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Investing and Kids: 33 Kid-Friendly Companies to Study in a Stock Market Portfolio Simulation

Carolyn worked as a technical writer, software user interface designer, and writes about children's lit, the American West, and investing.

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.

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. Companies familiar to students will make studying investments, investing, and economics a more relevant and impactful experience.

In This Article

Stock Simulators Provide Hands-On Learning

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 simulated portfolio using their free software.

You do not have to actually purchase shares of stock in order to use stock portfolio monitoring software. The software enables 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 in real-time.

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 others.

You don't have to purchase shares of stock in a company in order to use stock portfolio monitoring software.

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

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

Kid-Friendly Food Stocks

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.

Company NameStock Ticker SymbolStock Exchange

Pepsico

PEP

NASDAQ

Grupo Bimbo

GRBMF

OTCMKTS

General Mills

GIS

NYSE

Tootsie Roll

TR

NYSE

Hershey's

HSY

NYSE

Coca Cola

KO

NYSE

Kellogg's

K

NYSE

Kraft Heinz Co

KHC

NASDAQ

Kid-Friendly Corporations in the Lunchroom

Kids need to look no further than their lunch box to start off their stock market experience. If you have school-aged children, you probably haven't escaped the Taki's trend. These wildly popular spicy snack chips are made by Grupo Bimbo (BIMBOA).

Pepsico (PEP) is a conglomerate food and beverage company and owns over 100 well-known products and brands. Some of them are Frito Lay, SUNCHIPS®, Pepsi, Aquafina, Doritos®, TOSTITOS®, Lay's®, ROLD GOLD®, Ruffles®, SoBe, Mountain Dew and many others. 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 the company behind the Box Tops for Education program is the world's largest food company with 50 food brands and hundreds of products. Kids will recognize Pillsbury, Betty Crocker, Larabar, Bisquick, Progresso soups, Häagen-Dazs ice cream, and a slew of other food products that are probably at home in pantries.

Another source for kid-friendly food 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.

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

Starbucks (SBUX), McDonalds (MCD), and Yum! Brands (YUM) are kid-friendly companies can be added to a mock-stock portfolio.

Starbucks (SBUX), McDonalds (MCD), and Yum! Brands (YUM) are kid-friendly companies can be added to a mock-stock portfolio.

Company NameStock Ticker SymbolStock Exchange

McDonald's

MCD

NYSE

Yum!

YUM

NYSE

Starbucks

SBUX

NASDAQ

Kid-Friendly Corporations at the Drive-Thru

The drive-thru is another place to find companies for your stock market study.

McDonald's (MCD). This multi-billion dollar company is one of the most well-known brand names in existence. The golden arches is well-known for burgers and fries, but it is also an innovative company with a strong business model. This international company is known for its business model of being not only in the food business but also in "real estate." Overseas McDonald's adapts its menu to the local patrons, which means a diverse, global menu.

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 world's largest restaurant company. YUM! Brands owns Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, 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.

Starbucks (SBX) is still wildly popular with teens. This company originated in Seattle and has had its ups and downs. Its appeal is high quality, premium products and a "home away from home" atmosphere, product differentiation, and free wifi.

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.

Tech Stock Tickers

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

Company NameStock TickerStock Exchange

Facebook

FB

NASDAQ

Apple

AAPL

NASDAQ

Amazon

AMZN

NASDAQ

Netflix

NFLX

NASDAQ

Google

GOOG

NASDAQ

Gamestop

GME

NYSE

Nokia

NOK

NYSE

Electronic Arts

EA

NASDAQ

Activision Blizzard

ATVI

NASDAQ

Nintendo Co.

NTDOY

Pink Sheets OTC

NXP Semiconductor

NXPI

NASDAQ

AT&T

T

NYSE

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. So here are some kid-friendly companies from the digital realm.

A tech-centric study of the stock market could start with the big five 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 iPhone, Mac Computers, iPads and Airpods 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. Now that's ancient history, but Apple remains a company that takes creativity, innovation, and risk-taking to new heights. With a market cap of over a trillion dollars, Apple is worth a look.

25 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. 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 Nintendo Switch gaming console? 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 (SONY) and Nintendo (NTNDOF) 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.

There are also a host of video game developers to consider. Some corporations to include are Electronic Arts (EA) 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 and Mattell are toy and game companies for kids to add to their simulated stock portfolios.

Classic board games like Monopoly will always appeal to kids and teens. Hasbro and Mattell are toy and game companies for kids to add to their simulated stock portfolios.

Toy and Game Stock Tickers

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.

Company NameTicker SymbolStock Exchange

Mattell

MAT

NASDAQ

Hasbro

HAS

NASDAQ

Kid-friendly Companies in the Toy Box and the Game Room

What better place to find kid-friendly companies than in the toy box? Chances are that kids studying the stock market are too old for some toys, but these toy makers own brands that may surprise teens. Choose makers of popular toys and games that are current crazes. For example, Hasbro makes My Little Pony (still going strong after 20 years!), Littlest Pet Shop, Nerf, Play-Doh, and Transformers, Dungeons and Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering. Hasbro also makes the board games Clue, Sorry, and Hi-Ho Cherry-O, and owns the brands for Milton Bradley and Parker Brothers which are in the top 10 best-selling board games of all time. This toy maker does an 8.5 billion dollar business with its products and licensing agreements.

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®, Matchbox®, American Girl®, and Uno®. This toymaker does a 7 Billion dollar business.

Did you know? Magic: The Gathering is Hasbro's first brand to be valued at One Billion dollars! This gaming phenomenon is popular with teens all over the world.

Did you know? Magic: The Gathering is Hasbro's first brand to be valued at One Billion dollars! This gaming phenomenon is popular with teens all over the world.

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.

Kid-friendly Stock Tickers From the Mall

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.

Company or BrandStock TickerStock Exchange

Under Armour

UA

NYSE

NIKE

NKE

NYSE

Abercrombie and Fitch

ANF

NYSE

Children's Place Retail Stores Inc.

PLCE

NYSE

Gap

GPS

NYSE

Gymboree

GMBE

OTC Pink Sheets

Disney

DIS

NYSE

Build A Bear Workshop

BBW

NYSE

Kid-friendly Companies from the Mall

A favorite hangout of the preteen crowd is the local mall. This shopping mecca holds lots of possibilities for learning about stocks. 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?

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).

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?

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This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2011 Carolyn Augustine

Comments

jagg1973 on May 22, 2017:

I just love it! thanks

Carolyn Augustine (author) from Iowa on August 17, 2011:

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

This is a favorite topic of mine!

Truckstop Sally on March 21, 2011:

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!

Susan Sisk from Georgia, USA on February 12, 2011:

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, from London, UK on January 12, 2011:

A well organised and informative hub.

Simone Haruko Smith from San Francisco on January 10, 2011:

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