July 20, 2011
There’s an App for That Child!
Susan Beacham’s company has sold nearly one million of its piggy bank with four slots – for spending, saving, donating, and investing. She has now developed an iPhone application based on the iconic pig.
Children who use the clear blue piggy bank like to watch their money clink to the bottom of one of the four separate sections in the pig’s innards. Beacham has developed an entire curriculum around the four choices. The Money Savvy Pig has been adopted as a teaching tool by more than 200 Chicago public schools and by school systems in Seattle, North Dakota, Europe, and elsewhere.
The idea behind the game app, called “Savings Spree,” is the same: to help children “strengthen the muscle of choice and, therefore, their self-regulation and self-control,” said Beacham, chief executive of Money Savvy Generation Inc., a small, mission-driven company employing four people.
She has nothing against the Angry Birds game that is wildly popular with preschool and grade school kids. But she thinks parents could use their irresistible iPhones or iPads to teach a useful skill. “Savings Spree” has six levels, including earning money and avoiding the temptation to buy at the mall. The game’s goal is to accumulate as much money as possible at the finish line.
Beacham cited one recent study that found that 22 percent of children ages 3-5 prefer games and other electronics over traditional toys.
“I want a piece of that. I want a share of their mind and attention,” she said.