“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It may be an old adage, but it’s a profound notion. A child’s playtime is more than a break from homework and chores. It’s an opportunity to discover what they love. For many, that love could turn into a career. There are plenty of ways to keep playtime fun while also making it useful. Ready? Let’s play.
Learn to Code
Software engineers are in demand. As retail is reinvented by apps and communication is converted into emojis and gifs, our world is increasingly dependent on people who know how to program. Just like a verbal language, the easier one learns to code, the quicker they’ll absorb the language. Working Mother has a list of 17 different toys that teach kids as young as 2 to code. And there are plenty of games for tweens and teens to learn the language, too. TeacherVision rounded up 5 of their favorites, including tools created by Carnegie Mellon and MIT.
Learn to Invest
The numbers are staggering: a child who invests small sums at a young age will amass more wealth than a middle-aged adult saving many multiples. When it comes to compound interest, time is on the side of the young. While investing can be a simple process, it does come with its own language, rules, and risks. The good news? They can be learned! Before risking their hard-earned allowance on the ups and downs of Wall Street, encourage your child to try a few rounds of practice investing. The Stock Market Game is a simulation that lets kids (and their parents) try their hand at investing using pretend funds. Then, when they’re ready to get real, BusyKid lets kids invest without fees.
Bring a Hobby to Market
Here’s an approach near and dear to our hearts: encourage your savvy child to start a business! Perhaps they have a passion for making jewelry, or love making baked goods for family and friends. Monetizing their hobbies is a great way to make some extra cash while honing a marketable skill. Not sure where to start? We can certainly help you there. Our Emmy Award-winning series Biz Kid$ profiles real entrepreneurs and teaches kids the real-world skills required to become an entrepreneur. Dozens of clips are available on our website for free, and entire episodes of our latest season can be purchased on Vimeo.
The bottom line? We’re not suggesting that you take the fun out of your child’s playtime. Instead, just help your kids use their time intentionally. When your child is intentional with their free time, they could discover a passion that will open doors of opportunity for years to come.