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Resources > Financial Literacy > Creative Ways To Give Money to a Kid—Simple but Effective Ideas for a Memorable Gift

Creative Ways To Give Money to a Kid—Simple but Effective Ideas for a Memorable Gift

When planning a present for your child, cash is a safe and easy gift option because you don’t have to worry about whether your child will like something you buy them. However, most children are excited about unwrapping gifts—an experience filled with joy, 

surprise, and wonder. Handing out a few dollar bills might not make for the most memorable gift in comparison, but getting creative with it could be the solution.

In this article, we’ll show you some creative ways to give money to a kid and combine the best of both worlds—the joy of receiving cash and the thrill of unwrapping a thoughtful present. These fun ways to give money to a kid will also help you teach them about financial responsibility.

How Much Cash Is Appropriate for a Gift?

According to behavioral researchers from Cambridge University, children begin forming their lifelong money habits from as early as three years of age. This is when adults can introduce them to basic financial concepts like spending, saving, sharing, or even investing money, but this isn’t an appropriate age to gift cash.

Money gift ideas for kids become more appropriate as children grow older than seven years. Here are some recommendations for how much money you can gift based on the child’s age:

AgeGood Gifting Amount
7–12 $1–$25
12–16 $20–$40

Factors that influence the gift amount you choose will also include:

  • Your relationship with the child—Close family members may feel inclined to give larger amounts compared to distant relatives
  • Occasion—For major occasions such as graduations, special birthdays (e.g., turning 13, 16, 18, or 21), or celebrations like Christmas, you might want to give more than you would on less important events
  • Your own financial situation—It’s good to be generous, but you shouldn’t empty your bank or fall into debt for a money gift

Fun Ways To Gift Money to a Kid

Here are seven creative ways to gift money to a kid:

  1. Cash scavenger hunt
  2. Money cake
  3. Money book
  4. Cash bouquet
  5. Money popper
  6. Real Monopoly money

Cash Scavenger Hunt

A scavenger hunt has been a fun activity for children of all ages since the 1930s, and you can make it a bit more exciting by hiding cash instead of gifts. This is a good gift idea for a wide range of ages, from seven years all the way to late teens.

Begin by thinking of a safe yet accessible hiding spot. Then, place the cash in an envelope and hide it there. You can also split the amount and hide it in multiple spots.

Next, make a list of clues and give it to the child. Make sure to explain the rules first, such as that they can’t ask anyone for help and must complete the challenge within the set timeframe.

Money Cake

Most children like cakes on festive occasions, so this is a good idea for children of all ages. It’s especially appropriate if you use this idea as a birthday gift.

To make a money cake, buy a styrofoam dummy cake from a baker’s supply store or use a round cardboard box. Then, roll up a banknote and stick it to the styrofoam dummy or cardboard box, and repeat this process until you’ve decorated the fake cake with all the cash you plan on gifting.

Add a few toppers, ribbons, and flowers to make it look fancy, or consider making multiple layers to create a tiered money cake.

Money Book

Making a money book is a great idea as a symbolic gift for a child who loves to read. To make a money book, just grab a rectangular cardboard piece that’s slightly longer than a banknote. Then, stack all the cash on top and bind the notes with tape.

If you want the child to have something real to read as well, you can enhance your money-themed gift by combining it with a financial literacy book that will teach them how to handle the money you gave them responsibly.

Cash Bouquet

If your child is especially creative and likes crafts, you can give them this artistic gift by rolling up some banknotes into flowers. Put your origami skills to use and create different types of florals.

It’s best if you don’t make the bouquet entirely from money—instead, add colorful paper flowers to make it eye-popping. Once done, wrap the bunch of flowers with shiny paper to complete the gift. 

You can also create other shapes using dollar bills and use them to decorate the bouquet. Check out Pinterest or YouTube for unique shape ideas, such as stars, hearts, flowers, or Christmas trees.

Money Popper

Money poppers are a good idea for birthdays, holidays, or any special occasion where you want to make your gift more memorable.

To create a money popper, start by gathering clear balloons, confetti, glitter, and the dollar bills you want to gift. Insert the money into the balloon along with a generous amount of confetti or glitter for added flair.

Then, inflate the balloon and tie it securely. When it’s time to present the gift, encourage the child to pop the balloon to reveal the surprise cash inside.

Real Monopoly Money

Another fun way to gift money to a child is through a money game like Monopoly, especially for children aged eight or above who are familiar with games of this type.

You can make this gift by swapping fake Monopoly $1$20 bills with real money. Although the board game has $100 and $500 as well, we don’t recommend replacing these with real money as these amounts may be too much for a child.

Here’s how to replace the fake money:

Monopoly Money Real Money
40 x $1 40 x 1-cent coins
40 x $540 x 5-cent coins
40 x $1040 x 10-cent coins
50 x $2050 x $1 bills

This would mean a total of $56 and 40 cents, which is an appropriate amount to gift a child.

How To Teach Financial Responsibility With Money Gifts for Kids

Money gifts for kids become even better if you can use them to teach your child financial responsibility. Once the wave of excitement has died down, sit with your child and encourage them to think about how they can spend their gift cash responsibly.

Here are some ideas you can suggest:

  1. Donating to charity
  2. Achieving meaningful goals
  3. Establishing savings

Donating to Charity

Financial responsibility is all about spending money in productive ways, such as donating to charity or a cause your child cares about. For example, if your child is passionate about the environment, encourage them to donate to an organization like the World Wildlife Fund. Other ideas for organizations to donate to include:

Achieving Meaningful Goals

Being financially responsible also means prioritizing meaningful goals over personal wishes. Suggestions to give to your child include saving up for educational goals (such as putting money into their college fund if they have one) and health-related goals (such as getting braces for misaligned teeth).

If your child is old enough, you can also encourage them to use their gift money to start a small business (such as a lemonade stand), which will help them learn the value of work.

Establishing Savings

Gifting your child cash is a good opportunity to teach them how to save money. For younger children, a good place to start is getting a piggy bank where they can deposit part of every cash gift they get. If your child is older, you can consider opening a custodial account on their behalf and encourage them to deposit part of their gift into it.

Learning to save is an important aspect of becoming financially responsible, but teaching your child about the importance of credit will increase their chances of financial success in the future. Building a solid credit profile early on will help ensure your child gets better financial opportunities, from loans to better job offers.

A parent-sponsored credit building service like FreeKick is a great way to ensure your child has access to these benefits in the future. This financial product helps parents build good credit for their children as young as 13.

Help Your Child Succeed Financially and Protect Their Identity With FreeKick

Offered by Austin Capital Bank, FreeKick is an FDIC-insured deposit account that you can use to build credit for your children and protect their identity. The service also safeguards the identities of the rest of your family, including up to two adult parents and six children aged 0–25.

Building a Strong Credit Profile for Your Child With FreeKick

FreeKick’s credit building service is a great way to establish a credit profile and secure payment history for your child when they become adults. These benefits can translate to up to $200,000 saved during your child’s lifetime due to perks like favorable loan terms. The service is available for children between 13 and 25 years of age, and you can start it in three easy steps:

  1. Create an Account—Sign up for an account at FreeKick.bank and choose a deposit amount
  2. Set It and Forget It—FreeKick starts building 12 months’ worth of credit history for your child
  3. Keep Growing—After 12 months, you can continue building credit for your child or close the account and get your initial deposit back without penalties

Protecting Your Child’s Identity With FreeKick

Child identity theft occurs every 30 seconds and can hurt your child’s credit profile—they might even get falsely charged with crimes like credit card theft.

If your child becomes a target of identity theft, they may struggle financially despite having responsible spending habits, which is where FreeKick’s identity protection services come in. Here’s what FreeKick offers to protect the identities of your entire family:

Services for MinorsServices for Adult Children and Parents
Social Security number monitoring
Credit profile monitoring
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration
Dark web monitoring for children’s personal information
Sex offender monitoring—based on sponsor parent’s address
Social Security number monitoring
FICO® Score factors
Credit profile monitoring
Dark web monitoring for personal information
Up to $1 million identity theft insurance
Lost wallet protection
Court records monitoring
Change of address monitoring
Non-credit (Payday) loan monitoring
Free FICO® Score monthly
Experian credit report monthly
Full-service white-glove concierge credit restoration

FreeKick Pricing

FreeKick offers two plans, suitable for different family budgets:

FDIC-Insured DepositAnnual Fee
$3,000$0 (Free)
No deposit$149

Each plan includes:

  • Credit building for up to six children aged 13 to 25
  • Identity protection for up to two adult parents and six children aged 0 to 25

Safeguard the identities of your whole family while helping your child build strong credit—sign up for FreeKick today.