Personal Finance

A Trip to Planet Orange

Comments 4 Comments

Last week my 7-year-old daughter Jane told me she wanted to start saving money to buy an RV (recreational vehicle, as in Winnebago). They are, in her words, “awesome.”

“You’ll have to save for a long time,” I told her. “They’re expensive.” A couple of days later I realized it might be a good time to start teaching Jane some of the basic facts about earning, spending, saving, and investing money. After a bit of research I came across an educational outer-space adventure game called Planet Orange, produced by Ing Direct.

After dinner I sat Jane down in front of the computer and told her to have at it. She assumed the role of a young astronaut assigned with a number of missions that required traveling in her spaceship to different cities to learn about personal finance. She started the game with 1,000 obucks (the currency used on Planet Orange) in her account. This money could be used to decorate her spaceship, shop for different kinds of spacesuits, buy robotic pets, and play arcade games. But the spaceship also requires costly fuel, so Jane had to watch her spending or else she wouldn’t be able to go anywhere.

In each of the cities Jane traveled to, she interacted with animated characters who taught her about earning money, taxes, making a simple budget, saving money in checking and savings accounts, and investing money. She was quizzed at end of each mission, and rewarded with additional obucks.

After an hour and a half of rapt engagement, I told Jane it was time to call it quits for the evening. “But I haven’t completed my last mission!” she protested. Fortunately, the game allows you to save your spot, so you can return at a later time and pick up where you left off.

Jane learned quite a bit about personal finances in a short amount of time. I fear a Winnebago showing up in the driveway any day now.

Have you found a unique way to teach your kids about money? Share your finds and tips in the comments section below!

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  • Leslie Blackston-Favors

    You’re right, Planet Orange is cool! It’s been around for a long time and it’s always fun for kids. The Centsables (an action-packed comic book series featuring six superheroes who teach kids about money) and M@dAbout (a new sketch comedy TV show for tweens and teens that teaches them about money, nutrition, the environment and cyberbullying) are two of the unique sources I’ve used for teaching money lessons. Both have cool websites – and
    Kids will love them.

  • Leslie Blackston-Favors

    Found the link to a hilarious “Zombie Dad” sketch on M@dAbout. George the Zombie Dad has a human family and they learn about money. Very funny!

  • Jan Ruskin

    So glad to have found you, Mark. You just became a great resource for financial literacy games I can pass on to some of our clients! We have a financial education curriculum, The Money Game®, that is used to teach kids in schools, camps, and other groups all about money. It’s very fun and interactive. Jane would like it! ;)

  • Gerri Detweiler

    My daughter really liked the Sammy Rabbit books and CD when she was in preschool. Definitely helped her develop a habit of saving!

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