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Web Wise: Money Matters

How many parents get piggy banks to show kids the value of money? Probably most. Yet, despite clinking coins into these cute banks, kids rarely have a sense of what money really is, how itís used and why we have it.

Thereís no better time to start learning about money than the New Year. For starters, take a trip to the U.S. Mint at www.usmint.gov then surf to its H.I.P. Pocket Change section, where kids can find fun facts about money by playing games, viewing animated stories on minting money and tips on coin collecting.

Discover the history of American money at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Franciscoís online currency exhibit (www.frbsf.org/currency ). Tour a showcase of paper money, search through an index of bills and see what Colonial currency looked like.

For an academic-yet-friendly look at money, take a virtual trip to the Federal Reserve Bank (www.kc.frb.org/fed101/indexflash.cfm ) and learn how this institution drives American financial policy.

Kids can learn how to make change with Fun Brainís online piggy bank (www.funbrain.com/cashreg ). Four levels of difficulty are offered in U.S., Canadian, Australian, British and Mexican currency.

Teens can get a reality check in Maryland Public Televisionís Sense and Dollars site (http://senseanddollars.thinkport.org ), where kids learn just how many burger-flipping hours it takes to buy a new stereo.

Try some offline fun, too. For preschoolers and young elementary students use Enchanted Learningís printable sheets on individual U.S. coins (www.enchantedlearning.com/crafts/money ), while older kids can print out a money word search (www.activitiesforkids.com/words/money.htm ).

For links to more fun activities and valuable resources, don't miss the complete Web Wise Archive!

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