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It's never too early, in a world that tries to sell kids everything, to help them understand the value of money. A great and fun way is to introduce your kids to coin collecting. Junior coin collectors have been discovering the joys of coins for years. The Canadian Numismatic Association sponsors the Kids on Coins program.
As with anything else your children enjoy, coin collections will probably overwhelm your house, but it's a hobby you can get interested in too. You can take the opportunity to talk to your kids about investing, the history of money, and encourage them to put away part of their allowances and/or pocket money if your six-year-old operates a lemonade stand or your teen has a part-time job. Some kid-friendly coin collecting tips:
o Encourage your kids to learn as much as possible about coin and currency collecting. The COIN COLLECTING FOR KIDS book, a 2000 Parents' Choice Award Winner, introduces kids to coin collecting, with slots for all 50 statehood coins.
o Help kids make decisions about buying coins. They may not be able to afford a valuable Golden Eagle right away, but kids have been resourceful in saving their money.
o Use the Susan B. Anthony Dollar and the Kennedy Half-Dollar to teach kids about history.
o Sometimes you don't have to look farther than that jar of change your uncle gave you. Start a "treasure hunt" and encourage kids to pick their favorite coins, or find an Indian head penny.
With digital pets and ever more sophisticated robots, coins might take a back seat at first, but kids like the idea of doing something adult, and your enthusiasm will make coin collecting an invaluable family pastime.