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Money Lesson Ideas

        • Look through flyers. What could you buy if you had ______ amount of money?
Make this more challenging by adding decimals, GST/PST/HST, coupons
Ask questions like "How many things can you buy for $5.00?", "How many of one item can you buy for $5.00?", "How many different combinations of objects can you buy for $5.00?"
        • How many boxes of Smarties could you buy for $5.00? What would your change be?


Penny, penny,

Easily spent

Copper brown

and worth one cent.

Nickel, nickel,

Thick and fat,

You're worth five cents.

I know that.

Dime, dime,

Little and thin,

I remember,

You're worth ten.

Quarter, quarter

Big and bold,

You're worth twenty-five 

I am told!

  • Banks: Create a bank out of milk jugs making a slot for the money and keeping the cap on so that the money can be easily accessed. Or make a bank out of paper mache so that money can’t be easily accessed.

  • Coin Rubbing: To familiarize children with the various types of coins, hot glue on construction paper or tag board each coin showing the front and then the back. Write the name of the coin and its value under it. Give children crayons and blank paper to do money rubbings.

  • Coin Patterns: Give each child a sheet of copy paper. Have the children make rubbings using a pencil of a pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. When done with the rubbings have the children add up and write on their paper how much is represented. Make a design on the paper using the coins and rubbing over them. Write on the paper how much money was used to make the patterns.

  • Alexander Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday Activities: Although Alexander and his money are quickly parted, he comes to realize all the things that can be done with a dollar. After reading the story as a group list how Alexander's money was spent and how much each choice cost him. The children then need to calculate how much money Alexander spent and count out the amount he spent in play money. The children will need 2 pieces of paper. Take one paper and cut a square. Glue down 3 sides of the square on the other paper to make a pocket. Children then need to view the priced items in the room. On the paper with the pocket the children make a list of how they would spend a dollar, writing their choices on one side of the paper with what the item cost. They do not have to spend the whole dollar. After completing their list of items they would buy. The children then count out enough paper money for each item on their list and place the paper money in the pocket on their paper. Have children trade papers with each other and count the money in each other's pocket and add up the cost of items bought.

  • Sort Your Coins: Have children put the correct amount of paper coins into the cups. Discuss different combinations of coins for values more than five cents.

  • Coupon Money (Grades 1-2) : Place coupons in a container. Have children draw a coupon from the container. Give each child a paper. The children then glue their coupon on one side of the paper. On the other side of the paper, the children glue play money (coins and/or bills) that would be needed to equal the amount on the coupon. You can have the child draw the amount of money that represents the coupon amount if no play money is available.

  • Clip and Save (Grades 1-3): Give each child an assortment of coupons.

  • For each coupon the child:

  • Will need to show how much money it is worth.

  • How much is saved by using the coupon.

  • Must find at least one item that could be purchased with the savings.

  • Price Comparison: Have the children go to the store and choose items they would like to buy. Find out how much it costs with tax and how many servings it has so you will know how much you need to serve your class. Make grafts on what items are more popular. What cost more by serving and by price. Figure our how much each student would need to bring in to purchase that item for a party. Then at the end of the week have the students by the items.

  • Class Paychecks: Have each child earn class money by doing jobs in the class, keep track of what they earn on a chart. At the end of the week give them a paycheck they can purchase stickers pencils or other cheap items. Talk about other occupations and the concept of wages. Also the concept of hard work earns more can be discussed.

  • Start a Class Checking Account: For every good day assign a Dollar amount they earn. Then have special activities they enjoy that has a dollar amount assigned to them, make some more expensive than others . At the end of the week at circle time talk about the money you have and let them chose the special activity they can afford. They can save up for something really special. Examples, you can have a class walk to someplace special for an item. Or as a big item would be the teacher has to bake cookies to bring in. Figure out what makes your class tick and see what gets them excited. Make sure the figures are posted so they can see money accumulate and grow. You can also talk about overdrafts. It is never too young to learn the cold facts of life.

  • Wish Books: Bring in old magazines and catalogs and let the kids cut out pictures of things they would like to buy if they had lots of money. Have them put each on the paper and find out how much each item costs. Let them pick just a few items. Then have them do the math to find out how much money they would need to purchase all these items. At Holiday time this would be a fun book to give mom and dad for what they want for their special gifts.

  • Calendar Coins : Each morning the calendar helper places the coins up on the tray that equals the money amount for the daily number. You can use the least amount of coins to equal the number. Or have 2 children be the calendar helper and place up on the tray all the ways to get the date. At calendar time the 2 children then explain what they did to the other children.

  • Grocery Store: An adult sets up the products and markes them with prices. Each child is allotted an amount of money to speed. The children will need to count out their money and choose products to purchase. An adult is the cashier. After the children have chosen their products they go to the cashier and count out enough money to purchase their products. The children will also tell the cashier how much change they should receive. After each child has purchased a product they will then take a turn being cashier.


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