The Power of Play: making financial education fun!

October 6, 2017

By Jane Rooney, Canada’s Financial Literacy Leader

I recently had a chance to speak at the national conference of the Canadian Association of Family Resource Programs in London, Ontario. The theme of the conference was “The Power of Play.”

I liked this theme a lot because it speaks to the idea that learning can be done in fun and engaging ways. When it comes to money, making learning fun can lead to good results. 

Through consulting with experts we’ve learned that:

  • Many people are uncomfortable talking about money and feel there’s a stigma associated with getting help to improve financial understanding 
  • Some people find dealing with finances stressful and so they may put off making decisions 
  • People prefer to learn where they’re at – for example, in school, in the community or in the workplace, wherever they feel most comfortable
  • People absorb information better during teachable moments or key life events 

FCAC and its stakeholders are seeing good results when financial literacy is integrated into games or apps that challenge people to change their behaviours. One of the key behaviours we want to encourage is budgeting. Having a written budget enables people to commit to a spending plan and allows them to set priorities for making purchases. 

So we collaborated with a company called Carrot Insights to develop a fun and engaging way to learn about budgeting, using something called the Carrot Rewards app. You can read about it in my previous blog post.

Another way FCAC tries to deliver messages in a fun way is online, through our engaging digital content. 

Here’s a humorous video we created to show how financial stress can build up, without our even noticing. The video also directs people to FCAC tools and resources that can help, as well as pointing to other helpful organizations.

As I said in my speech to the Association of Family Resource Programs, one of the best places to learn about financial literacy is in the community, “where they are at.” The best programs also harness the power of play. You can see programs as well as find workshops that are happening in your community through our Canadian Financial Literacy Database. It’s a one-stop hub for some of the most engaging and creative financial literacy programs in Canada.

Also, November is Financial Literacy Month, and the whole month you will find activities across the country devoted to raising awareness about financial literacy. This year for Financial Literacy Month we have weekly themes and activities planned across the country. Watch this space for more information!

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