New App Teaches Kids About Money Management
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Since its publication in 2003 the Kiddie Coins Kids book series has been committed to the mission of combating financial illiteracy at its earliest stages by educating children on the basics of money management skills. The books have become a staple for financial literacy curriculum in classrooms nationwide. Now, Rogina Smith, author of the series is expanding her platform by launching a Kiddie Coins Kids mobile app, available June 27 for download from the Apple app store and Google Play marketplace to third screens worldwide. Later it will debut on one of the largest screens in the world–a gigantic digital billboard in the heart of New York City’s Time Square.

The app will be based on the same four characters in the book series: Patty Penny, Nicky Nickel, Danny Dime and Quincy Quarter. They encourage children to save their change so they can do great things with it.

Levels are timed and involve everything from grocery store scenarios where players focus on dispensing change to shoppers to Patty Penny maneuvering her way through the park in search of the bank.

“I knew if I wanted to reach today’s youth at the earliest age possible, I had to make their learning fun, interactive and available through new technology,” says Smith who tapped app development giants ZCO, whose clients include Verizon, Samsung and BBC America, to build the Kiddie Coin Kids app.

Smith’s grandkids inspired her to gamify her book series when they kept asking to borrow her phone one afternoon. “My first thought was ‘who do they want to call?’ After getting the phone back, I realized they had downloaded several games onto it from the app store,” recounts Smith. “After that experience with them, I began to take notice of just how many young children, including babies, were mesmerized by iPhones, iPads and other devices.”

Smith, who plans to launch several other educational gaming apps under her new company KCK Games, LLC., also stresses that the game is not just for children. There are multiple levels of play that serve as mental stimuli for adults to keep the mind sharp and enhance memory, math and reactive skills

After working in the financial industry for over 30 years, Smith started a personal professional consulting firm. “I wanted to do something to help kids understand the fundamentals of money management,” explains Smith. “Many youth begin to make connections to money as early as the age of 3. However, 90% of this relationship has to do with spending,” according to the Kiddie Coin Kids website. “This one-sided affiliation with money can lead to, in all likelihood the beginning of a lifetime of poor money habits.”

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Marcia Wade Talbert

Marcia is a multimedia content producer focusing on technology at Black Enterprise Magazine. In this capacity she writes and assigns stories to educate readers about social media; digital integration; gadgets, apps, and software for business and professional development; minority tech startups; and careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). In 2012, she received two Salute to Excellence Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and was recognized by Blacks in Technology (BiT) as one of the Top 10 Black achievers in the tech arena for 2011 at SXSW in Austin, Texas. She has spoken about technology on panels for New York Social Media Week, at The 2012 Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Summit, as well as at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference and Women of Power Summit. In 2011, chose her as one of 28 People of Color Impacting the Social Web, and through crowdsourcing she was listed as one of BlackWeb2.0's/HP's 50 Most Notable African American Tastemakers in Social Media and Technology for 2010. Since taking on the role of Tech editor in September 2010, she has conceived and produced five cover stories on Technology and/or STEM and countless articles, videos, and slideshows online. Before joining as an interactive general assignment reporter in 2008, she freelanced with Black Enterprise beginning in 2003 while working as the technical editor at Prepared Foods magazine. There she further honed her writing skills and became an authority on food ingredients, including ingredients used in food fortification and enrichment. Meanwhile, her freelancing with Black Enterprise and helped her stay current on issues pertaining to the financial and business welfare of African Americans. As a general reporter for Black Enterprise she attended and reported on the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, where she interviewed Valerie Jarrett, senior advisor and assistant to President Barack Obama and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. Marcia has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture with an emphasis in food science from the University of Minnesota, and a Master of Science degree in journalism from Roosevelt University in Chicago. En route to her secondary degree, she served as the editor-in-chief of the Roosevelt University Torch, a weekly, student-run newspaper. An avid photographer and videographer, Marcia is one of several employees at BLACK ENTERPRISE who interned for the publishing company as a college student. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, a food scientist; her seventeen-month-old daughter; and “The Cat”, but still considers Chicago home.