Investing and Kids: Kid-Friendly Companies to Study in a Mock Stock Market Portfolio

Updated on April 28, 2018
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Carolyn worked as a technical writer, software user interface designer, and as a gig writer way before it was hip.

Selecting companies kids are familiar with can enhance their stock market learning experience.
Selecting companies kids are familiar with can enhance their stock market learning experience. | Source

It Is Easier Than Ever to Teach Kids and Teens About the Stock Market

Learning about stock market investing can be a tremendously enjoyable experience for kids when they use kid-friendly companies in a mock stock portfolio. Whether students are elementary-aged or teens, choosing companies that students are interested in will make the study of investments, investing, and economics a more relevant and even life-altering experience.

Follow the performance of these stocks by creating a mock stock portfolio using stock simulation software. This is remarkably easy to do using websites such as Marketwatch and Yahoo finance, where you can track the performance of the stocks in a portfolio using their free software. You do not actually have to purchase shares of stock in a company in order to use stock portfolio monitoring software, which opens up an excellent opportunity for teachers to guide children in a hands-on learning experience that will simulate buying stocks and watching them perform in the stock market.

After kids create their portfolio accounts, students can simulate buying and selling stocks in publicly traded companies on the New York Stock Exchange, the NASDAQ, and other stock exchanges. Here are 25 companies that make products and services that are well-known to kids.

Familiar products from home can be a springboard to help kids learn about the companies that manufacture them.
Familiar products from home can be a springboard to help kids learn about the companies that manufacture them. | Source

Lunch Box Stock Tickers

Company Name
Stock Ticker Symbol
Stock Exchange
General Mills
Tootsie Roll
Coca Cola
Kraft Heinz Co
Look no further than your lunch box to find companies to study the stock market. Once you know a stock's ticker symbol, you can find charts, graphs, and articles about these companies on a number of sites.

Kid-Friendly Corporations in the Lunchroom

Kids need to look no further than their lunch box to start off their stock market experience. Chances are, kids aren't bringing cans of Pepsi to school, but the ginormous seller of this popular brand of soft drinks also makes many of the snack items kids eat daily. Pepsico (PEP) is a conglomerate food and beverage company and owns these well-known and popular products and brands: Frito-Lay, Sunchips, Pepsi, Aquafina, Ruffles, Doritos, Tostitos, Lay's, Rold Gold, Ruffles, and Gamesa (a popular cookie brand for the Mexico market). And if kids aren't eating Pepsico foods for lunch, then try breakfast: it also owns the Quaker brand Life cereal.

Speaking of cereal, General Mills (GIS) is the big daddy of cereal brands, but this company behind the Box Tops for Education program is the world's largest food company, according to their corporate website. Kids will recognize Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Gold Medal flour, Bisquick, Progresso soups, Haagen Daz ice cream, and a slew of other food products that are probably at home in pantries.

Another place to look for kid-friendly companies is in their Halloween candy. Tootsie Roll Industries, Inc. (TR) sells a surprising number of well-known candy brands, including Tootsie Rolls, Childsplay, Charms, Blow-Pop, Sugar Daddy, Sugar Babies, Junior Mint, and several others.

Another candy-maker, The Hershey Company (HSY) sells chocolate bars, chewing gum, toppings, and baking goods. This is another conglomerate company in the consumer goods category and is one of the stocks tracked on the Standard and Poore's 500 stocks. Other companies in the food and beverages category include Coca-Cola (Ko), Kellogg's (K), and Kraft Foods (KFT).

Kid-Friendly Corporations at the Drive-Thru

The drive-thru is another place to find companies for your stock market study. Start with the big daddy of them all, Mickey Dees!

McDonald's (MCD). This multi-billion dollar company is perhaps one of the most well-known brand names in existence. The golden arches are well-known for their burgers and fries, but they are also an innovative company with a strong business model. This company has grown both domestically and internationally, and is well-known for its business model of being not only in the food business but also in "real estate." Overseas McDonalds serves cuisine that appeals to the local clientele, which means a diverse, global menu. This company has also used innovative ideas such as indoor play areas and extra services such as free Wi-fi for its customers.

For variety, you may want to veer away from burgers and fries. If you do, you might consider YUM! Brands (YUM), with over 37,000 restaurants is the worlds largest restaurant company. while you may not recognize this company immediately, you will probably recognize its restaurants: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, Long John Silver's and Kentucky Fried Chicken. What makes this company interesting to follow is its international growth. While it is headquartered in Kentucky, YUM!'s real growth story is overseas. This is a hot stock and one that will be fun for kids to follow.

With electronics playing a huge part of kids' and teens' worlds at younger and younger ages, all the companies that make devices and gaming consoles are fair game for a stock market simulation.
With electronics playing a huge part of kids' and teens' worlds at younger and younger ages, all the companies that make devices and gaming consoles are fair game for a stock market simulation. | Source

Tech Stock Tickers

(click column header to sort results)
Company Name  
Stock Ticker  
Stock Exchange  
Electronic Arts
Activision Blizzard
Nintendo Co.
Pink Sheets OTC
NXP Semiconductor
Tech stocks are an interesting bunch and will be especially interesting to teens and older kids who are already on the bleeding edge with cell phones, sandbox-style video games, robotics, vlogging and new technologies that are a mainstream part of li

Companies for Tech-Savvy Kids

Kids spend more time on their computers, video games, and other various electronic devices than anyone could have ever imagined a decade ago. Some kids are completely immersed in the experience of the digital age. So here are some kid-friendly companies from the digital realm.

A tech-centric study of the stock market could start with the big 5 tech companies. These stocks are so strongly influential among top investors and mom and pop investors alike, that they have their own acronym! If you haven't already heard of FAANG stocks, these refer to Facebook (FB), Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Netflix NFLX, and Google (GOOG or GOOGL). Will FAANG stocks still be taking a bite out of the marketplace in ten years?

The maker of the iPad, the iPod, and the iPhone is a strong candidate for your list of stocks to watch. Apple (AAPL) has been in and out of the news since Steve Jobs went head to head with Bill Gates during the mid-90s. Kids nowadays probably won't remember this history. Now that's old news but the success of Apple a second time around is an amazing example of a company that takes creativity, innovation, and risk-taking to new heights.

Apple is the comeback kid. After the passing of its visionary leader Steve Jobs, investors are asking, will Apple continue to innovate and compete in the marketplace? Apple is an interesting company to keep an eye on.

Ten years ago, cell phones were leading edge technology innovators. Now they are mainstream, though innovation is still happening at lightning speed. You might want to compare and contrast cell phone companies as a point of comparison. How do companies like Nokia (NOK), AT&T (AT&T), Apple (AAPL), and (NXPI) Semiconductors all contribute to the cell phone market?

What about the maker of the popular Wii gaming console? This video game console revolutionized gaming by integrating a kinesthetic experience into video game play. As Wiis are no longer tops in gaming consoles, will their parent company Nintendo compete with the next latest thing? How are they doing? Nintendo America is a privately held subsidiary of Nintendo Co. Ltd. (NTDOY) based in Japan. In fact, Nokia and others are international companies not headquartered in the US, so keep this in mind if you want to limit your selection of companies to American ones trading on the New York Stock Exchange and the NASDAQ.

Speaking of video games, don't forget that Microsoft (MSFT), the company that makes office spreadsheet and cloud computing software, also own XBOX brand video gaming consoles, and they are heavily involved in the Artificial Intelligence sphere. Sony PlayStation and Nintendo brand gaming systems in living rooms across the world point to an industry where new gaming consoles constantly compete for dominance in the financial marketplace. The performance of these three heavy-hitting video game Goliaths as the products compete for market dominance makes for engaged learners and interesting high-level discussions about the relative strengths and weaknesses of the different companies.

Now that the gaming systems are covered, there are also a host of video games to consider. Well-known video game makers include Electronic Arts (ERTS) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI). These companies make video games for several video gaming systems which is a risk-management technique. And what about Minecraft? The popular sandbox game invented by Swedish programmer Markus Persson? He is now a billionaire because Microsoft bought his company for around 2 billion dollars in 2014. That's billion, with a "B".

And we haven't even tapped the robotics, artificial intelligence, or automated car movements.

Classic board games like Monopoly will always appeal to kids and teens. Hasbro has these classic toys and many popular toy brands, such as Nerf. Hasbro and Mattell are interesting companies for kids to study in a Stock Market Portfolio simulation.
Classic board games like Monopoly will always appeal to kids and teens. Hasbro has these classic toys and many popular toy brands, such as Nerf. Hasbro and Mattell are interesting companies for kids to study in a Stock Market Portfolio simulation. | Source

Toy Box Stock Tickers

Company Name
Ticker Symbol
Stock Exchange
The two juggernauts of the toy industry are listed above with their stock symbols. But what about other popular toy companies like LEGO and Melissa and Doug? These companies are privately owned.

Kid-Friendly Companies in the Toy Box

What better place to find kid-friendly companies than in the toy box? Chances are that kids who are studying the stock market are too old for some toys, but toys are a surefire product with a strong familiarity quotient, especially for kids with little brothers and sisters.

Choose makers of popular toys and games that are current crazes. For example, Hasbro makes Littlest Pet Shop toys, a line of collectible bobble-head animal figurines with tiny accessories that appeal strongly to preteen girls. Hasbro also has Strawberry Shortcake, GI Joe, Tonka, and My Little Pony. Hasbro makes Clue, Sorry, and Hi-Ho Cherry-O, and owns the brands for Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers (Monopoly, anyone?)which are in the top 10 best-selling board games of all time. This toymaker does a 6 billion dollar business with its products and licensing agreements with Electronic Arts, a maker of video game products.

Mattel (MAT) is a toy stock with so many well-known name brands that kids will keep coming back to this company as one to watch in their stock portfolio. Just a few of Mattel's popular brands include Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels, Polly Pocket, Matchbox, and Batman, Sesame Street, and High School Musical.

What about Cepia LLC, the maker of Zhu Zhu pets? Sorry, this is a privately owned company and isn't publicly traded on the stock market. But I'd keep my eyes on this one. Who knows? Maybe this company will be bought out by one of the bigger toymakers.

The trendy fashions that teens crave can be a source of inspiration for learning about investing. Nike has been a top performing stock and is featured in the Fortune 500 and the Forbes 50 list.
The trendy fashions that teens crave can be a source of inspiration for learning about investing. Nike has been a top performing stock and is featured in the Fortune 500 and the Forbes 50 list. | Source

Kid-Friendly Stock Tickers From the Mall

Company or Brand
Stock Ticker
Stock Exchange
Under Armour
Abercrombie and Fitch
Sears Holdings
Children's Place Retail Stores Inc.
OTC Pink Sheets
Build A Bear Workshop
Retail shopping can be the inspiration for a stock market study. Popular name-brand clothing and favorite entertainment brands like Disney and Build A Bear Workshop are a good place to start with preteens.

Kid-Friendly Companies at the Mall

A favorite hangout of the preteen crowd during the cold winter months here in Iowa is the local mall. This shopping mecca holds lots of possibilities for your young stock entrepreneurs. And if the mall isn't inspirational, then just take a look at what kids are wearing. Hot name brands may go head to head with low-cost retailers. Under Armour (UA) and Nike (NKE) are brands that immediately come to mind. Which one will perform the best?

Which is performing better at the mall? Abercrombie and Fitch's (ANF) high-priced designer clothing versus the diversified offerings of Sear's Department Stores owned by Sears Holdings (SHLD) which not only sells kids' clothes, but snowblowers and automobile tires and bedspreads? The answer may surprise you. Why is one doing better than the other?

What about retailers that market specifically to elementary-aged kids? Companies in this category include Children's Place Retail Stores Inc. (PLCE), Gap Stores, including Baby Gap and Gap for Kids (GPS), and The Gymboree Corporation (GMBE). At the most recent writing of this article Justice stores were owned by a private company, Tween Brands.

Maybe it's entertainment you are looking for at the mall. Check out Disney (DIS) and Build-A-Bear Workshop, Inc. (BBW) store. As you study these companies, ask kids if online shopping is helping or hindering the investment future of these retailers?

© 2011 Carolyn Augustine


Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    3 years ago

    I just love it! thanks

  • wannabwestern profile imageAUTHOR

    Carolyn Augustine 

    8 years ago from Iowa

    Go for it Truckstop Sally, and thank you Penny Stocks for the complimentary remarks!

    This is a favorite topic of mine!

  • Truckstop Sally profile image

    Truckstop Sally 

    9 years ago

    So many great ideas! Kiddos truly don't understand money - how to make it, lose it . . the value of earning/working. I would love to expand my economics unit to include some of your resources. Thanks!

  • susansisk profile image

    Susan Sisk 

    9 years ago from Georgia, USA

    Great ideas! When kids grow up learning about the stock market, then they won't be afraid of it when they are adults.

  • Hello, hello, profile image

    Hello, hello, 

    9 years ago from London, UK

    A well organised and informative hub.

  • Simone Smith profile image

    Simone Haruko Smith 

    9 years ago from San Francisco

    Wow, what a fun concept! Thanks so much for writing this Hub!


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