Good name for therapeutic play money?
April 21, 2005 9:52 AM   Subscribe

My mother works with underprivileged and at-risk teenagers and wants to use play currency in group therapy. I'm supposed to be 'the creative one' but I'm having a hard time coming up with anything that would be suitable and work for everyone involved.

The kids are 12-17; male and female; mildly mentally retarded and genius. I have a soft spot for these kids because they are, for the most part, good kids who sort of got left behind--by parents who are dead, addicts of one variety or another, incarcerated, and so on.

I can handle the photoshopping and printing, but the core concept isn't coming together for me. I would like the name of the currency to be cool, not insulting, and somehow indicate that an accomplishment was made in the session.

The organization has the word 'river' in its name, if that helps, though that doesn't have to be part of the currency name. The best I've come up with is "RiverBling," so obviously I need help. :>
posted by littlegreenlights to Society & Culture (16 answers total)
 
"American" Tire Money? :-) [Rest assured, this stuff is positively famous in Canada]

Plus you get to throw a little bit of fun education into the mix explaining where the name comes from.
posted by shepd at 9:56 AM on April 21, 2005


Alternative currencies might give you some inspiration... there are LETS schemes that use currency units like Stones, Shells, Pebbles. Or maybe a simple [Local landmark] Dollar?

If you look around on Ebay, you'll find some novelty banknotes - they're incredibly tacky, but maybe photos of group members or celebrities would work.
posted by Leon at 10:20 AM on April 21, 2005


How many kids are there? Perhaps, in place of the traditional Famous Dead Patriot, you could use pictures of them. Maybe in order of youngest to oldest.
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:38 AM on April 21, 2005


RiverRock. Denominations like Leon says more or less: sand, pebble, stone, rock, boulder. You can do all sort of good graphic concept stuff with "Rock!" in the name, and the denominations with their naturally gradiated sizes won't be too hard to grasp. Alternately you can use other natural rock-type things that have increasing value: coal, granite, quartz, gold, diamonds which allow you more room with illustration and already have some level of "value" associated with them.
posted by jessamyn at 10:42 AM on April 21, 2005


You're missing the most obvious solution. Have the kids design the currency. Great group project, and it will have more value to them. I taught art for many years, and it's like pushing a swing. The kids do the work; your job is to pat them on the back at just the right moment.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:46 AM on April 21, 2005


You could just hit your local Dollar Store and pick up a few million bucks worth of play money for a song.
posted by caddis at 11:21 AM on April 21, 2005


jessamyn...you were on the right track, but instead of rocks...do rivers.
you could do spring, brooks, creek, stream, river. (ascending according to size/denomination)
posted by ShawnString at 11:26 AM on April 21, 2005


I absolutely agree with weapons-grade panedemonium. I used to be a teacher and in fact used this kind of thing with my classes. They will be much more invested in it if they feel a sense of ownership over the design. Maybe you could lead a workshop for them to generate ideas and then go home and make it happen with you photoshop and printing skills. Or if they're generally not together in group sessions, make a survey thingy with room for the kids to even draw their ideas if they like and have your mom pass them out at each session, and you can work from that.
posted by lalalana at 11:30 AM on April 21, 2005


Clams. Then, they could cash them in for the real thing at a New England Clam Bake. Mmmm.

Quid, like British fiction.

Name them after river-dwelling fish. Then, they could... nevermind.
posted by kc0dxh at 12:19 PM on April 21, 2005


Chocolate Coins? Candy necklaces & bracelets if you want to go the trade bead route.
Also I once spent a week at a resort in Jamaica where everything was paid for with Pop Beads that we wore around our necks, arms or ankles.
posted by BoscosMom at 12:42 PM on April 21, 2005


If you have a chinatown nearby, head down and pick up some Hell money. There are lots of different varieties, most with really intricate and fun graphics. Should be cheap too.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:06 PM on April 21, 2005


I like the "make it yourself" idea, but if you decide not to, Zarf has a set of custom currency for someone to use.

Ok, so it's probably not quite the right fit, but it's a cool link...
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 1:21 PM on April 21, 2005


I did this once. Called them "Dubious Dollars." Because my name is Dan they came to be known as Dan's Dubious Dollars. They were a part of my self-designed behavior modification scheme and were very successful.
posted by NorthCoastCafe at 2:48 PM on April 21, 2005


Animals, by size. I think the coolest real-world currency name is Romanian "lions".

(Dollar just means disc, like sand dollar. What a pathetic name for a currency, and yet so many places use it.)
posted by Aknaton at 4:56 PM on April 21, 2005


(And today I learn that "yuan" means the same thing -- a disc or coin. Blah!)
posted by Aknaton at 9:40 PM on April 21, 2005


jessamyn rocks. So to speak. :>

I haven't ventured down the various denominations path yet--just sent this to see if she likes it--but I think this is going to work. It ended up going in a slightly different direction, but a neat one, I think: first try is here.

Thanks, everyone, for taking the time to answer!
posted by littlegreenlights at 10:52 PM on April 21, 2005


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