Play Right: Math Games for Teach Your Children to Save Day

imageAt New Jammies, every day is the time to learn new things. it just so happens today is Teach Your Children to Save Day, an educational program established to encourage kids to develop early savings habits as well as learn the benefits of donating and investing.

The term “save early and often” couldn’t apply more.

Teaching kids fiscal responsibility sounds pretty serious. So to put some fun into the lesson learning, we’ve found some fun math games that will help kids think about money in a responsible way without boring them to tears.

On its TreasuryDirect Kids page, the U.S. Treasury offers online games such as Save Perry’s Pennies, which tests kids’ money-saving skills by helping Perry the pink piggy bank save as many pennies as he can, and MoneyMemory. The site also offers definitions of debt that can be explained to kids, info on saving and investing, and the impact of borrowing money.

At mint.org, Northwestern Mutual offers fun for kids, tips for teens, pointers for parents, and ideas for teachers regarding money-related matters. April 18-25 is Money Smarts Week, and this Money Smart Activity Sheet , available to print off for kids, can help teach financial literacy through brain games.

The U.S. Mint H.I.P. (History In your Pocket) Change website, is another tool for teaching and learning that shows how connected people are to coins. H.I.P. Pocket Change features games, stories, and other activities bring coins to life. One of the featured games is the America the Beautiful Quarters, and there are games themed around action, adventure, art, puzzles, facts, collecting, including multi-player options, coloring pages, and bingo cards.

In its Math Arcade section, funbrain.com has an educational Change Maker game that helps teach kids about money. Young players can figure out how many of each bill or coin is expected to get back when an item is purchased. For example, if something costs $3.75 and you pay with a five dollar bill, expect back one quarter and one dollar bill. A correct answer means the amount of change is added to the piggy bank. If an answer is wrong, the correct amount of change is subtracted from the piggy bank. The more money in the piggy bank, the harder the questions become.

On the pbskids.org website, the award-winning, math-based TV series Cyberchase section features an online game that teaches kids to earn and save money in cyberspace to buy parts to help fix Motherboard. In PBS land, Motherboard is the wise ruler of cyberspace who speaks from a computer at Control Central. Her signature line is “Hacker alert!” In the site’s Activities section, kids can create a Savings Diary to keep track of how they save money.

Teaching kids responsibility with money can also be taught in the home by offering a weekly allowance for doing chores around the house and providing a piggy bank for money storage (or for older kids, a savings account).

We know of one caring mom who teaches her kids the value of their allowances by matching the final amount saved by the end of the year and having them donate half that total to a charity of their choice. The more allowance money the kids save, the more items they are able to purchase to donate during the holidays. The kids have purchased books for a children’s hospital and donated much-needed pet items, including food and dog beds, to a local animal shelter. Happy saving!

Eat Right: Honor Mother Earth with Green Earth Day Recipes

New Jammies Butterfly Magic Sleep SackOn April 22, New Jammies and the world celebrates 45 years of Earth Day, an international event that advocates for the environment through education, public policy, and consumer campaigns. More than a billion people participate in Earth Day campaigns every year. This spring, you and your kids can take part in many ways, including what you eat.

Reducing our carbon footprint and buying, or growing your own, organic in-season fruits and vegetables are one way Earth Day can be a lesson for kids. Following these Earth Day-inspired recipes can be perfect for spring and made with organic ingredients. And best of all — healthy.

Parsley, Kale, and Berry Smoothie
Courtesy bonappetit.com with recipe by Seamus Mullen

Ingredients
Servings: 2
1/2 cup (packed) flat-leaf parsley (leaves and stems)
4 kale leaves (center ribs removed)
1 cup frozen organic berries (such as strawberries or raspberries)
1 banana (cut into pieces)
1 teaspoon ground flaxseed

Preparation
Purée ingredients with 1 cup water in a blender until smooth (add water if too thick).

Editor’s note: The comment section of this recipe suggested using coconut water for the water, so that could provided added flavor to this vitamin-packed snack.

Healthy Green (and Blue) Fruit Kabobs
Courtesy SparkRecipes.com

Ingredients
Serving size: 12 skewers; 1 per serving
1 large Granny Smith or other green apple, cored and chopped
1 T lemon juice
2 kiwis, peeled and chopped
2 cups honeydew melon, chopped
1 cup seedless green grapes
12 wooden skewers
New Jammies Earth Day idea: 1 cup blueberries for added color

Tips
If you skip the green apples, you can make these up to 24 hours ahead of time. Even after they are coated in lemon juice, the apples will start to oxidize within hours.

Directions
Toss the apples in the lemon juice.
Thread all the fruit onto the skewers. You want 5-6 pieces (8-10 when adding blueberries) per skewer. Refrigerate for up to 6 hours.

Bright Spring Day Asparagus Pasta
Courtesy motherearthnews.com

Ingredients
Serves 4 to 6
2 cups vegetable (or chicken) stock
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, quartered
12 ounces bowtie pasta
2 pounds asparagus, trimmed, chopped into 1-inch pieces with tips left whole
1 cup peas
1 cup fresh cooking greens (e.g., spinach, chard, dandelion), stems removed
2 tbsp olive oil
10 ounces smoked ham, such as Black Forest, diced (optional)
1 large leek (white and pale green parts) or sweet onion, chopped
2 to 4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup lemon crema (see recipe at end of recipe)
2 tbsp coarse brown mustard
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Garnish: 1/4 cup chives, chopped

Instructions
Bring stock and mushrooms to a boil. Remove from heat and let steep. Add pasta to boiling water, and cook for 7 minutes. Add asparagus, peas and greens, and cook 3 minutes more, or until pasta is al dente. Drain the liquid and return the pasta and veggies to the pot with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking.

Heat remaining oil in a deep skillet, then sauté ham (if using), leek and garlic over medium heat for a few minutes. Stir in the crema, mustard, stock and mushrooms, and cook over medium heat for a couple minutes. Toss with pasta mixture, season with salt and pepper, sprinkle with chives, and serve immediately.

Lemon Crema
Crema is a zingier cousin of American sour cream.
Ingredients:
2 cups cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
Dash sea salt
Twist freshly ground white pepper

Instructions:
Heat cream to about 90 degrees, then remove from heat and stir in buttermilk. Cover and allow it to sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours, until thickened. Whisk in the lemon juice and zest, season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate.

Blueberry Kiwi Fool
Courtesy recipe.com

Ingredients
Servings: 6
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 tablespoon sugar
3 – 4 kiwifruit, peeled and cut up (1 cup)

Directions
In a shallow dish mash 1 cup of the blueberries with a potato masher. (Or puree with a mini food chopper, food processor, or blender.) Stir cinnamon into mashed blueberries.

In a medium bowl beat whipping cream and sugar until cream is very thick. Fold in mashed blueberries.

In individual 6- to 7-ounce glasses or dishes, layer whipped cream mixture with remaining blueberries and kiwifruit. Serve immediately or cover and chill up to 2 hours before serving.

Editor’s note: This recipe is only 122 calories and 8 grams of fat per serving and is a great source of fiber, calcium and Vitamins A and C.