As a young child, one of my daughter’s favorite books was The Bernstain Bears Get the Gimmes. Brother and Sister Bear want everything they see and throw tantrums when they don’t get what they want. Mama and Papa Bear teach their cubs about budgeting and appreciating what they already have. Twenty years later our family still asks each other, “Do you have the gimmes?” when referring to wanting something we don’t need.
Even though secular books such as these teach valuable lessons about money, the Bible should be every Christian’s authority on how to spend, save, and give. Did you know the Bible has over 2,000 verses on money? Teaching kids to tithe by giving God ten percent of their earnings demonstrates to God that He is first in their lives. Tithing to the church shows God we love Him and are eager to give him back a portion of what He has blessed us with.
Malachi 3:10 says “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so that there will be food enough in my Temple; if you do, I will open up the windows of heaven for you and pour out a blessing so great you won’t have room enough to take it in!”. In this verse, God promises to bless us immeasurably if we will honor Him with our tithe.
So how do we teach young children about the concept of tithing? As a parent or children’s ministry teacher we should model tithing. We can’t teach something we are not doing ourselves.
Apps and websites such Oink, Countmybeanz, and Tykoon teach money management such as spending, saving, and giving yet are not suitable for teaching tithing. With these apps, kids may only give to charities approved by the software vendor and purchase items only from selected sites. You may be surprised to hear this from me but in this case technology is not necessarily the best choice for teaching kids to tithe. The tried and true tips below are just as effective.
- Teach kids the meaning of the word tithe (one tenth of our personal income set apart for God). This is easily taught visually by using ten (10) one dollar bills. One of the ten one dollar bills (or one/tenth) is a tithe. This can also be taught with a bag of M & M’s as suggested by Kaylana.
- Teach kids what the Bible says about tithing and why it is important.
- Parents should give children a weekly allowance based on the child’s completion of chores. Kids need money to be able to tithe.
- Play fun games such as the soda explosion gimmick.
- Allow kids to create a tangible money management system by decorating three mason jars labeled Give to God, Save, and Spend. My Giving Bank with three banks in one is also a good system. My daughter used it years ago.
- Encourage kids to give their tithe to God each Sunday during the regular church offering.