"I have to sleep in a box?" my 5 year old asked in partial surprise & a bit of excitement.
I had just gotten done explaining today's project dealing with money & that was the only thing my boy understood?
As mentioned earlier we are in the middle of reading the book Ragged Dick. It is the story of a 14 year old boot-black living on the Streets of a New York. In the beginning of the book Ragged Dick was sleeping in the streets in, you guessed it, a box.
I thought in the midst of our reading this would be a great time to introduce a unit on money to the boys. In the story Ragged Dick, Dick has to earn his own money & pay for everything.
This was going to be our first unit on money & what better way to grasp the concept of the book & life than doing them same for my boys.
I evenly distributed 54 cents to each of my boys.
Then we counted everything. I wanted to make sure my boys could count the money we had been given.
We discussed nickels, quarters, pennies & dimes. Then the boys took turns counting their money & showing their ability to tell me the value of each coin.
Then it got interesting. I told them our plan for the day. "Just like Ragged Dick had to pay for everything in the story, today you will too."
Hence the statement from my five year old about sleeping in a box. I reassured him, he could pay for housing if he so desired & still sleep in his room.
Now don't panic, my boys love sleeping outside & I am in an area where I don't have to worry to much about them if they do. So to them, sleeping outside in a box sounded way better than actually sleeping in their bedroom.
We tried to keep our prices similar to what Dick had to pay in the story:
- Snacks would be 3 cents.
- Meals 5 cents/meal.
- A bed with a roof over it 10 cents a day.
- Any entertainment would be 5 cents/half hour.
I was initially worried how this would go over, but they were excited!!
They immediately realized the need to budget out their $$ for the entire day. I didn't suggest this at all. They just thought about their plan for the day & decided they better write down the cost of things & the best use of their money. I was surprised at this suggestion, but proud that they would think about it.
They paid for breakfast & we began our day. They did ask for a few chores in which to earn a few extra pennies, but no one got paid more than 7 cents for their day labors.
By mid-day they had all paid for at least one snack.
Lunch came & they were eager to have to "pay" to eat.
Mid-afternoon was my hardest time. They all wanted to pay for snacks & some entertainment (Wild Kratts) at the exact same moment my baby was almost asleep for his nap. So one after another they would come in & trade $$ for food & entertainment & it took way to long for my grumpy baby to go to sleep.
By supper my 5 year old had lost his money. His older brother, had carefully budgeted his & paid for his littler brother to eat supper.
"Just like in the book mom, when Dick paid for his friend to eat." He remembered.
Shortly after supper my five year old had found his money again.
At the end of the day they all still could pay for room & board. Some even had a few cents left.
But they still wanted to sleep in a box they told me as I had tucked them into their beds
Determined, little boys, this was how a found them 40 minutes after bedtime.
Sleeping in boxes.
And that wraps up our 1st day talking about $$$.
It was a huge success & they loved it. We haven't done it again, but they continue to ask, so I imagine we will soon.
Warning: If you decide to take upon yourself this awesome activity, be warned. Your enthusiastic little boys will then go to around telling everyone how their mom makes them pay for their meals & sleep in boxes.
But don't say I didn't warn you.