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HomeAcademics & ActivitiesLearning Activities

Needs and Wants

How you can help at home: Explore needs and wants with your child.

By Miriam Myers , GreatSchools Staff

Help your child learn to manage money by teaching her the difference between what one needs and what one wants.

What You'll Need:

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil

Here's How To Do It

Discuss with your child what needs and wants are. Needs are things that a person requires to survive. Needs include air, food, water, clothing and shelter. Wants are things that we would like to have, such as toys and games. Sometimes needs and wants overlap. For example, a person needs food to survive, but he doesn't need ice cream. Discuss how people often want more than they need and how they must choose between what they need and what they can afford. Explain that this does not mean that you should only buy the things that you need, but you should buy what you need before you buy what you want. Explain how people work to earn money to pay for their needs and wants.

On paper, have your child make a T-chart with the heading Needs on the left side and Wants on the right. Have her write a list of at least five needs and five wants. Encourage her to look around the house for items that fit in those categories. Have her explain why certain items on her list are needs and why other things are wants.

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