Money lesson using back to school money

Life is busy - how do we teach kids to be smart with money?

Turn back to school shopping into a learning experience.

Here’s a great article about how one mom did just that. She worked on a list of needed items for her kids then put money into envelopes and let them make their own decisions (with her guidance when needed). It’s worth the reading time for this one! Click the picture below to read the full article.

From - an article about back to school money lessons for students

From - an article about back to school money lessons for students

Back to school: tips and hacks for success

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As the end of summer approaches it’s time to think about making this year even better than last year.

I discovered several articles, including this one that contains back to school solutions for many different challenges from the scientists at Stanford:

Back to school time also means students find themselves waking up earlier than usual. Gone are the lazy days of summer… staying up late and sleeping in!

One of the keys to remembering better is being awake and aware. This improves our focus and lets our minds do their jobs well - pay attention and remember what we see, hear, and read. Getting our students back onto a good sleep schedule is essential for success in school!


How to help you student adjust? I found this interesting article/report from a TV station in Utah that is worth checking out.

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Finally, here’s another video with more ideas, including suggestions like eye exams, managing stress, and more:

“But I can’t go to bed…it’s still light out!!!”

“But I can’t go to bed…it’s still light out!!!”

Back to school - already?!? Plus summer strategies.

The mist at dawn…that most students miss because they’re sleeping in!

The mist at dawn…that most students miss because they’re sleeping in!

Ahh, the lazy, hazy days of summer.

Wait, what? School just finished here and I’m already seeing information on back to school sales! What ever happened to enjoying the summer?

Still, since one of my assemblies is all about personal finance I also recognize a good deal when I see it. I’ll pass these along to you. With a little planning ahead you can get your back-to-school supplies then get back to enjoying the (hopefully wonderful) weather.

Target is once again offering teachers 15% off school supplies, clothes, and other essentials for back to school. This deal starts July 13.

Not a teacher? Remember Amazon Prime Day and the general savings often found on Amazon. Shop while keeping an eye on the kids!

Finally, why not use the summer to keep kids in learning mode while still making it fun for them?

My suggestion is to pick out their current interest: Minecraft, the Marvel Universe, planets, comics, a sports team, dinosaurs, etc. and work together to create a fun challenge. Can they learn all the information related to their interest? The names and batting averages of all the players on their favorite baseball team; the names and characteristics of every dinosaur; all the Marvel characters, their powers, the colors of their outfits, etc.? This keeps their minds in tune for the start of the school year, keeps them busy on rainy days, and yet will be fun or them.

Give them the help they need by taking the extra step: help them learn how to translate the information into something their minds can hold onto easier and organize it in their memory so it’s easily retrievable. Both of my books cover the essential steps for remembering anything and the skill is easily transferred from an interesting subject to one they don’t care much about once school starts again!

For younger students I suggest (Unlock Your Amazing Memory: The Fun Guide That Shows Grades 5 to 8 How to Remember Better and Make School Easier. For older students my newest book, Mastering Memory: 75 Memory Hacks for Success in School, Work, and Life is perfect.

Read both together and commit to your own summer memory project. What are you passionate about that you could learn to both enjoy and exercise your mind and memory? Seeing you mentally “work out” serves as a great example for students who think that summer means turning off their minds for 8 weeks!

Enjoy the summer but don’t give in to the temptation to take a vacation from keeping your mind in shape…and help the student in your life learn from your example!

Grades improve with more (and better) sleep

One of the important aspects of memory is the ability to focus. Without taking in the information we can’t remember it. This is a big part of why many students struggle to remember well especially in certain classes. If there is a subject or teacher our students don’t care for it’s much harder to focus. Lack of focus equals inability to remember well. In my assembly (The Feats of Memory Show) I address this and help students focus better in class — even the ones they dislike.

Another big contributor to lack of focus is tiredness. Kids are so busy these days with extracurricular activities, friends, family, and homework, plus the natural inclination to want to stay up late, that many aren’t getting enough sleep. If this is the case with your student, one way to quickly and easily improve their grades is to help them get enough sleep.

This article offers one big way to help with that — limiting screen time at night and/or eliminating the blue tint to the screens that interferes with sleep. (My tablet has a Blue Screen function that I use if I’m reading before bed and I believe it helps.) Take a few minutes to read this interesting, short article and see if you can help your student succeed more with a simply tweak to their routine.

New Book for Students, Teachers, Parents, Grandparents...

I was asked a question over the weekend about my new book (Mastering Memory: 75 Memory Hacks for Success in School, Work, and Life) and how it relates to my first memory book (Unlock Your Amazing Memory: The Fun Guide That Shows Grades 5 to 8 How to Remember Better and Make School Easier). The question was, “Which book is right to help my student - should I get the new one or the old one?”

It’s a great question and one that was easy to answer for the person asking me the question but harder, possibly, to advise you.

The first book is best for students in grades 2 (with some teacher or parental help to keep them on track and help with some of the ideas) to grade 8. Grades 7-8, however, will find the book a little silly. The content is right on but the tone may turn them off a bit. If they can get past that it’s the best book for them, but if they can’t the Mastering Memory book is better.

For students in grades 9 and up, including college (and adults in any class!) the Mastering Memory book is great. It has 25 super-helpful hacks for students/learning and the other two chapters (Life and Work) also have great ideas that translate well into not only those other areas of their lives but can also be applied to learning and studying.

Try the “Look Inside” feature for a preview of the book and contents.

Try the “Look Inside” feature for a preview of the book and contents.

If you'd like specifics, check out both books on Amazon. You should be able to see the first many pages using the “Look Inside” feature on the left side of the screen just above the book picture.

If you have a specific question or concern - or your student just can’t seem to remember something - please email me! I’m passionate about helping people remember better. Life is too short to suffer from a bad memory (or to hate learning because things just don’t stick in the mind).

Mastering Memory Book

I have exciting news to share! This past winter I was busy writing my latest book. I can finally announce that it will be published in June, 2019!

This one is an easy-to-read book focused on memory improvement for everyone from middle school to adults. There are three different sections that contain 25 memory hacks each:


School/Learning (not just for students…this section covers learning in everyday life as well!)


If you’re interested in memory improvement, this is for you!


Order your copy now!

How Summer Can Be the Best Time for Kids to Learn Money Lessons

There are many different approaches parents can take when it comes to teaching their kids about money. And like other important lessons in life, financial literacy is one thing that is best taught while they are young. While it may be challenging to find the best time to talk about money (and everything else that comes along with it like budgeting, saving, spending, investing, etc.) learning money lessons could be just like learning how to ride a bike or play an instrument. Teach them young and give them plenty of time and space to practice safely.

Summer vacation could be the best time for kids to learn a lot of important life lessons. Why not make one of those learning money management skills? Without directly diving into “money-talk,” there are plenty of fun ways to engage your children in picking up money lessons through different daily activities.

Babycenter lists Top 10 fun ways to teach your child the value of money which include going to yard sales, visiting the bank and shopping at a farmer’s market.

Also, allowing kids a peek into the grown-up world of financing may not be eye opening and not overwhelming when done correctly. According to this article by a bank in Iowa, Summer Money Lessons for Kids, part of teaching kids about money is being open and honest when discussing financial experiences.

What better way to keep the young ones interested than playing games? For younger children, WhatToExpect suggests these 7 Games That Teach Kids About Money, for older kids who might enjoy the fun and excitement of monopoly or similar board games, here’s a list by CheatSheet of 7 Board Games That Help Kids Understand Money.

There are tons of other activities that could keep the kids involved, like DIY projects and pretend play, you can check out this list from for fun and unique ideas, helpfully labeled with which grades benefit most from each activity.

Teaching money skills to younger kids takes a bit of bravery, but keep in mind that young minds are noticing everything, from what parents and other family members spend money on, to what they hear when people discuss finances and money choices. Model good behavior and use these and other tools to help your child soak in positive lessons about money this summer!


Surprising and Creative Ideas for PTA/PTO Fundraising and Membership Success

A school’s parent organization often plays a vital role in providing  students with the best possible academic experience. But organizing special events and enrichment programs requires financing. Here are some excellent resources I found that may help you with fundraising, budgeting and more.

In addition to membership dues and donations collection, throwing a great fundraiser event could be a sure-fire way to generate income and raise your group’s budget. Bake Sales, Movie Nights and Raffles are some of the common fundraising events, but involving ducks, pork bellies and weddings? PTO Today lists these amazingly creative 12 Creative PTO Fundraisers. You might also want to check out their 9 Tips To Increase Fundraising Sales, which offers some surprising ideas.

Arranging a great fundraiser involves gathering up as many members and volunteers you can to help with the event. PTNEWS has 10 Ways to Increase your PTA or PTO membership.

And of course, a successful fundraiser is one that could boast an excellent turnout, check out Increase Event Attendance in 17 Ways also by PTNEWS.   

Finally, if budgeting and money management are new to you, check out this page of basics from PTOideas about making use of the PTO’s financial information in creating a stable budget for your parent group. (Best part: an interesting idea about accepting donations vs. dues.)


Avoid the “Summer Slide” and Make Your Kids’ Summer Educational and Fun

No one enjoys summer more than students.

For younger and older students alike, summer is a time to avoid science projects,  solving math problems, reading textbooks and writing reports or essays. It is the much-awaited period when they can relax, play and simply have fun.

Although it is wonderful for parents to see their kids happily getting the most out of their summer, the months they spend away from school and books could possibly cost them up to three months worth of progress in their studies, research show.  This trend has been coined “The Summer Slide”, which, aside from its name, is definitely no fun.

The Summer Slide has been a cause of dread for parents and teachers, and because of that, many  have worked on ways to keep kids learning during the summer break.

One of the most obvious and effective ways to encourage learning throughout summer is reading. But how can we motivate children, especially the young ones, to even pick up a book during the days when they would rather be running around outside or sitting in the living room playing video games?

According to Dr. Kimberly’s post about summer reading, “Children don’t just need books... they need the right books. “ She explains that providing children with books that match their skill levels and interests is an important first step. And here are her 13 Ideas for How Parents Can Encourage Summer Reading.     

An elementary school principal named Principal Howell expands more about the importance of summer reading in his blog. He also has a few additions to how summer slide can be prevented through other activities, including Minecraft which he says “is not only exciting to children” but also “provides them with collaboration and problem solving skills”. Check out Principal Howell’s list here: Prevent “Summer Slide!”

Once you have the ideas and tools of keeping your children reading throughout summer, how about sneaking in a little math and science too? Parents and tutors Heather and Rachelle have some tips on How to Avoid the Math and Science Summer Slide. And while we’re on the subject, you might also want to get some ideas from blogger Caroline’s list of 15 Fun Ways to Stop the Deadly Maths Summer Slide.

Lastly, parents would love to have their kids put their tablets, phones and other gadgets aside and steer clear of video games, but what’s your take on educational apps? If you are all for it, Teacherswithapps has listed 20 Tips to Ward Off Summer Slide and suggests 10 Apps to Prevent the Summer Slide.

Summer break is for kids to enjoy and have fun, but who says they can’t still continue learning while doing so?


[Brad Zupp and Simply Sensible Entertainment, Inc. are not affiliated in any way with the linked articles or companies and are not responsible for errors or opinions discussed. The links to articles, blogs and websites have been included as ideas: we trust you will use your own judgement as to the best practices for your kids.]