How to Teach Financial Literacy at Every Age

Maybe you’re ready to teach financial literacy to your kids, but you’re not sure where to start? From counting games for youngsters, to planning investments with teens, there are countless ways to raise financially savvy kids—no matter what age you start. 

Here are ideas to jumpstart (or expand) your efforts to teach kids from aged four to 16. Keep in mind, this is not an exhaustive list. Feel free to pick and choose suggestions that best fit your kids’ level of knowledge and interest, adding your own as learning opportunities arise.

Activities that teach financial literacy to kids aged 4 to 6

Even at a young age, kids grasp how money works, making this an ideal time to expand on basic money concepts like exchanging money for goods, saving to reach a goal, and charitable giving. Keep it simple and fun to open the door to healthy communication about finances as they grow older. 

1. Count coins

Grab a stack of change to teach the names and values of different coins, encouraging your child to stack, count, and name them. Ask them to provide you change, like a quarter for two dimes and a nickel, to deepen their understanding of a coin’s value.

Young boy and girl standing at toy fresh fruit stand playing shop

2. Play shop

Set up an imaginary shop with items from around the house so kids can select and pay for items they want using real or pretend money. You can also give them a pretend credit or debit card to ‘tap’ or ‘swipe’ and teach how purchases are made without the exchange of physical dollars and coins.

3. Pay at the grocery checkout

Bring your child to the grocery store and when you hand cash or debit card to the cashier, explain how you’re paying for the groceries that were rung through. You can invite your child to hand the money or tap your card. If it’s a debit card, explain that the money is being taken out of your bank account and that, no, groceries are not free!  

4. Use a piggy bank

Set up a piggy bank or saving jar in your child’s bedroom to drop coins they’ve earned through small tasks around the house, from birthday gifts, and more. Encourage your child to count out their money every time they add to their savings to see how much it’s grown. Set a goal to purchase something small with their savings.

boy lies on couch putting coins in piggy bank with man looking on

5. Give to others

Invite your child to drop loonies and twoonies in a donation box during shopping excursions, explaining how their contribution helps important causes. Encourage them to donate their old toys, books, or clothes to a charity so that other kids can enjoy them.

Read more: Money games for kids

Activities that teach financial literacy to kids aged 7 to 9

Kids in this age range have advanced their problem-solving skills, can concentrate longer, and are more independent. You can ramp up your efforts to deepen their financial literacy with real life experience such as independently making purchases, earning an allowance, staying safe online, and understanding good value for their dollar. By this age, if your kids are spending a lot of time online, discussions about the influence of marketing can sharpen critical thinking skills and help curb impulse spending.

1. Make a purchase independently 

Let your child purchase items as you supervise from afar. This exciting act of independence offers the added safety of you nearby to boost their confidence. Later, review the receipt together to describe how items tally up, tax, and method of payment.

Man and boy sitting on floor in front of laundry machine sorting laundry

2. Pay an allowance for chores

Introduce a chore-based allowance starting with basic household duties that need to be completed weekly to earn a predetermined amount of money. Using an app like Mydoh makes it easy to track tasks and payments on a digital platform that helps familiarize your kids with online banking.

3. Visit a brick-and-mortar bank 

Visit the bank, in person, to open a savings account for your child. Encourage them to save up some money for their very first deposit.

Read more: What is a bank and why do they exist? 

4. Introduce saving jars

For kids who prefer a more hands-on approach to learning about finances, give them three saving jars to get them used to responsibly allocating their earnings: one for saving, one for spending, and one for sharing (charitable giving).

5. Online shopping

When you shop online, invite your child to watch as you go through a typical ecommerce process. Explain how you compare products, add items to cart, review the costs that make up the total, and checkout.

Man, woman, and boy pushing shopping cart and price comparing groceries

6. Comparison shop

When you’re out shopping, explain how you compare brands by factors such as price, volume, and quality to get the best value. Point out products that are on sale and ask them to help calculate the savings.

7. Stick to a budget

Visit a favourite store and let your kids purchase anything they want with their savings, as long as it’s within the budget. Try not to sway them too much from making a purchase you don’t think is good value for their dollar. It’s important to let them learn on their own. Instead, ask questions to get them thinking on their own. 

8. Encourage a charitable mindset

Help your child develop a charitable mindset by talking about different charitable causes. Find out what your child feels passionate about. Child poverty? The environment? Caring for the sick? This may spark a desire to support a particular charity through a donation, and the realization we can help others in need through the simple act of donating.

9. Explain virtual vs. in-person purchases

Explain the difference between buying things virtually and in-person. Today, just about every online video game has an ecommerce function encouraging users to buy virtual products to improve the game experience. When kids start asking to buy goodies for their video game avatar, it’s time to compare virtual goods with physical goods: “The amount you want to spend on your avatar’s makeover equals $20 in real life, which is the same cost as the toy you asked for at the store last week. Which one do you prefer?”

Activities that teach financial literacy to kids aged 10 to 12

Kids in this age group are on the cusp of adolescence and developing greater independence as they identify their own unique interests and skills. As they become more self-conscious, they may draw comparisons among peers to figure out where they fit in. Their list of wants may grow more specific, but they’re also able to budget for what they want if they’re earning an allowance or saving birthday money. 

Parents may need to let go of some control to allow kids to make mistakes with their money and learn natural consequences. This is an opportune time to help kids grow comfortable discussing money and confidence in how they use it, introducing more advanced financial concepts like budgeting and investing. 

1. Earn more money

In addition to a regular allowance and weekly chores, provide opportunities to earn extra income through additional tasks around the house to boost their savings and help them reach their savings goals more quickly.

Boy and girl using debit card to pay for an item

2. Introduce a debit card 

Strengthen your kids’ financial independence with a debit card. Alternatively, a kid-friendly app, like Mydoh, provides kids with their own Smart Cash Card—a reloadable prepaid card that can be used in-person and online. This is also a good time to teach your kids why it’s important to check their bank balance regularly.

Read more: What parents need to know about debit cards for kids

3. Discuss money at the dinner table

Spark lively dinner discussion about money. Encourage questions and be open to exploring all goals related to money—no matter how outlandish they may seem (like I want to be a millionaire YouTuber or I want my first car to be a Lamborghini). Use these as opportunities to discuss cost of living, incomes, savings, and more. The more kids can relate personal finance to their own dreams, the more inspired they’ll be to make money smart decisions that help achieve those aspirations.  

4. Level-up their online safety 

As kids spend more time online, it becomes harder to keep track of their digital habits. Level up their online safety know-how. Teach them how to protect account information and passwords and emphasize the danger of opening links on a website or in messages (no matter how tempting they may be to click), even if they appear to be from a friend or trusted business like a bank. 

Read more: What kids and teens need to know about online privacy.

Boy hugs woman both wearing purple volunteer t-shirts

5. Donate to their favourite charity

Now that you’re talking about money at dinner, bring up the topic of charitable organizations. Discuss and investigate different charities and select one that the entire family can support—either through one big donation everyone contributes to, or monthly donations which can keep the conversation going all year if the organization provides updates.  

6. Introduce investing 

Learning to invest could reap serious rewards. Introduce kids to investing by explaining some of the basics, such as how the stock market works, and how compound interest can help grow their savings. 

Read more: Investing 101: A guide for parents and teens

Woman teaching girl financial literacy and looks at computer

7. Practice crunching the numbers

Introduce the concept of a budget and how it works. Encourage your child to choose an item they want to purchase to highlight the usefulness of setting a financial goal and developing a basic plan to attain it. The plan may include weekly savings needed, extra income opportunities such as chores, and a timeline. Mydoh’s money calculator can help them calculate how much they can save based on how much they earn and spend.  

Activities that teach financial literacy to teens aged 13 to 16 

As kids progress through the teen years, they crave more independence and responsibility. They better understand the benefit of earning their own money to pay for the things they want and are often motivated to work a part-time job to boost their autonomy. Your teen is capable, and often willing, to look farther into the future with more concrete aspirations, such as post-secondary studies and careers.

Helping them develop the financial savvy to prepare for their future is key. In only a few years, your teen may be ready to live independently, so this is a crucial period to set up smart money habits and build financial confidence. Peers and social media can have a tremendous influence on your teen, including how they earn, spend, and save money. Be sure to continue to build on your teen’s financial literacy in a supportive way—finding the right balance between their desire for autonomy and responsible savings habits. 

Read more: 10 money mistakes that teens make and how to avoid them. 

Teen girl going thrifting and looking through rack of clothes

1. Make informed purchases

Encourage your teen to research before making large purchases by comparing prices and reading online reviews. With a broader understanding of the world’s issues, you can also encourage them to consider how a product choice may impact the environment, and whether they’re willing to pay more for a product that’s made sustainably.

Read more: How to spend according to your values.

2. Try a practice investment account 

Encourage your teen’s interest in investing by discussing the different types of investments, such as mutual funds, ETFs, TFSAs, and risk tolerance. This may not appeal to every teen, so gauge the level of interest rather than force it. Some banks, such as RBC, offer practice accounts where teens can try their hand at buying and selling stocks and ETFs, track their holdings, and view performance in real time.

3. Pay the household bills

Don’t be afraid to share some of your bills with your teen to provide a sense of what it costs to run a household today. It will likely come as a surprise when they discover the various payments due each month to cover services such as a phone plan, internet, heating, car insurance, and more. Arming your teen with this knowledge can help instill good habits such as budgeting, energy conservation, taking care of possessions to avoid replacement costs, and even driving more carefully.

Read more: Budgeting 101: A guide for parents and teens.

4. Create a real-world budget

Once your teen starts thinking about post-secondary plans or career choices, they need to get real about the costs. How much does an average first year cost? How much will your teen need to contribute? How much do different programs cost? These discussions can help determine how much your teen needs to save, along with a plan to meet that goal within a certain time frame—in essence a real-world budget.

5. Track expenses 

It’s easy to lose track of how much money you spend when almost every transaction is online. Gone are the days when an empty wallet meant no spending. Help your teen develop a better awareness of spending habits by reviewing where the money is going. Teens can review their past transactions through their online bank account and divide expenses into categories such as, takeout, clothes, and video games. Ask them to report back to you on what they learned. The exercise can be enlightening for teens who struggle to keep a balance above zero, regardless of how much money is earned, and may jumpstart efforts to spend more wisely all on their own.

Read more: What is a zero-based budget?

6. Discuss credit card debt

Once your teen starts post-secondary studies, they may want to get a credit card. But don’t wait until then to teach responsible credit card use. Although making mistakes is an important part of learning financial literacy, irresponsible credit card use can be extremely costly, and may cause long-term damage to credit scores. Share your credit card statements with your teen and explain that the balance should be paid in full each month to avoid paying high interest rates that add a lot more cost to that bracelet or pair of sneakers that was a fun splurge. 

Read more: How to apply for your first credit card

Teen boy wearing an apron smiling standing over cake

7. Encourage them start a business 

Have an entrepreneurial teen? Whether it’s mowing lawns, babysitting, computer programming, or launching an ecommerce shop, running a business is fertile ground for learning about finance and economics. It can provide real life experience in supply and demand, managing debt, investing, and more. You can encourage this in various ways, including providing a small loan, reviewing their business plan, and marketing through word-of-mouth.

Prepare your kids for a financially secure future

Learning how to be responsible with money is like any life skill – it gets stronger with proper guidance, personal experience, and commitment to learn. You can help your kids and teens sharpen their money smarts while they’re young, so they’re better prepared for the financial challenges that inevitably arrive with adulthood. 

Download Mydoh and get started today. 

The Parents’ Guide to Teaching Kids About a Recession

It feels like everyone’s been asking the same question lately: are we in a recession? Canada’s recession status has been all over the news, social media and in conversations. Maybe your kids have started asking questions or noticed your shopping habits have changed.

So, what does a recession mean for Canada? It’s not an easy conversation to have but proactively teaching your kids about a recession, and ways to stay resilient through one, can help them understand what’s happening and feel in control during uncertain times. 

Here’s how to talk to your kids and teens about a recession.

What is a recession? 

Economic growth requires a healthy balance of factors like interest rates, inflation, consumer spending, and employment. A recession is triggered by a decrease in economic growth over a prolonged period, specifically two or more consecutive quarters (or six months) of negative growth. 

Economists use different methods to track this growth, but Canada’s real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the most common. It measures the value of products produced here within Canada minus the effects of inflation. Just as doctors measure a child’s growth at annual check-ups, the GDP is measured quarterly and is used to track how healthy the economy is. If growth keeps dropping, the economy could enter a recession.

Is Canada in a recession?

As of January 2024, Canada is not technically in a recession. However, there are many reasons why economists have been anticipating one, such as high inflation and high-interest rates. How long do recessions last? Luckily, right now economists are predicting a fairly “mild” recession, meaning Canada’s economy could recover from it this year. What happens in a recession in Canada determines how quickly it recovers, such as market adjustments and stimulus programs.

What factors cause a recession? 

While the following list is not definitive, here are some of the most common factors that can cause a recession in Canada:

High interest rates

Interest rates, the amount charged on top of a loan, were low at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This helped drive consumer spending. The Bank of Canada raised interest rates in an effort to cool the overheated market. Monthly payments may be higher versus when interest rates were low. People may cut back on their spending or stop buying other things to make up the difference. If people can no longer afford their loan payments, it could damage their credit ratings and even lead to bankruptcy. 

Loss of consumer confidence

A healthy economy requires people to feel confident spending and investing in products and services. Yet higher interest rates and less purchasing power means people can’t spend as much as they did before. Consumer Confidence in Canada is measured on a regular basis, and declining consumer hesitancy around spending and investing can help predict a coming Canadian recession. 

girl pushing shopping cart in supermarket


Inflation is the rate of which prices go up and down. When there’s a lot of demand for something or it’s harder to get, like real estate and certain household goods, prices go up. When there’s less demand, prices go down. Inflation itself is normal and the Bank of Canada tries to keep it around two per cent. But when there’s a dramatic rise in inflation and people’s incomes remain the same or drop, it impacts the economy. People’s expenses rise but their paycheque can’t stretch as far, so they spend less or take on new debt.

Try to explain the nuances of inflation to kids by using examples they relate to, like the prices of their favourite food or video games and what they would cost with inflation. Ask them to multiply those extra costs by how often they make purchases. StatsCan inflation charts can help to illustrate the rising costs, such as the inflation Canada chart showing rising grocery costs.


Deflation is when inflation rates decline significantly. It sounds like a good thing but it can also have a negative effect on the economy. The Bank of Canada says deflation can lead to lower production and wages. It’s relatively rare in Canada, with the last period of sustained deflation during the Great Depression in the 1930s.

Stock market crash 

The stock market is constantly in flux but a sudden and significant drop can trigger what’s called a stock market crash. People buy, sell and trade stocks (shares) of public companies hoping to get in at a low price and profit by selling when the values are higher. During a recession, when life is more expensive and the economic outlook bleak, people may decide to sell their stocks. Panic selling, when many people do this at the same time, could trigger a crash. While it’s rare, stock market crashes have happened when an industry declines quickly or another event causes people to pull back their investments.  

Asset bubble burst 

Sometimes people get captivated by a product or trend and demand for it surges, causing a “bubble.” It could be a new technology like cryptocurrency, or a seemingly-random event like what happened with some stocks getting extra attention thanks to a Reddit post. Or, a real estate bubble where the price of homes suddenly far exceeds what is considered reasonable. If something happens to suddenly cause a drop in demand or value, it can cause that asset bubble to “burst.” People who bought when the price was high can lose a significant amount of money.

Credit crunch

A credit crunch happens when there’s a sudden decline in lending and credit. This can happen for several reasons, like a shortage of available credit or funds, regulatory pressure, or banks being more hesitant to lend, even to people with good credit. For example, if banks have lent out a lot of money but it’s getting harder to recoup those loans, or they’re worried about bankruptcies, it may result in a credit crunch.

Supply chain challenges

The pandemic lockdowns and illnesses caused unprecedented supply chain issues across many industries. Some products and parts became harder to get, shipping times unpredictable, and workplaces short-staffed or shut down. It can now cost companies more to make and transport products or keep in stock, which raised price tags and made prices unpredictable. A December report by Canadian Black Book found that a shortage of new cars led to the average cost of a used car increasing by almost 50 per cent in one year.

How can a recession affect Canadian families?

A recession impacts families in different ways, depending on their situations. Here are a few ways your family could be affected: 

Goods and services cost more

Almost everything we buy costs more these days, from clothing to groceries. According to RBC economists, higher prices and interest rates will result in the average household’s purchasing power dropping by $3,000. With life getting more expensive, families may have to be careful about how they spend and cut back where they can. Talk to your teens about their spending habits and if they’ve noticed a change in what they can afford.

Job loss or pay cut

During a recession, employers may look for ways to save money. Some cut back on raises or reduce their budgets. Others may need to eliminate jobs. If companies do hire, salaries and wages could be lower. If your teens are working now, they may find themselves with fewer shifts or making less money. Let them know that employment rates fluctuate just like the economy, and assure them it will bounce back eventually. 

Harder for recent graduates to find a job

Employment freezes or cutbacks can have a big impact on recent college grads, too. Companies may choose to hire more experienced people which makes it harder for grads to get a foot in the door. Assure your kids that this too will pass. Discuss ways to weather the storm, like using the downtime to volunteer and gain new skills.

woman, boy, dog, and man sitting on floor of new house

Housing may become more expensive

High-interest rates mean it’s more expensive to buy a home, especially for those with a variable mortgage. Rising costs of construction materials, repairs and household services can also make it more expensive. With fewer people looking to buy a home, there’s more demand on the rental market, and some parts of Canada are seeing rent increases reaching record highs. This can be especially tough for people on fixed incomes, like students and seniors. If your teen is preparing to live on their own, check the market in their area and help them set realistic expectations. Explore options like taking on a roommate, reducing their costs of living or finding a place within walking distance, so they won’t need a car. 

Cost of borrowing increases 

High-interest rates mean it costs more to borrow money. If your teen is planning on taking out a car loan or investing in another big-ticket item, talk to them about whether it’s urgent. Help them do the math to see how much they could save on their monthly payments if they wait for a lower interest rate.

Investments may be unpredictable

Some people choose not to invest during a recession when markets are unpredictable. Others see it as an opportunity to get into the stock market when prices are low. It comes down to your personal risk tolerance. Talk to kids about their own risk tolerance and discuss the pros and cons of each.  

How families can prepare for a recession

Doing a little work upfront can help you and your family get through a Canada recession together.

man and woman sitting on couch making a budget

Create a budget 

Now is a good time to create or update your family budget so it accounts for the higher costs of living. Track your family’s daily spending habits and the current inflated costs of what you purchase. Ask your kids to think about which items they can live without. Then, create a realistic budget for your new reality.

Build an emergency fund 

Having emergency savings can help you pay for unexpected costs or price increases. It also helps with peace of mind. Show your kids the ways you’re cutting back to divert money into your emergency fund. Ask them to do the same and create their emergency fund. If emergencies don’t arise, at least they’ll have some bonus money to spend later on.

Pay down credit card debt

With interest rates high, it’s a good time to pay down debts as quickly as possible. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada suggests taking action by cutting back on expenses, paying off debts with the highest interest rates, avoiding new debt, and having a plan in case you can’t make a payment. If your kids have debt, discuss ways to keep things manageable. Help them analyze their statements and work out a payment schedule to meet their repayment goals faster.

Read more: How to pay off debt fast: A guide for parents and teens

Find creative ways to save 

There are lots of ways to have free fun and now is a good time to think of ways to cut back. Watch videos about fun ways to repurpose or upcycle clothing and household items, instead of buying new. Research budget-friendly recipes you’ll all enjoy. Ask kids to find ways they can reduce the cost of social outings. If they head to the movies on Friday nights, suggest they choose to watch a movie at home with their friends, or bike to a friend’s house instead of driving.

boy and man sit on ground at skating park talking about money

How to talk to your kids about a recession 

Recessions are stressful for kids and parents alike. Let your kids know it’s okay to talk about their fears. Help them understand the big picture of economic cycles, and that while sometimes the economy is down, it eventually bounces back. Be honest but make conversations age appropriate. Focus on fun ways to save and reduce costs, without scaring them or downloading your financial pressures onto them. 

Recessions are full of unknowns but the lessons you teach your kids now can empower them to take control of their finances and learn valuable lessons for the future.

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for your kids and teenagers.

Introducing Enhanced Savings Goals Feature

Establishing a financial goal is an important part of creating mindful spending habits. But saving for the future can be a challenge! Why? Because humans have a tendency to choose immediate gratification over rewards in the future. Add to that, teens’ brains are wired for immediate rewards, which is why they’re more likely to choose to spend their money on a large bubble tea versus saving it to see their fav band in concert. 

Learning to save is easier when you’ve got somewhere to put your money and those funds are protected from impulse spending. That’s why at Mydoh we’ve introduced enhanced Savings Goals* to help kids and teens reach their goals

Enhanced Savings Goals features

Funds are protected

Kids can’t spend the money allocated to Savings Goals, which helps with making conscious decisions about how to save and spend their money. 

Read more: Why kids and teens should start saving money early

General savings or set a specific goal

Kids can set aside money and save without a specific goal or create up to three separate goals, each with a different amount and an emoji to represent their goal. 

Visually track your progress 

Kids will be able to track their progress and have a visual representation of how much they’ve already saved. 

Parental visibility

Parents will be able to see their kids’ total savings goals balance, individual goals, and their progress towards them. 

Read more: How kids and teens can gamify their savings

How Savings Goals works

Here’s how kids and teens can use the Savings Goals feature in the Mydoh app: 

1. Set a goal 

Create and name your goal, choose a category (such as sports or electronics), input the target amount you want to save, and the date you want to reach your goal. 

2. Add money to your savings goal

Transfer money from your spend wallet to a specific savings goal or general savings and monitor your progress. Parents can monitor kids’ progress and provide encouragement along the way. 

3. Reach your goal

Once you’ve reached your goal, transfer your money to spend and get your Smart Cash Card ready to make your purchase!  

Download the Mydoh app to help build your confidence in money management and become financially independent. 

*Please note: Your child’s Savings Goals is not a savings account and will not receive interest or any other earnings.

How Kids and Teens Can Make Money Playing Video Games

If your kid or teen is already spending a big part of their free time playing video games, it could make sense for them to turn that thing they love—gaming—into a money-making hobby (or even a part-time job). They can monetize their passion for online games in quite a few ways, and the key is being realistic about their expectations for how much money they’re likely to earn in the industry. Making millions of dollars as a gamer is like making millions of dollars as a drummer, hockey player, or a painter—not many people reach that skill level. 

Still, the gaming world is growing fast, and exploring some ways teens can make money there can be really fun. It might even lead them to discover a talent they didn’t know they had! 

Here are some of your kid’s options for making money by playing the video games they love.

Key takeaways

  • While competitive eSports (or electronic sports) offer gamers a chance to make millions, there are other (more accessible) ways for kids and teens to make money in gaming.
  • Platforms like Twitch and YouTube offer the ability to livestream (or broadcast) their gaming experiences, or to create content that appeals to the gaming community, and earn money for it.
  • Other ways kids and teens can earn money from gaming include writing reviews, game-testing, or building their own games through Roblox or Steam.
  • Young developers can gain experience in the gaming industry that is likely to be valuable in the future—both within the world of video games and beyond.
Teen girl sitting on couch playing video games

How much money can kids earn playing video games?

As of February 2021, Canada ranked eighth in the world when it comes to how much money esports players were earning. Our professional gamers have earned a combined total of $27,824,589.94 over the course of their careers. That is a lot of money. Canada’s top-earning eSports player is Artour Babaev, whose gaming name is Arteezy. To date, the Vancouver player has made C$2,257,053.21 by competing in the industry. 

But playing video games competitively isn’t the only way to make money. Longtime gamer and Torontonian Evan Fong, who just recently turned 30, earns cash playing video games and posting the content to YouTube. His channel, VanossGaming, has 25.8 million subscribers, and in 2019 he earned an estimated $11.5 million. Canadian influencer and content creator GamerGirl (Karina Kurzawa) boasts an impressive six million followers on YouTube, where she posts about playing Minecraft and Roblox. 

Read more: Most interesting kid influencers under 16.

YouTube remains a popular place for gamers to make money. The site pays about $5—and up to $5,000—for every 1,000 views a video gets, but like with other social media platforms, certain standards have to be met before YouTubers can earn money. Once a channel has 1,000 subscribers, and the content has earned 4,000 hours of watch time, the owner of the channel can turn on AdSense (the advertising platform run by Google) and begin making money for views. 

Twitch is another popular platform where gamers are earning money. Canadian Imane Anys, known on Twitch as Pokimane, began streaming when she was 17 years old. She’s now the most-followed female streamer on Twitch, and in 2021 her Twitch earnings totalled $1.5 million over the course of two years.

The platform offers a range of ways to make money—through ads, subscriptions, brand sponsorships, and more. On average, a streamer with five to 10 viewers per stream would earn $50 to $200 per month, while someone with 10,000 viewers per stream could reach an estimated $30,000 per month. 

Platforms like Twitch and YouTube have policies to protect kids, like all users, from harassment and/or exploitation. In order to make money on these platforms, kids under 18 will need their parent or guardian’s consent and supervision. Twitch, specifically, only allows kids over the age of 13 years to stream

Read more: 12 video games that will teach kids about money.

7 ways to make money playing video games as a kid or teen

Two teen boys at computer livestreaming their video game and highfiving each other

1. Livestream

Livestreaming or broadcasting is something gamers can do on Twitch or YouTube, or even indirectly on TikTok. This kind of content falls under the category of “Let’s Play,” and viewers tune in to see gamers perform difficult feats or pass seemingly impossible obstacles within the game, all while providing witty, informative, or interesting commentary. It’s a forum designed for multi-taskers who can focus on entertaining their audience while playing. 

How livestreamers get paid typically depends on the number of fans they have tuning in to each broadcast. They can earn money through ads, but it requires a lot of viewers per stream. If they’re just starting and only have a small following, they can offer subscriptions and accept donations (called “tips” on Twitch) from viewers who like their content and want to see more.  

If a streaming gamer does really well, there are also the possibilities of sponsorships and ad partnerships. These are where some of the top streamers make the bulk of their income. 

Read more: How kids and teens can make money you TikTok.

2. Write reviews of video games

Does your tween or teen have a talent for both the written word and the controller? They might want to explore their options for writing video game reviews and news. (At the very least, this might lead to game-makers sending them free copies of their latest projects.) When your kid first starts down this path, they’re likely to find that they’re writing reviews for free, or for the opportunity to have their writing published. Don’t automatically turn down this chance! Those published pieces will make up their writing portfolio—they’re what your kid can send to publications who do pay as proof that they have writing talent and a critical eye for video games and the gaming industry. 

Once your young gamer is ready to go after some paid reviewing gigs, they can expect to earn around $30 per hour (keeping in mind that they might only write one or two hours a week when they first start out). They can look for freelance openings at gaming websites and send in their portfolio and their pitch (the game they want to write about, why they’d like to focus on that particular game, and why they’re the right person to cover the topic or game).  

3. Become a game-tester

On-demand testing service platforms like Beta Family and PlaytestCloud make it easy for gamers to sign up to become game-testers. To be a tester, your teen needs to be 16 or 18 years old (depending on the platform), but PlaytestCloud allows parents to sign up on behalf of their kids. Kids can then test games under parental supervision. 

Once they’re signed up, their job will be to play the game in a way that challenges its limitations, looking for bugs or glitches and reporting them to the programmers and designers. They might record their reports while playing, or they may have to write reports and submit them. Game-testing is a job that pays approximately the same amount your kid would make working a minimum-wage job, but if they love video games, it could be the beginning of a career in the industry. 

4. Start a YouTube channel

Thanks to YouTube, anyone can launch their own channel dedicated to whatever topic they love. The platform is super-popular among gamers and while it’s a competitive place to find a niche and gain followers, YouTube offers a lot of creative freedom and more than one way to earn money from a personal channel. 

If your tween or teen is just starting out, they can pick a specific topic they’re really interested in or know a lot about. For example, if they’re a pro at Pokémon Legends or Overwatch 2, they could make tutorial videos sharing their expert tips specific to those games. If they’re the kind of gamer who plays everything they can get their hands on, they might want to record reviews or reaction videos of their first time playing a new game. 

We covered how YouTube ads make money for you above, but your kid can also earn money from partnerships with other brands, sponsorships and subscriptions, or by selling their own branded merchandise. 

Read more: How to make money on YouTube as a kid.

Group of professional esports gamers

5. Become a professional video game player

Esports is growing in popularity so quickly that it’s even on the radar of the International Olympic Committee and could one day become an official Olympic sport. Esports is basically gaming at a professional level. The world’s best gamers compete against one another at events like L.A.’s E3 Expo, usually for substantial cash prizes. When it comes to gaming, this is where the most money can be made. Just ask gamer Thiago Lapp from Argentina, who plays under the name K1nG. At 13, he was the Guinness World Record holder for the youngest gamer to earn $1 million in esports competitions. 

6. Make and sell your own video games 

Platforms like Roblox have made it easy for kids to build their own games or in-game items and earn money from them by selling them through a built-in marketplace, though age restrictions do apply. Roblox allows creators 13 years of age and older to make and sell video games or items—such as virtual Gucci bags—and earn Robux (that’s what Roblox currency is called) from other players. Robux can then be exchanged for currency through the platform’s Developer Exchange Program (DevEx). Steam is another platform where young developers can build and share games. 

7. Play play-to-earn games

With the precarious state of cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) , games like Axie Infinity, Splinterlands, or Star Atlas (so-called “play-to-earn” or “P2E” games) are probably not the best way to earn money in gaming. Major gaming platforms like Steam and Minecraft have banned blockchain tech from being incorporated into their games. While it isn’t necessarily bad to play these games, parents should monitor in-game purchases, and teens (who must be 18 to cash out their earnings) shouldn’t expect to earn a secure or reliable income here.  

The bottom line

While your part-time teenage jobs might have been serving up pizza, cutting lawns, or taking care of neighbourhood kids, your kids have the opportunity to make money online by playing or creating content for the video games they love. Those earnings can then be saved or wisely invested. Tools like Mydoh are here to give your kids the winning edge and help them level up on their financial future. 

Download Mydoh and help build the foundation of financial literacy for your kids and teenagers.