What is The Allowance Game
The Allowance Game is a basic math learning game published by Lakeshore Learning. In the game each player assumes the role of kid trying to earn $20 by performing various chores, owning a lemonade stand, or depositing money in the bank. Of course there are lots of things that can keep you from reaching your goal: playing video games, breaking windows, forgetting to do your homework.
The Allowance Game does not require any decision-making except whether to purchase a lemonade stand (depends) and whether to deposit money in the bank (yes). Other than that you are completely at the mercy of the dice roll.
Not that strategy is really the purpose of this game. It provides lots of great opportunities for math learners to practice addition and subtraction, as well as grow accustomed to working with money.
Official Game Description
Whether you’re starting your own business, doing chores around the house, earning interest on bank deposits or spending money at the mall–this exciting game teaches you how to use money and make change. When you do all this and save $20.00, you win the game! So if you’re ready to save, earn and spend a little fun money, simply follow instructions
How to Play Allowance
Each player chooses a color, and then starts with the following:
- Game pawn that starts on Home
- Two chips (for marking lemonade stand and bank deposits)
- $3.00, divided up as two $1 bills, two quarters, three dimes, and four nickels
Designate a banker to be responsible for receiving and distributing money.
Determine who will go first. The rules say to roll a die, and the highest roll goes first. Or, you can allow the youngest player to go first.
Playing the Game
Players take turns rolling the die and moving that number of spaces. Then, he/she must do what the space that land on indicates.
Most spaces will require one of three things:
- Pay the bank money
- Receive money from the bank
- Lose your next turn
There are four special spaces on the board:
- Lemonade Stand
When players land on the bank space, they have the option of depositing $2.00 which is denoted by placing one of their chips on the space.
If a player makes a deposit, they receive $0.50 each subsequent turn when they land on the bank space.
One special thing about the deposit is that players count the $2.00 in the bank towards the $20 needed to win the game.
Note: I like how the game introduces the concept of a bank: a place where you can put your money, allow it to provide you extra cash, and can be used to purchase something once you have saved enough.
The lemonade stand space attempts to mimic the actual thing. The first player who lands on the space may choose to claim the lemonade stand by paying the bank $1. If they do, then that player receives $0.40 from a player each time that person lands on the space. They, however, do not receive any money if they themselves land on the space.
Note: I like the simple concept behind this space. Invest money in supplies, and eventually your investment will pay off.
The mall space is unique in that it is the only space that allows you to roll again after landing on it. Of course, you end up spending a $1 at the mall.
Like Go in Monopoly, passing Home gives you extra money (in this case $3). Also like Monopoly, nothing special happens if you land on the space.
The game ends once a player reaches $20. Remember to count the $2 deposited in the bank.
I love me a good board game. And more than just the basic games like Monopoly, Life, etc. Give me Sentinels of the Multiverse, Pandemic, Legendary, King of Tokyo, Scythe, and the list goes on.
If I were evaluating Allowance relative to these games, then I would rank it pretty low. Allowance is a game entirely dictated by the roll of die with very limited opportunities (none, really) for strategy.
However, Allowance is not meant to be a strategic game. It’s meant to be an educational game. And in that regard Allowance shines pretty well.
We’ve played four or five times so far, and each time my daughter (7 years old) actively participates with counting money. She is learning how to make change and quickly able to select the right coins for a certain amount. She was already pretty sharp on adding and subtracting, but the game keeps reinforcing those skills which I can appreciate.
On top of that, it (in a way) communicates responsibility. Positive rewards for positive actions, as well as negative repercussions for negative actions.
Overall this is a good, family friendly game that can help kids learn or practice their math and money skills.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are the Lose Your Turn spaces?
When you land on one of the Lose Your Turn spaces, you must skip your next turn. The space are:
- Overdue Library Book
- Break a Window
- Forget Your Homework
Should I buy the lemonade stand?
Strategically, the answer in my experience would be no. After a few games, I have yet to see a time when the lemonade stands pays for itself. This happens after the third time of a player landing on the stand.
That said, Allowance is more about learning than winning. For that reason, I think it is important to always buy the stand. This allows for a conversation about what it takes to run a business: you must buy supplies, manufacture a product, and then sell. It takes time to make a profit.
What’s the best spot to land on?
Easy answer: It’s Your Birthday. $5 each time you land on this spot. The winner in every one of our games landed on this spot.
What skills can this game teach?
Primarily, this game can help teach children:
- counting money
- making change with a dollar
- basic business practice
- basic banking
- basic money concepts (can be earned or used to purchase)