One of our neighbors has a basketball hoop in their driveway. I noticed that his kids really enjoy going out there and playing. In thinking that getting a hoop ourselves would maybe help take our kids away from the video games we ponied up this year to get one.

Wow, money well spent. The kids have been asking, "Can we go out and play basketball in the driveway?" a ton and I love it.

As my kids get older, I see that they tend to want to "play" with the things that are right in front of their faces. Did you ever have a child weep and sob over a toy that you wouldn't let them play with? Of course, and you know that on any other day, where that particular toy was not in view, it wouldn't even be a thought in their mind. Have you ever secretly plotted with your spouse to gradually give away (that's PC for throw away) certain toys that you know your kids don't play with anymore? You know, wrap it in a big black plastic bag so they don't catch you in the act of giving/throwing it away.

Money education works the same way. If it is out and visible to your children, it becomes relevant. If it's up in the attic, it probably isn't.

I recently drove my wife Stacey nuts when my father brought over to our house a huge clear jar -- about 3 feet from the floor and 2 feet in circumference -- that I used to keep in my room growing up and add pennies to. I loved finding pennies, only to bring them home and throw them in the big jar to hear the "ching" as they hit bottom.

I agree with my wife, that the big jar has a hard time fitting in with the motif we've tried to assemble from a decorating standpoint. But hear me out.

That jar served as a great learning device for me in my early years. It taught me not to just discard money like we often do with pennies. The jar was a visual reminder of savings to me as I saw the level of pennies rise. I always looked at the penny to see the year and other information on it. All in all, not a bad tool to get me at least thinking about money which is half the battle for our kids.

Out of sight is out of mind. Think about posting money quotes or articles, having a family savings jar, or even a money poster like the ones provided by the Indiana Council for Economic Education at

Being creative around the house is not only educational, it's fun. You can have a family change jar and keep it in the kitchen. At the end of three months, you can decide what to do with that money whether it's going out for ice cream or giving the money to charity.

Keeping financial literacy visual leads to thinking and practice.

Tom Henske is a Westport resident and partner with Lenox Advisors, a wealth management firm. His "Money-Smart Kids" appears every other Wednesday. He can be reached at: