Even if you don’t have a smartphone, I’m sure you’ve at least heard of the popular game “Plants VS Zombies.” The plot of the game is that your neighborhood is under attack by a bunch of different Zombies. The only way to protect you and your family is by planting various plants that shoot, blow up, stall, or stomp on them to (re)kill them. It’s a strategy game that puts your Plants VS the Zombies…
You don’t get an endless supply of plants of course, because that makes the game WAY too easy and what’s the fun in that? You have to pay for plants with sunlight. Sunlight comes from either the sun (obviously) randomly or sunflowers (or a mushroom at night). Either way you start off with 50 in your bucket to spend on a plant.
Example of prices are as followed:
Shooting Plant 100
Potato bomb 25 (one time use)
The sun will randomly shine down to increase your pot (25 at a time), but do you choose to wait to gain more or do you plant a sunflower to hopefully make it increase?
There are a different strategies to play the game, but the one that I have found the most useful is plant as many sunflowers as soon as possible so that you can get sunlight quickly. Then plant the attacking plants as needed when zombies start to attack. Don’t randomly start planting them until you see the zombies coming so that you can grow your sunlight bank faster.
Now what does all this have to do with economics?
It’s a great way to have kids relate something they enjoy doing to saving. Instead of sunlight, they save their allowance/earnings for a rainy day or maybe the Zombie apocalypse, you never know. Kids typically have the urge to buy everything they “want” without really think about what that means to their money, but if you use this as an example they may see it in a different light. Help them realize that what they buy effects what they do later in the week/month/year. Show them that when they put their money in a bank it grows faster (like planting more sunflowers). When they stop putting money into the bank account or use that money to buy something it slows down how much money they’re making.
Here’s a way to help Translate:
Sunflower (allowance) $ 50 (just and example)
Shooting Plant (Bike) $ 100
Potato Bomb (Candy/Fast Food) $ 25
If you want to be creative and goofy like myself you can create a money chart with pictures from Plants VS Zombies to help track your kids’ progress. They get allowance = sunflower. When they buy something it represents one of the plants. When something unexpected happens, such as they brake a window with there baseball and they have to pay for it, that would be a Zombie.
Now this is economics on a micro level of course, but it’s a great way to talk to your kids about money in a language they can understand and is fun.
So what are your thoughts?
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