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How To Teach Kids To Think Like a Business Owner

How To Teach Kids To Think Like a Business Owner

Kids have young impressionable minds. And that is a good thing.

It was the wise Aristotle who said:

“Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.”

-Aristotle

This was actually the concept behind the fascinating 7-UP series where Michael Apted has tried to interview the same people every 7 years since 1964. I find it fascinating to see a project like that evolve over time. It's oddly compelling to see people age in near-real time.

Side note: The incredible movie Boyhood is a fictional movie filmed in real-time over a period of 12 years. I highly recommend that you check it out if you have not watched it. Ok, enough about film.

Let's back to the premise of molding kids into adults.

How to Teach Kids to Think Like Business Owners

As a lifelong entrepreneur who has never held a 9-5 type job, I wanted to make sure my own kids understaood how and why to think like a business owner.

The key to teaching is gamification. This is where you make learning a concept fun by disguising it in a game. (because, of course, kids love playing computer games.) So you can find a game like this – and know that it teaches kids to start thinking like a business owner. This is important because the distinction between how consumers and business owners think is something many people never even consider.

The purpose of playing a game is to have fun and make as many points as you can. I believe that this is also the goal of financial literacy education.  In general, games are fun and can motivate people to participate in activities. In addition, games are very effective tools for mastering skills and helping knowledge retention.

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Math is the most dreaded subject of the school curriculum but it is just as important as reading and writing. We don't want our kids to grow up hating math and that is why we need to find different ways to make learning math fun. We have to make sure that they have fun while learning or they will never bother to learn these basic skills.

Pizza Math

My all time favourite game that illustrated this concept was a game called Pizza Math, but some some reason, even though it was a well developed game early in the iOS ecosystem, it has completely disappeared. I really liked when my son was playing this game, because it was shaping his connection to both math and business. Now that he is older, he thinks like an entrepreneur and has even started selling his own creations on Etsy and recently developed a Notion template that helps Teens and Tweens get organized.

In the game, Pizza Math, you ordered ingredients at the local market (which were sold in packages by different vendors), designed pizzas, and had to do math on the fly to charge the customers the correct amounts when they ordered in your pizza shop.

Then the mayhem began. But it was a fun way to teach quick, real-world math skills.

The Coffee Shop Game

The Coffee Shop game is pretty similar. You have to invest and buy inventory and then create your product and sell to make a profit. I like this concept because it gets the player (the kids or perhaps an older player) to change their perspective. Normally when you go into a coffee shop, you are the customer. You just order what you want and pay for it without much thought.

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money games
Own a little coffee stand and learn about money

But this changes it so that you start seeing it from the perspective of the business. You can hear the customers complain and you need to anticipate how much inventory to purchase and see how adjusting the price and how strong you make your coffee – effects the profits at the end of the day.

Now, obviously this is a simplified version of running a business. No taxes, no employees, no actual working, and the adjusting is a little simplified. But that's exactly whats good about. It introduces the player to elements in the business that are fun and allows them to see the results that those changes have made.

There are actually a whole bunch of different games that can help you, your kids, or even adults learn money and math skills on this site.

I also want to point out that these games can sneak in some math skills if your child has ADHD and trouble focusing on “boring” schoolwork because it makes it fun. That's the power of gamification.

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