How many days until break?  And will you survive until then? Distractions in the classroom can abound for teachers in December, near spring break and as summer looms. Whether you need a quick resource to combat fidgety students or fill in time before the big program, we’ve got your back.  Use our quick and easy activities to keep students on track - saving you time but still ensuring they're learning.

Easy Elementary

  • Do a scavenger hunt in class to identify different types of resources. Use our Fifty Nifty cards online to provide definitions.
  • Help students learn "money morals" through the Financial Fables e-books and emphasize building reading skills. (Younger students can watch the narrated version). Need even easier? Download the coloring sheets for each story!
  • Be aware and compare: supply holiday toy ads from two stores to compare prices on the hottest toys.  Have students make lists of four toys at their lowest prices and do the math to figure how much was saved on each.
  • Students can draw a cartoon about a time when you experienced either a buyer's high or buyer's remorse after a purchase. In the panels, have them show the purchase, how the purchase made them feel and what they might do differently in the future.
  • Ask students to design the "Market of the Future" by drawing a blueprint of their dream store. Have them include basic food departments and cashier areas, and then add original areas to make their market unique.
  • After assigning classroom jobs (i.e. line leader, paper passer, etc.), provide students with the opportunity to trade jobs with others. After trading is completed, discuss the students' reasons for their trades, making a list of the costs and benefits of each job during the discussion.
  • Create a map of the neighborhood surrounding the school. Have students add the names of businesses in that area to the map, as well as what good or service they sell. Ask students to suggest other businesses that would complement those already in the neighborhood.
  • Play "Econ Bingo" after reading directions and downloading bingo cards and sample money from the Fifty Nifty Econ Cards website. Award $5 of play money for each bingo during the game. Let winning students use their income to purchase incentives you have supplied.
  • Read Bunny Money by Rosemary Wells. Use our children's literature lesson plan to discuss the topic of short and long-term savings goals.
  • Weather conditions can create shortages. Have students work with a partner to make a list of hardware and department store items that might be in short supply during a snowstorm (snow blowers, shovels, gloves, hats, etc.). Pantomime the use of each item for the class to guess.

Managing the Middle

  • Ask students to inventory their personal assets and liabilities and develop a graphic organizer with their results. Have them rate their personal financial situation as great, okay or needing improvement. Tell them to write three goals for their financial health in the next year.
  • Before buying clothes or shoes, consumers should consider several features, such as price, quality, fit, style and comfort. Discuss and rank these features with students to see which ones are most important to them in making a purchasing decision.
  • Change the lyrics of a popular song so that they now convince someone to keep their liabilities low for better financial health.
  • Entertainment purchases can be a budget downfall. Brainstorm a list of 10 budget-friendly ideas for family entertainment that cost $5 or less.
  • Research Mattel, Hasbro or other toy companies to see how they determine what toys to produce and supply to retail stores. Use the information they find to predict what toys might be popular in 2020.
  • "You Can't Always Get What You Want" by the Rolling Stones is a classic rock song that refers to wants and needs. Brainstorm a class list of other songs on the topic of wants and needs.
  • Ask students to compose a story about becoming an entrepreneur, including the name and type of their new business and a description of the capital and human resources they'd need.
  • Ask the class to brainstorm ways they could spend $10. List ideas and ask them to narrow it down to one, since the class has only one $10 bill. When there is disagreement on which one, discuss that the scarcity of the money to be spent forces us to make choices.
  • Help them "Downsize Your Debt" with our "Dangerous Pet" PowerPoint. Discuss the importance of using credit wisely.

Handling High School

  • Are students wise about credit? Learn about developing good credit by reading the Kansas City Fed's Common Cents article "Laying the foundation for responsible credit use." Take the Get a Credit Clue quiz to see if they are credit worthy.
  • Debate the importance of producers using social media, such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, to get the attention of consumers in order to sell their products.
  • The launch of the Air Jordan retro basketball shoe sale caused long lines, fights and store closings across the United States. Discuss the concepts of supply and demand in this situation. Ask students to give reasons why these shoes sold out, even though their retail price was $180 a pair.
  • Listen to one of the podcasts from Does College Matter?  Discuss the topics within the podcast as a class.
  • View a short clip depicting a bank run from the movie, It's a Wonderful Life. Describe in a paragraph or two how depositors make poor decisions when they fear their bank is failing.
  • Choose a publicly-traded company, such as Amazon (AMZN), and follow the price of that company's stock each week for a month. Report whether the price has increased or decreased during that time, and provide a recommendation on buying the stock.
  • Watch a No Frills Money Skills video from the St. Louis Fed. Use the classroom discussion questions to review financial concepts.
  • Share a Personal Finance 101 Chat from the St. Louis Fed. Ask students to list all the financial concepts they read in the chat dialogue and discuss. 

Find the Perfect Easy Activity for Your Classroom

If these activities don't meet your needs, search by grade level or concept on our website, especially looking at search results for "teacher tips."

Want even more? Visit our national website to search hundreds of available resources at www.federalreserveeducation.org.

Connect with us

Do you have creative quick activities that you've done and want to share? If so, share them with us via email, and we might use them in a future edition of our Teacher Talk Planner.

Sign up to receive economic education information and resource updates.