Orlando Public Library's 'Thinking Money' exhibit teaches kids finance -- the fun way

iPads, games teach benefits of saving money, budgeting

ORLANDO, Fla. – Talking about money with your kids can be tough. That's where the Orlando Public Library's "Thinking Money" exhibit comes into play.

It's a kid-friendly display, featuring cartoon characters children can relate to, making it easy for parents to approach the topic of finances.

"This gives them a way to get into the conversation with kids in a way that's accessible to kids," Erin Sullivan, the library's public relations administrator, said.

As kids walk through "Thinking Money," they'll find iPads, which allow them to interact with the characters, like a cowboy who has difficulty budgeting. The iPads allow kids to see the consequences of different financial choices, like, for example, if the cowboy opts to spend all his money on boots rather than saving for an emergency.

The display also covers credit scores, interest rates and financial fraud. Nicholas Mazzola, 14, visited "Thinking Money" while on a tour of the library. He said he never really knew how credit bureaus calculate credit scores.

"If I owe someone money, I've got to pay them right on time instead of waiting later in life (because) then my credit score drops down to like 400," Nicholas said.

According to Sullivan, a lot of teens enter adulthood without ever having exposure to financial literacy. The goal of "Thinking Money" is to avoid common pitfalls.

"I think any of us can talk about the story of signing up for our first credit card and getting that first bill and realizing we are in over our heads," Sullivan said. "We're giving kids the idea of what it means to save, what it means to have a credit score and a credit rating."

The library also offers a series called "Biz Kids," which helps kids develop and launch businesses, also in an effort to improve their financial literacy.

You and your children can visit "Thinking Money" through Saturday

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