Help your kids learn about budgeting and using money! This financial literacy activity is great for one child or a group.
Children start with an allowance of $5 in various coins to purchase different items of clothing and accessories for their avatar puppet. They will make decisions and budget their own money, since they won’t have enough to buy every item.
Parents, feel free to assign them a chore or household task to earn this money before you start the activity. Also, depending on their age, children might need a little help counting their money or learning to recognize the different coins.
Six to nine years old
- learn about the different kinds of coins and how to count them
- make financial decisions and a budget
- Templates for the avatar puppet, clothing and accessories, and market prices
- Various coins that add up to $5 for each child, plus more coins for the merchant to use as change
- Glue sticks
- Markers, crayons or coloured pencils
1. Set up the marketplace and a table for children to assemble their avatar.
- Download and print the templates (on card stock if possible):
- Avatar puppet, clothing and accessories (one copy per child)
- Market prices (one copy)
- Cut out the price tags, avatars, clothing and accessories
2. Give each child $5 in various coins.
3. Role play!
You can play the role of the merchant or ask an older child to do it. The job of the merchant is to make sure customers have the right amount of money for each item on sale.
It’s time for the customers to go shopping! Encourage the children to look at all the items first to choose what they really want. Then they should count if they will have enough money to buy it.
Ask them, “What do you really want? Do you have enough money for this?”
Help younger children count their money and ask them to name the coin and its value. Ask older children how much the merchant owes them in change.
4. Create your avatar.
Once they’ve made their purchases, children will create their avatar by decorating it with the clothing and accessories they bought. They’ll need to colour each item and glue it on their avatar puppet.
- Add special objects like pompoms or ribbons to the market. Give them a price.
- Have the children set up their own market by creating new accessories and assigning them a price.
- Consider using a market of treats, activities or small toys for children to use every week. They can earn money by doing tasks or chores and budget to buy special things in their own home or classroom.
- Talk to children about the value of saving for something special.