Teaching children that money is not just to spend is an important life lesson, one that starts early. Learning to give to others is also an important early learning concept. Parents can serve as role models in helping teach the concepts of giving, spending, and saving.
There are rewards for incorporating these skills into a child’s life. Giving helps them recognize the needs of others and the value of giving to those less fortunate. That giving might take the form of money but can also be of time, material items such as clothing or food, or a skill or talent. Saving will allow you to buy something in the future because you do not have the money to buy it now. Saving has value as money earns interest in a bank or credit union account. For a young child, that savings might be used to purchase a wanted toy or educational resource. Spending is using some of their financial resources to make a purchase or using resources (money) now to trade for things.
Young children are capable of learning simple spending concepts. Work with children to identify categories for spending plans and ways to save money.
Resources and tools:
The Ant and The Grasshopper: http://www.dltk-teach.com/fables/grasshopper/index.htm
EconEd Link, a premier source of classroom tested, Internet-based economic lesson materials for K-12: http://www.econedlink.org/