News From Our Blog

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From the Smithsonian:

Happy birthday, Rubik’s Cube! The mind-bending toy, known to stump most who try it, turns 40 today. The original prototype above was initially designed to be a learning tool for Rubik’s architecture students, but the well-known colorful toy has reached curious challengers worldwide. Learn more about the Cube on the Bright Ideas blog from Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

Image description:

From the Smithsonian:

Happy birthday, Rubik’s Cube! The mind-bending toy, known to stump most who try it, turns 40 today. The original prototype above was initially designed to be a learning tool for Rubik’s architecture students, but the well-known colorful toy has reached curious challengers worldwide. Learn more about the Cube on the Bright Ideas blog from Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation.

Don’t let your kids be victims. 

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day. Who is your favorite teacher and why?

Download this Thank a Teacher sign and use the hashtag #ThankaTeacher to recognize them for their hard work and dedication.

Tips for Teens: Saving and Managing Your Own Money

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By FDIC

As a teen, you start taking more responsibility for handling money and choosing how you want to save or use it. Here are a few ideas to help make your decisions easier…and better:

  • Consider a part-time or summer job. A job can provide you with additional money as well as new skills, and connections to people who may be helpful after you graduate.

  • Open a savings account and put money in it for specific goals. Get in the habit of putting at least 10 percent of any gifts or earnings in a savings account right away. Saving a certain percentage of your income before you’re tempted to spend it is what financial advisors call “paying yourself first.”

  • If you’re ready for a checking account, choose one carefully. Many banks offer accounts geared to teens or other students that require less money to open and charge lower fees than their other accounts.

  • Once you have a bank account, keep a close eye on it. Watch your balance the best way you can. For example, keep receipts and record expenses so you don’t spend more money than you have in your account and run the risk of overdraft costs.

  • Understand that borrowing money comes with costs and responsibilities. When you borrow money, you generally will repay the money monthly and pay interest. Always compare offers to borrow money based on the Annual Percentage Rate (APR). The lower the APR, the less you will pay in interest.

Get more tips on managing getting started with money management from the FDIC.

Make Learning About Money Fun for Kids

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By Kids.gov

While Financial Capability Month reminds us all that we could do a little bit more to be in charge of our finances, it is also a good time to talk to your kids about how they too can begin to understand finances and how it affects your family.

Kids.gov has smart money sections for kids of all ages, and tips for parents and teachers on how to teach kids about understanding money.

Useful tips include:

  • Get your kids to write down where they spend their money or allowance so they can see how it adds up

  • Talk to your kids about “used” versus “new” and how borrowing a book from the library, or a game from a friend, is smarter than buying something new every time

  • Teach your kids to take good care of their games, books, DVDs and other purchases because it costs money to replace these items

Kids.gov also has a series of comic strips to teach younger and older children about how they can help their parents save money. Children can follow along in a fun and engaging way to learn simple tips such as turning off lights or helping clip coupons to help save money in the long run.

Do your kids prefer learning with games? Have them play money games online to learn more about money. Games such as the U.S. Mint’s Dollar Dive, where kids have to go diving for coins to add more sails to their ship in order to escape a sea monster, help kids understand more about money.

Find more money games.