Jul 16

Paycheck-2-Paycheck: A Budgeting Game for Kids

by Hannah Holt »


A few weeks ago, I offered to substitute for my son’s Sunday school class. Of course, I forgot all about it until I pulled into the church parking lot.

Summer brain strikes again!

In the short while before class, I skimmed the lesson on tithes and offerings. The material was thin. I needed something to fill more time, so I sketched up a quick money management game. It evolved into this.


{Note this version doesn’t have a charitable contribution option, but that could easily be added.}

Basically, the game follows a two-week pay cycle.

game board

You roll a single die to advance through the days. Every two weeks you collect a $1000 paycheck. That’s simple enough, but here are the variables:

  • The players choose all expenses and have to pay up with each paycheck. At the beginning, no one will be able to afford the best everything, so…
    • Are you willing to live in a smaller house?
    • Give up eating meat?
    • Only have one pair of clothes?
  • Along the way there are also a few random risks and rewards.
    • Need to visit the doctor? That will be $100.
    • Have a car? You’ll need to pay insurance on that.
    • Oh, look it’s your birthday. Grandma gives you $100! Yay.
  • You win by saving $1000 (after all expenses are paid). In the game, this is the amount of each paycheck. So winning means you’ve graduated from living paycheck-to-paycheck.

To play you’ll need:

  1. An instruction card
  2. A game board
  3. A decision sheet
  4. Play money
  5. Risk/Reward cards
  6. An expense tracker
  7. A die to roll
  8. A game token

Feel free to make copies for personal and/or school use. I just ask that you don’t distribute commercially. I recommend printing the risk/reward cards on card stock and gluing the game board to a piece of cardboard for better durability. When you’re all done playing, everything can be trimmed and folded to fit into a gallon bag.

finished game

If you want to make the game even more complex you could add features, like:

  • taxes
  • more bills (cell phone plans?)
  • charitable contributions
  • add risk/reward cards that include salary increases and decreases

So far it’s been a big hit with my kids. I hope yours enjoy it, too!

May 04

Graphing with Waffles

by Hannah Holt »

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When I see a waffle, sometimes all I see is a buttery breakfast treat.

graphing waffle 1


But then I add a few blueberries and voilà! An equation!

graphing waffle 2a f(x)=x


I don’t need a formal proof to show me math can be delicious…

graphing waffle 2f(x)=-(x-1.5)^2+2

Mar 12

Ladybug Life Cycle

by Hannah Holt »


Weeding my strawberry patch this week, I found someone hibernating among the leaves.

ladybug hibernating


A few days later, I saw this guy getting ready to take flight.

ladybug wing1


ladybug wing2

Beautiful, aren’t they? The waking of ladybugs makes me feel spring is really here.

Did you know ladybugs have four stages to their life cycle just like butterflies? I think the ladybug looks like an alien in its larva stage. What is your favorite phase?

ladybug coloring

Click here to download the ladybug coloring page.

And just for cuteness, here’s a ladybug my daughter drew.

Elenas Drawing

Nov 06

Water Cycle Coloring Page

by Hannah Holt »

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It’s been a while since I did a coloring page, and I’ve had rain on the brain lately:

water cycle coloring page


For a pdf copy of the coloring page click here. Enjoy!

Jul 01

Warning: Do Not Visit the Sun

by Hannah Holt »

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{Today, I’m turning this blog over to my six-year-old science correspondent. Take it away E-Man.}


Visiting the sun isn’t a bright idea. You shouldn’t visit the sun because:

1. You should never look right at the sun. Looking around on the sun would be like, “Ow! Ow, my eyes!”

2. There is no water on the sun. After about three days you would die, or be really really really really thirsty.

3. There is a lot of gravity on the sun.* It would probably squish you.

4. There is no air on the sun. Breathing without air is hard.

5. Also, it would burn you up.


{There you have it folks. Don’t visit the sun this summer.}

*You can find our your weight on other planets by visiting: http://www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight/