, most kids love pizza, so this activity is just the thing to keep them happy while learning valuable financial skills. Whether you order pizza or make your own, use the pizza to showcase the basics of budgeting. For example, the pizza represents your family’s monthly income, while each slice represents its own expense category, such as utilities; food costs; taxes; childcare; entertainment; and more. The best part? You can enjoy a family pizza night together afterwards!
  7. Make movie night a learning experience. While movie theaters across the country are currently closed due to COVID-19, you can still demonstrate the cost of entertainment activities by setting up your personal family theater experience. Have each child pick a movie to watch first. From there, create pretend tickets as well as a snack bar featuring delicacies, such as microwave popcorn, soda, and candy. Switch off between yourself and your children when it comes to “working” the home theater. Using play money, have each family member purchase their own ticket and snack item of choice. This game teaches kids the expense of entertainment activities, while also showing how to budget money properly. For example, they might decide to share a bag of popcorn with their siblings, so they have enough left to spring for candy too.
  8. Play with “coin caterpillars”. A popular financial activity for younger children is the coin caterpillar game. It works by using coins to create wiggly lines on a piece of paper. Children are encouraged to draw their caterpillar’s legs and antennae. Once their caterpillar is finished, have children count the coins to determine the value of their new insect friend. This activity not only teaches addition skills, but also helps youngsters differentiate between the types of coins.
  9. Uncover a secret message by determining what is a want and what is a need. Check out our wants vs. needs activity here. Write down the items on the list shown in the video on either a dry erase board or large piece of paper. Have your children play the game by deciding which item is a want and which is a need. As done in the video, circle the first letter of the items that are wants. Once finished, reveal the secret message!
  10. Show the importance of giving back. We strive to make Community First our focus at OVB. We encourage our neighbors to apply that mission to their daily lives as well, which will ultimately make us a stronger community. The importance of community is stronger than ever. It is never too soon to share with your children the importance of giving back. While in-person volunteering may not be available, there are many other things you can do while still practicing social distancing. For example, use your quarantine time to go through each family member’s closet and select items for donation. Search your pantry to gather items to donate. Many food banks are still in need of donations. Make sure to call your donation place of choice before going to see what their drop-off procedures are.

These are just some of the many ways to help kids grasp the concept of saving, budgeting, and managing their money wisely, while also having fun as a family. Another step you can take to teach your children about finances is to include them in family money discussions. For example, show them how you budget for monthly expense. Also, consider opening a savings account for your child. You can easily open a student savings account online at www.ovbc.com.

For more financial literacy video lessons and activities, check out our new Virtual Classroom. Remember to visit frequently as we plan to continue adding new content.

OVB BANKit recognizes program winners

Pink piggy bank with a dollar bill in the slotThe 2019-2020 academic year was certainly different, but thanks to support from area teachers and schools, Ohio Valley Bank was once again able to offer the BANKit program.

OVB partnered with area high schools in Ohio and West Virginia to present the program, which brings real life banking lessons to the classroom. Lessons are presented throughout the entirety of the academic year or semester. Created in 2010, OVB BANKit utilizes a game format, where students open mock bank accounts, including savings, checking, money market and certificate of deposit. Students also have the option to both buy and sell shares of Pseudosoft stock, the fictional OVB BANKit company. In addition, students draw a “Real Life” card for each BANKit session, which may provide them with unexpected cash or force them to pay a bill. Students are expected to manage their accounts throughout the program with the goal being to end the year with the highest portfolio total.

OVB BANKit features a variety of banking lessons, including:

  1. Bank account types
  2. Check writing as well as basic bank paperwork, including deposits and withdrawals
  3. Credit/Credit Scores/Credit Reports
  4. Debit vs. Credit
  5. Budgeting
  6. Identity Theft

While this school year presented challenges due to flu outbreaks in February and eventual closures due to COVID-19, thanks to cooperation with partnered teachers, the program was still able to wrap in an adjusted format. Teachers were sent BANKit materials and lessons to include in their distance learning plans, while student portfolio totals were updated and adjusted to close out the academic year. OVB Financial Literacy Leader Hope Roush commended area teachers for being both flexible to work with as well as their efforts to still have a successful BANKit year.

“The teachers and schools we partner with for OVB BANKit have always been very welcoming and excellent to work with. This year was quite different, but we were able to make things work. I am still proud to recognize this year’s program winners,” Roush said. “I appreciate the work our area teachers do not only with our program, but also with their own class curriculum. Our teachers have stepped up in a time of crisis to make sure our area kids continue to get an education. That is the epitome of Community First, which is something we value very much at OVB.”

OVB BANKit reached students at Gallia Academy High School and River Valley High School in Ohio as well as Point Pleasant High School and Wahama High School in West Virginia. Due to scheduled visits being canceled with school closures, South Gallia High School and Mason County Career Center BANKit sessions were unable to be completed, however both schools are still valued partners with the program. Approximately 352 students completed the program this academic year.

Once again, this year’s OVB BANKit program was competitive across the board. All participating students did a great job, however, a few stood out as the overall BANKit winners at their respective schools.

Congratulations to the following school winners:

  1. River Valley High School (semester 1): Elijah Garnes
  2. River Valley High School (semester 2): Shaelyn Huffman
  3. Gallia Academy High School: Brant Rocchi
  4. Point Pleasant High School: Cheyenne Durst
  5. Wahama High School: Wesley Plants

Individual classroom winners also included the following students:

  1. River Valley High School: Nathan Brown, Morissa Barcus, Ethan Campbell and Eric Swartz
  2. Gallia Academy High School: Yahshua Parks, Aryan Cox, Grantland Bryan and Tristan Preece
  3. Point Pleasant High School: Brady Sayre, Blake Towe, Caleb Stewart and Kaydean Ella
  4. Wahama High School: Kody Hollis, Chris Jones and Dalton Berkley

Winners are typically awarded a prize at the end of the program, however as final in person visits were canceled, prizes were either awarded as bonus points to final class grades or will be presented during the upcoming academic year.

Finally, OVB also wants to give special recognition to South Gallia High School’s Jeff Fowler, who will be retiring this month after many years of incredible service to his community and students. Fowler has been a wonderful support system for OVB’s education programs, especially BANKit, and will be greatly missed.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Mr. Fowler over these past several years. When I started this job, he welcomed me into his class as if we were old friends. He is supportive of BANKit as well as OVB. He always brought his students to the bank’s annual shareholders meeting as he not only wanted them to learn, but also wanted to stress the importance of community. I, along with my fellow OVB bankers, wish him a happy, well deserved retirement,” Roush said.

For more information on OVB BANKit and other financial education programs, e-mail hdroush@ovbc.com. Also, be sure to check out our new Virtual Classroom, which has a variety of financial lessons and activities.