You're never too young to learn fiscal responsibility

Treasury Direct Kids provides children with simple explanations of financial terms, games and cartoons.

The Treasury Department's Bureau of the Public Debt launched an interactive website on Monday to teach young children fiscal responsibility.

"[The] kid's site was launched so we can reach the children and teach them about how to save money and the value of savings bonds," said Lateefah Thompson, a public affairs specialist at the bureau.

The website, TreasuryDirect KIDS at treasurydirect.gov, is written in terms a child can understand and answers such questions as "What is debt?" (Answer: "If you've borrowed money from friends, family, or anyone else and promised to repay them, then you are 'indebted' to pay it back. This is called 'debt.' ")

The site also has a catalog of poster ads and public service announcements from the 1940s to the 1990s that were used to encourage people to buy savings bonds.

Treasurydirect.gov features games such as Save Perry's Pennies, in which users must race against the clock to capture coins. The games are a way to keep kids' attention while allowing them to learn fiscal concepts at the same time, Thompson said.

Bureau officials intend for educators to use the site to teach lessons on financial literacy. "The website is an excellent tool to begin the dialogue with young people about making smart decisions about saving and investing," said Public Debt's Commissioner Van Zeck in a prepared statement. "If reached now, young Americans can be better prepared for their financial future."