Economics. Kids really do care about it. Not convinced? Just think about their expectations of the Tooth Fairy.
Kids supply a tooth and expect (demand) a treat or cash in return.
Dig a bit deeper into this basic exchange and you will find a friendly version of Economics 101 that kids can really sink their teeth into.
Why bother digging deeper with kids? Well…
- Google ‘kids and financial savvy’ and you’ll get 2+ million hits telling you how and why it’s important.
- Research concurs. See, for example: Foundations of Financial Well-Being: Insights into the Role of Executive Function, Financial Socialization, and Experience-Based Learning in Childhood and Youth. Thinking critically about economic principles and integrating such thinking into overall development literally can pay off later in life.
- Little kids like to ponder big subjects. Why shouldn’t kids practice big thinking via this subject? A little preventative mental hygiene goes a long way to polishing off economic ignorance before any rot sets in.
What concepts can kids – of any age, btw – actually explore with tooth fairies?
- supply & demand
- the ‘invisible hand’
- rational expectations
- fair trade
- opportunity cost
And then there’s the metacognition & critical thinking involved in exploring how fairies and kids can work together for the greater good.
Kids won’t read Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations. How are they supposed to explore these topics?
So glad you asked.
- Home Grown Option:
- Seek definitions for the bullet list terms. Any dictionary will do. Of course Adam Smith (see link above) has a lot to offer, too.
- ‘Translate’ the terms to suit your kids/students when discussing tooth fairy lore. No need to do it all at once…just weave the ideas in when opportunity knocks.
- Ready Made Option*: I offer a short story called The Tooth Fairy Conference. The main character, Gwyneth is pictured above. This is her nemesis, Plaque Man. Creepy, right?
While out collecting one night, Gwyneth discovers Plaque Man is wreaking havoc on the fairy worlds’ supply of pristine teeth. She finds smeary notes declaring things like, “Eat candy in bed; you’ll have sweet dreams” and “Need more sleep? Skip flossing.” So Gwyneth collects brainy & brawny help at the Fluoride Foundation’s Tooth Fairy Conference to extract this gunky skunk with dental and mental derring-do.
*There is a small fee for these ready-made options.
FREE coloring pages of Gwyneth and Plaque Man are here.