A Richmond philanthropist, author, and father of two has invented a card game teaching children how to budget, save and share in a fun way. 

Rob Gardener, 40, discovered a gap in the market when he was looking for a game that taught key financial concepts to his daughters, who are 4 and 1. He realised there was nothing out there that was suitable, so decided to invent Silly Monkeys. 

Silly Monkeys teaches four to seven-year-olds critical concepts about money that Rob believes will give them the best chance at being financially secure in the future. The game is based on his book Save Your Acorns and players have to literally save their acorns. 

He wrote Save Your Acorns in 2016 after being unable to find any books for his daughters on the topic.

The aim of Silly Monkeys is to help your squirrel store more acorns than your opponents in a sustainable way and avoid the Silly Monkey that encourages players to eat all their acorns at once. The moral of the game is that if you work hard and save your acorns, you can make sure that when you need resource - i.e. money - you will always have a healthy supply.
Rob said: “Children learn their money saving habits by the age of seven so it’s imperative for us as parents to teach our kids the important lessons - how and why to budget and save - as early as possible. In today’s world of instant gratification children naturally want things right away without thinking about what this means in the long term.

"We need to instigate those crucial conversations early on, and so this immersive game will open up a dialogue between parent and child, and gives kids the opportunity to get to grips with the basics of finance - whilst having fun of course.

"There are two version, a beginners and harder version. I wanted to build a physical game, as everything is on devices now a days. The goal is to get to as many people as possible and hopefully get it into schools. We sold out at the launch last week and already have several orders, so it seems like the reception is good. Most of the people who bought the game were fans of the book, but I'm hoping to get it out to more people and into schools.

"Games are such a powerful way of teaching and thinking."

Silly Monkeys is available from Save Your Acorns for £5, with 30% of each sale being donated to RedSTART, the UK charity dedicated to financial education among primary school children. This charity was founded by Rob to help put young people in control of their finances through impact-measured, classroom compatible lesson plans, and aims to educate 1 million young people about money by 2025.