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15 Fantastic Financial Christmas Gift Ideas for Children

Let's be honest.

Your child doesn't need yet another toy. Sure, they're fun, but after a couple of weeks, toys are forgotten or broken (or both).

Plus, what long-term benefit does a toy offer? None. In these economic times, you might try something a little bit different. If there are kids in your life, you might consider providing them with a financial gift.

There are any number of useful financial gifts that can keep on giving — while providing children with a solid financial foundation for the future.

Piggy Bank

Young children get a thrill out of opening presents, and you can provide this thrill while giving something practical.

There are any number of piggy banks out there designed to help children begin learning money management. These banks often have divisions so that children can see that some money is for saving, some is for spending, and some is for other purposes.

Include a roll of coins with the gift, and the child can immediately begin learning valuable financial planning lessons. Check out the Laugh and Learn Piggy Bank.

Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank Price: $14.99 Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Piggy Bank

Stock in a Company of Their Choice

If your child is a bit older, maybe it's time to go beyond the saving and spending lessons and teach them about investing.

Give them $25-$50 as a gift with the caveat that they must use it to purchase stock in a company. Show them how to sign up with a company like Stockpile where they can buy stock using a gift card you provide. Then they can pick a stock, and make the trade.

No one is suggesting your kid go on to be a single stock day trader, but this lesson will help your child understand stock so they can grasp the more important lessons of continual, passive, diversified investing.

Math and Counting Games

Previously voted the Educational Toy of the Year by the Toy Industry Association, the LeapFrog LeapPad has several games that can help your child learn math, the foundation for a good financial education.

This toy is made by one of my favorite companies, LeapFrog. I tend to like the traditional LeapFrog games and movies with little Tad, so I'd go for Math Circus.

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate Price: $79.00 LeapFrog LeapPad Ultimate

College Savings Accounts

Consider opening a 529 plan for a child on your list.

In many cases, you can do this with as little as $25. Then, for every gift-giving occasion, you can add a little more money to the 529 plan. It will encourage the child to make his or her own contributions — and maybe even spur the child's parents into action.

This is a gift that offers tax advantages to the recipient, teaches the power of compound interest, and encourages sound financial habits. Plus, in some states, you can receive a state tax advantage for your contribution.

Money Counting iPhone App

For only $1.99 in the app store you can have Coin Math loaded on your iPhone. Coin Math teaches your kids to recognize and count money.

This app comes with voice instruction as well, so your smaller one can play. Now let's just hope they don't get rid of the penny anytime soon rendering that skill useless.

Toy Cash Register

Another great money lesson comes from watching what happens at the cash register. Will you use cash or plastic? Debit or credit?

Bring the cash register home from the store and let your child pretend to shop. Or let your child run the register while you shop. This Teaching Cash Register from Learning Resources looks perfect.

Learning Resources Pretend & Play Cash Register Price: $21.24 Learning Resources Pretend & Play Cash Register


2010 Silver Chinese Pandas 1ozMy grandmother gave me a silver dollar as a gift once. That silver dollar, minted in the 1800s, is worth about $22 today if melted down, according to

Coins can be fun gifts for children to receive. Consider giving gold coins or silver coins. These are small, shiny gifts that light up the eyes, and are likely to appreciate in value over time.

At the very least, they are unlikely to decline in value. Make sure you get these coins from a reputable source.

Editor's Note: Find several coin options at the U.S. Mint. I really like these Chinese Silver Panda coins from APMEX. I have no idea if they are priced correctly at $35, but I would have treasured one of these as a kid.


My sister and I used to play Monopoly for hours. If your children are old enough (8+) then will certainly enjoy this classic game and you can relive your childhood and join them for a game.

There are now many varieties of Monopoly to choose from: Monopoly Classic, Monopoly Electronic Banking, Monopoly Millionaires, Monopoly Nintendo, and Monopoly Junior Party (5+), to name a few.

Monopoly Junior Board Game Price: $12.79 Monopoly Junior Board Game

The Old School Abacus

An Abacus is a great way for kids to visualize counting and perform simple math. The abacus, as you know, is the oldest form of calculator.

Ancient societies used these to facilitate commerce. You can use one to help your kids learn to count. This Classic Wooden Abacus by Melissa and Doug will run you only $12.73 on Amazon.

While it's not a traditional Chinese or Japanese abacus, it will help you count to 10 billion if you use each row as a x10. For instance, the first row of beads counts as 1 each, and the second row count as 10 each.

Christmas is a great time to teach kids about finances and to set them up for success later in life. This list of Christmas gift ideas really is fantastic and I am going to use them for lots of my family and children I know.

Roth IRA

This one is a little trickier. The child in question will need to have earned income. If you are thinking of a gift for a teenager with an after-school job, a Roth IRA might be the way to go.

You can contribute the amount of the child's earned income — up to the Roth IRA contribution limits — to a retirement account that can benefit the child for years. Plus, withdrawals are tax-free for the recipient once he or she reaches a certain age.

On top of that, there are certain conditions (such as education) that allow for penalty-free withdrawals for the recipient. This is another gift that teaches the value of compound interest while it keeps on giving.

Learn About Money Placemat

If your kids eat like mine, they certainly need a placemat to catch all the crumbs. I love placemats with something on them to enrich your child's eating experience.

Kids can get pretty bored at the kitchen table, so having something for them to check out can save your sanity when trying to talk to your spouse. I loved the United States map placemat I had as a kid.

I would have loved this Learn About Money Placemat. This mat can help teach your children about the different coins and even provides a little math lesson by showing, for instance, how many pennies make up a nickel.

"Learning About Money" Placemat Price: $5.20

Toy Wallet

My daughter loves playing with my wallet. She pulls all the cards out, looks at them, and then places them back in the wallet perfectly.

It's quite impressive actually. She needs her own wallet. I found this Cash N' Carry Wallet, also from Learning Resources.

Learning Resources Cash 'N' Carry Wallet Price: $9.49 Learning Resources Cash 'N' Carry Wallet

Savings Bonds

Savings Bond Series EE 100My husband's grandmother gave him a savings bond one year for Christmas when he was younger. It actually came in quite handy just after we were married, both in school, out of work, and in need of groceries.

Savings bonds may not offer huge returns, but they do provide a gift that appreciates over time, and it provides a powerful example. You can even print out a gift certificate from the Treasury's web site so that the recipient can have something tangible.

Bonus: In most cases, the earnings from savings bonds are exempt from federal taxes if the child uses the money to pay for college.

Fun Book About Money Management

One of the more notable, yet simple money management books for kids is the short story, Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday, by Judith Viorst.

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday Price: $5.95 Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday

Another Children's Book About Money

One of my favorite book series' for children is the Berenstain Bears. I loved all of these books as a child and I enjoy reading them to my girls, although some of them can be quite involved (and my daughter does not let me skip pages or paraphrase).

Anyway, the bears have a book about money, called The Trouble with Money. The moral of the story is delayed gratification and savings some money for a rainy day.

Don't default into thinking you HAVE to give children just toys for Christmas. You can offer something much more valuable: A good financial start and solid financial advice.

What are some of the best money-related gifts you have given or received over the years?

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Last Edited: December 1, 2017 @ 10:20 pm
About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka "PT", is a former practicing CPA, blogger, podcaster, husband, and father of three. PT is also the founder and CEO of FinCon, the conference and community dedicated to helping other financial influencers and brands. He created this website back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money, hold himself accountable, and to meet others passionate about moving toward financial independence.

PT uses Personal Capital to keep track of his financial life. This free software allows him to review his net worth regularly, analyze his investments, and make decisions about his financial future.

PT keeps a portion of his emergency fund in Betterment, the automatic investing tool that makes investing super simple. Betterment focuses on what matters most: savings rate, time in the market, investing costs, and taxes. PT recommends this service to anyone looking to get started investing for themselves.

All the content on this blog is original and created or edited by PT.


  1. Michele Cooper says:

    Thanks for the ideas Philip.

    I think saving bonds make excellent financial gifts and since they can be owned by kids they can learn about compound interest and the benefits of investing over the long term. Also getting financial advice from a planner can help children understand value of saving money and investing.

    Toy cash register and Toy wallet are some very good ideas for Christmas gifts.

  2. Donna Freedman says:

    My life partner puts money into his young granddaughter’s college fund for birthdays and Christmas. The rest of the family loads her down with toys and other gifts, so she doesn’t notice that he isn’t giving her anything tangible.

    When it’s time to pay for school, the monetary gifts will be worth so much more than those other, fleeting pleasures.

  3. I like to do a “practical” gift for each of my kids each Christmas. Helping them build a tool set with a new, quality tool each year, for example. They’re less than impressed right now, but at some point I believe they’ll come to be grateful for it.

    I also like to do an oz. of silver from a foreign country. A US Silver Eagle is cool, but something from a foreign country is memorizing to a kid.

    Good list PT

  4. I just gave my daughter a piggy bank and cash register. And she really loves collecting coins.

  5. Great list Philip, had to print it out for future gifts for my 3 year old.  I actually bought the placemats this year, although it may be a little early for a 3 year old, but I just couldn’t wait to start teaching her about money!  Thanks

  6. Great list!  But it is important to note that on the savings bonds, to qualify for the education exemption from tax on earnings, the bonds must be registered in the PARENT’s name, not the child’s.  See for more.

  7. DenverEric says:

    Great ideas PT. My intro to accounting teacher told us about when he bought his daughter a single share of Disney stock when she was little, and that he used to help her vote her share annually while teaching her about investing.
    I also love the coin idea. I have a coin collection that began when I was 10 years old. It has grown quite a bit in the nearly two decades I have had it.

  8. There’s also an option that fills the gap between the piggy bank and the real bank – the virtual family bank. Mom/Dad are the “bankers” and the kids are the “customers”. The concept is described in the book The First National Bank of Dad and has gone online at a number of sites (like ours).

  9. moneymatters says:

    Some cool financial gifts for kids

  10. I know a couple in their 40’s with a 14 year old son. The parents are definitely not great financial role models. I have been giving the kid cash for the last few years for Christmas, but I called the Dad and asked him if it would be OK if I also open a bank account with the kid and start a business with him. He strikes me as the type to have an entrepreneurial spirit, and what kid doesn’t like making money? Dad was all for it.

    Dad is also getting a piggy bank for Christmas. I’m going to suggest that at the end of each month we count our change in our piggys. Whoever saved the least has to make dinner AND all of the change saved goes into the kid’s college fund.

    • Philip Taylor says:

      @nvannello That’s pretty honorable of you to be investing in someone else’s kid. Good on you.

      • @Philip Taylor Thanks, but I don’t think it’s out of the question to help a kid with his education. More than anything, I’m teaching him the tools to make money and giving him the knowledge how to handle his money. That’s the real gift.

        I have no kids of my own. I’m amassing money for retirement and decided that when I die I want to leave it to a foundation that helps kids go on field trips. When I was a kid, field trips expanded my world, brought out my curious nature and gave me an appreciation for different cultures. Sadly, because most schools don’t go on field trips, kids are living in more of a bubble than ever.

        Thanks for making me think outloud — Now I’m going to research how to start my own foundation!

  11. My sister and I were given savings bonds by our grandparents when we were very young. Then my parents decided to spend the money on dirt bikes when we were 15. The dirt bikes were fun, but now that I’m 30, I know it wasn’t the best decision they could have made. I definitely want to make better financial decisions than my parents. Our son already has a wallet, so this year I’m thinking Abacus.

  12. Thanks for these! I have 2 nieces I need to buy for.

  13. I gave my niece $100 in a 529 a few years ago and now I contribute more money to that every year. My uncle bought me savings bonds when I was young, and I used them to pay bills in college. Now I’m giving back, and it feels great!

    • Philip Taylor says:

      That’s awesome, and inspiring. I have some nieces and nephews who could use something like that. Great idea to extend this beyond your own kids.