Pretend Play

I remember vividly as a child having full creative reign over my playtime.  I had a massive art table in our unfinished basement where I would pretend play for hours.  I had a card-making business and people would call in their card orders or use our ‘drive thru’ window.  I had an order notepad and checklists and all. I loved this kind of play and I love that Yianni is getting to the age where he gets so excited playing ‘pretend’.

He loves animals so naturally the first ‘pretend’ play we did was the animal hospital.  He was the doctor and I was the dog mama.  We’d play the same rotation and script over, and over, and over again – his excitement never wavering.  His other obsession at the moment is anything related to the movie Cars. We’ve acquired quite the collection over the last few months and he knows each one by name, and by movie (Cars 1, 2 & 3).  I’ve never ‘pushed’ anything on him, I like observing and seeing what he’s naturally drawn to and then nurturing that.

All this got me to thinking of some new intentional learning to incorporate to his playtime.  His favourite place at the moment is the grocery store (I’m not kidding).  He asks everyday if we can go and I can never go shopping without him.  It’s fun and it’s become our little outing we do for the two of us.  Also, toddlers remember EVERYTHING, without fail he remembers at least 2-3 things I forget that I needed when we go grocery shopping.

I wanted to start making him understand how we buy and pay for things.  From making him to wait until we pay before he opens a new toy to understanding the value of money in a positive way.  I noticed that since his birthday he assumes toys and gifts would come everyday and kept asking for more and more surprises.

I ordered this inexpensive cash register toy so we could start pretend playing grocery store in our home.  I’ve started to gently explain that we need to pay for things before we eat or open them.  I see his interest peaking and saying “don’t forget your money mama!”.  We count the money, and practice numbers and listing the foods we like and don’t like.  He’s three, so that’s about the extent of it but I do feel good knowing we’re being a bit more intentional with some of his playtime.

As we’re transitioning to this new stage of parenthood Ko and I have been discussing how we hope to instill good values and a good relationship around money. It’s a conversation I’m glad to be starting now so we can brainstorm ways as he grows up to respect and understand the value of a dollar and hard work.  Both Ko’s parents and mine instilled a solid work ethic from a young age which we are both extremely grateful for.

Since becoming parents we’ve been doing everything we can to ensure we’re setting them up to succeed. Part of that means having RESP’s set up to help save for their post-secondary education faster.  When Yianni was born we set up his and now that Georgia is here hers has also been set up.  You can contribute any amount to an RESP, subject to a lifetime limit of $50,000 per beneficiary. You can contribute to an RESP for up to 31 years, and the plan can remain open for a maximum of 35 years. You can also be eligible to take advantage of government grants and bonds – such as the Canada Education Savings Grant, which matches 20% on the first $2,500 contributed annually, to a maximum of $500 per year, which can add up to a maximum of $7,200 per RESP beneficiary up until they are 18.

Our goal is to max out their RESP’s every year. RBC has lots more information about RESP’s, how they work and your options for investment. Click here to learn more.

Something else we’d like to do is open up a bank account for Yianni.  RBC has the Leo’s Young Savers Account and it’s designed for people under the age of 17.  There are no fee’s attached and it’s a perfect first bank account.  If you give kids an allowance and want to do it digitally you can easily set up automatic transfers for free.

We’re not pros on this topic when it comes to the ‘right’ way to parent.  So far we’re going off of instincts and what we feel works best for Yianni’s personality.  Sometimes I think a concept will be too advanced for him to understand and he picks it up right away and understands the logic behind it.  I hope we can instil good habits and a good mindset around money for our babies!

This was a quick article form my friends at RBC which we really enjoyed and found helpful.  I wanted to share it with all of you as well in hopes it will inspired and spark some of your own ideas.

ABC’s of Family Finance

Here are some tips from RBC about the ABCs for helping children learn about money and the importance of saving:

  • A is for adding up: Pick a savings goal and create a family plan. Whether you’re putting cash in a jar or saving digitally, children of any age will benefit from a visual aid about how money adds up over time. And help older children create a budget for their allowance or earnings from part-time employment so they can help contribute to the savings. Add in a charitable donation, consider building towards a fun day trip – find ways to get children excited about the final result.


  • B is for bank account. Take your children to your local bank branch to open up a young savers’ bank account so they can learn how it all works and how to save. As your children get older and their bank account needs change, branch staff can explain how decisions made today can impact their longer term goals.


  • C is for cash. As a family learning exercise, use real money to teach your children about household expenses. A great example is groceries: if you take your child grocery shopping with you, they inevitably ask for extra items that are not on the list – or not within budget. Show them what your overall grocery budget is with cash and help them learn how all the small items add up. Take it one step further and talk about how spending over or under the allotted amount impacts your overall household budget.

This post was created in collaborations with RBC.  I’ve been an RBC client since I opened my first bank account at 12, proud to be a partner with them.  Thank you for supporting the brands that make this blog possible.