One of the few silver linings of the pandemic was spending quality time with family while we hunkered down. Now that life has returned to some semblance of normal, work, school and social commitments are causing us all to scatter again. Happily, Family Day is on February 20, and this statutory holiday in most Canadian provinces is a great opportunity to spend time with family. When filling the day with fun, try to weave in an age-appropriate life lesson (or two!) about finances, to make that family time especially worthwhile. Here are some ideas.

Spend quality family time at the museum or aquarium. 

Fuel wonder, curiosity and financial literacy

Plan out your day by making a budget that includes the cost of tickets, transit or gas, parking and even lunch. This will reinforce how much things cost. Challenge your kids to find ways to save on costs for the trip (take transit or walk instead of driving, pack a lunch, look for discounted tickets). To teach them the value of saving, give them a portion of the savings to spend in the gift shop.  

Spend time with the family cooking a Family Day feast.

 Fuel creativity, measuring and math skills

Decide on the menu, make a grocery list and then go shopping together. Practice math at the grocery store by pointing out savings, keeping a running tally of how much you’re saving on your smartphone, and letting the kids help count money at the cash. At home, let kids help prepare by measuring ingredients. They’ll learn about money and measurements, get to be creative and enjoy the fruits of their labour. 

Escape rooms are a fun way to spend time with your teen.

Fuel creativity and deductive skills 

Escape rooms are all the rage these days, with new ones popping up all the time. Find one near you and spend quality family time working together solving a mystery to get out of a room. Your time will be filled with creative thinking, sharpening your observation skills, solving brain teasers and a whole lot of fun.

Break out the board games for some quality (and competitive!) family time.

Fuel deductive skills, money recognition, money management skills

There’s nothing like friendly competition to bring a family together! Add in a little financial learning by unboxing a board game like PayDay. Kids will learn about money management and how to make “payday” funds last while juggling expenses. The Game of Life comes in junior and classic editions, making it an age-appropriate way to learn about saving and spending throughout life. Classic Monopoly teaches how to plan, manage money and negotiate with others – all valuable skills for life.

Start a savings account for younger family members.

Fuel financial literacy skills

Banks may be closed on Family Day, but online banking apps are always open. Help your child get money-smart by opening a savings account to teach them how to save and spend their allowance. Walo is an app and pre-paid card that teaches the value of money by helping kids manage their allowance. Similarly, the MydohTM app and Smart Cash Card teach money skills in fun, age-appropriate ways. You simply assign dollar values to chores and deposit them into kids’ accounts at week’s end. Chores get done, while kids learn the value of money — it’s a win-win!

Teaching children about financial literacy is a skill that will serve them well for life, and experts say talking about finances can start as early as three or four years old. As a parent, you can reinforce learning by being a role model. For example, show how to save for post-secondary education by opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for your child. Don’t have a plan yet? Start by contributing as little as $10 monthly to a CST Savings Advantage RESP. To get started, click here.