Mother and daughter discussing money for the blog: 10 fun ways to give money to kids and teens

Feb 13, 2023

10 fun ways to give money


- Cash is a very practical gift, but you can spice it up by getting creative with how you gift cash.

- Getting crafty is a great place to start by making cash origami, a “money pizza,” or other creative ideas.

- For a truly impactful gift, consider gifting money that can be invested for the future.

Wondering what to give your loved ones as a gift? No matter who you’re thinking about, cash is a gift that’s always appreciated.

Of course, the time-tested envelope of money is sure to bring a smile, but how can you add some personality to the presentation? What are some other ways to give cash gifts that broaden that smile?

Fortunately, there are plenty of fun ways to give money and add even more wow factor to your cash gifts. It just takes a little creativity to turn a practical gift into something exciting too.

This guide will cover creative ways to give money to your loved ones. Most of these suggestions work for just about any occasion, from birthdays to Christmas to graduation gifts for college students.

We’ve included plenty of gift ideas for kids, but also creative ideas for a wedding gift, grad present, or general gift for just about anyone!

Top 10 fun ways to give money 🎁

Fun ways to give money: people holding up gift boxes

The gift of money is a super-practical, super-useful gift. Indeed, it’s one of the only ways to give someone exactly what they want and need because they can use your generous gift to buy exactly what’s on their mind.

For the next special occasion or holiday season, consider these 10 clever ways to give money.

1. Make crafts out of cash

Want to get crafty while also making an awesome gift? Consider various “cash crafts,” like:

  • A money pizza, with bills as “slices” and coins as “toppings.” Use a normal pizza box as the gift box!

  • A diploma made of cash to celebrate a graduation

  • A candy bar made of money

  • A box of chocolates with cash instead of treats

  • A money rosette or money wreath

  • A money cake or donut

  • A tissue box filled with cash instead of tissues

  • A holiday topiary or “money tree” with bills or coins as ornaments

Feel free to get creative here and use your crafting talents to level up your gift-giving! You can find tutorials online if you need some help getting started.

2. Give two dollar bills 

Three 2-dollar bills

Did you know that $2 bills are a real thing? They’re not commonly in circulation, so many people have never seen them before. But the U.S. Mint still produces $2 bills, and you can request them from any bank.

Plus, getting $2 bills as a gift is fun and equally fun to spend. They also have a strange history that will please any history buff to learn about!

3. Create money origami 

Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. If you’ve seen folded paper cranes or other animals and shapes — that’s origami!

For a fun twist, use bills as your “paper” when making origami. You can follow the same step-by-step instructions for standard origami but swap out the paper for bills. One unique option is to create a money lei using origami techniques to fold bills into the flowers. Pro tip: It’s easier to fold cash if you use crisp bills. Just grab these from a bank by just requesting new bills!

4. Wrap other gifts in cash wrappers

If you want to give a thoughtful gift or homemade gift while also adding cash on top, consider using cash as wrapping paper! To do this, you can simply tape bills together into sheets and carefully use the sheets to wrap your gift.

5. Design a treasure hunt

For a great birthday gift or a special treat for a child, consider designing a treasure hunt or scavenger hunt! It’s an engaging and fun way to give money that your kids can really get into! Hide cash gifts around the house or yard, and leave clues to the hidden money’s whereabouts for your child to figure out. You could even draw a treasure map to find buried treasure in the backyard!

6. Gift an investment

mother with her young son and greenlight investing goal

Want a super-practical creative money gift idea? Consider gifting an investment. This makes for a great baby shower gift or gift for young children, as their parents will surely appreciate it!

To do this, you might need to work with the parent to see if they already have an investment account or college savings account set up for the child. 

If they don’t, consider sending them a Greenlight® subscription. Greenlight is a banking* and investment app for kids that helps parents teach their kids about finances, start investing for the future, and more. Learn more about giving a Greenlight subscription here.

7. Create a balloon pop gift

For a fun gift for kids (or, let’s face it, adults too!), blow up balloons and place cash in each of them. Then box up the balloons and wrap them. The recipient can slowly pop each money balloon to learn what’s inside. Fun! It’s literally money confetti!

8. Give gift cards

Gift cards are a simple way to give someone money toward a specific use. It’s also a way to show the recipient that you know what they enjoy while still giving them some freedom to choose what they want to purchase!

You can find gift cards for just about anything, but some fun ideas include:

  • Restaurant gift cards for their favorite food joint or coffee shop (the gift of caffeine!)

  • A gift card for their favorite local small business

  • An Amazon gift card for just about anything

  • A Visa or Mastercard gift card for a general-purpose gift

9. Create a first aid “emergency money” box

For a simple DIY gift with money included, pick up a first aid box and add your own special surprise: A stack of cash! This playful twist on a box of money could be a creative way to give money in general or a way to help someone start their first emergency fund. Look for free printable stock art online to create your kit, and maybe include “in case of emergency” stickers to build on the theme. 

10. Give a virtual piggy bank

Mom and young son on the couch looking at the Greenlight financial literacy app and smiling at his Savings Goal

For the little kiddos in your life, a virtual piggy bank is a great way to introduce the concept of saving. This is one of the best gifts to help start that rainy day fund. And what better way to get started than to preload the virtual piggy bank?

Substitute an actual piggy bank for a virtual one with an easy set-up and extra features!  Plus, when it comes time to spend some of their money, there’s no need to break glass — just swipe away!

The gift of cash can be inspiring✨

Cash is a great gift, and you can make it even more exciting with these unique ways to give money. All it takes is a little creative flair to craft a gift that will truly wow the recipient — while also being super practical!

If you’re gifting cash to a child or teen, think about how your gift could be exciting and beneficial for their future. Contributing to their college savings account, for example, can make a real impact on their future.

Helping a child get started with investing is another great idea to make a real impact while also being a fun way to give money. The Greenlight app is a great place to get started. Greenlight helps kids and teens learn to earn, save, and invest money — all in one place! Try it for one month on us!

*Greenlight is a financial technology company, not a bank. Banking services provided by Community Federal Savings Bank, Member FDIC.

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