For Kids & Teens, Start Early

Virginia Cooperative Extension brings research-based financial education for children to classrooms and community centers in Arlington and Alexandria. Our free programs use hands-on activities to teach children about smart spending. Please contact Aisha Salazar at to request a program in your school.

Kids Marketplace
"We learn how to get ready to be a grown-up"

For Elementary School Students:

Kids Marketplace is a financial simulation adapted for elementary and middle school-aged children. Students receive a job and a monthly income in play money and decide how to spend it at the animal shelter, fun station, grocery store, bank, and other expense stations. Students are encouraged to save a portion of their income and to contribute some to charity.

Reality Store
“I learned how hard it is to decide between what I want and what I need.”
For Middle & High School Students:

It is becoming more important than ever for high school graduates to have sound money management skills and a clear understanding of financial decision making. Reality Store is a simulation in which students receive a hypothetical family situation with a monthly income and are then required to make spending decisions on housing, transportation, groceries, clothing, medical care, entertainment, savings, and other expenses without running out of money or going into debt. This activity has been popular in Arlington and Alexandria middle and high schools.

If you are interested in a Virtual Reality Storelet us know by filling out this form! These classes can be taught through Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or other platforms as needed) and are a great supplement to lessons on finance and money. We can also add a short lesson prior to the activity. Each activity, depending on the class size, can last 1.5-2 hours. Great for homeschoolers, after school programs, nonprofits working with kids, and youth groups as well!

Investing Stock Market Simulation

For High School Students

We offer a stock market simulation in which students who have received several lessons on investing from us pretend to sell stocks to their peers who have not had these classses.

Other Financial Activities

Other Financial Programs For All Ages:

We can organize financial activities for kids of all ages,  using curriculum developed by the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE), Reading Makes Cents National 4-H Curriculum, and FDIC’s Smart Money for Young People, among others, to help students learn about budgeting, saving and investing, goal setting, credit and debt, insurance, career planning, banking, and keeping their identities safe.