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Financial Literacy and Money Lesson Plans

Heidi Reina, M.S., Ed, is an educational technology integrator and teacher, reviewing free educational websites and apps.

Image courtesy of DQuigley13, under Creative Commons License.

Image courtesy of DQuigley13, under Creative Commons License.

1001 Lesson Plans, Activities and Games on Money and Money Management

Fight financial illiteracy among our kids and teens with these money lesson plans to help them learn to count money, manage money wisely, build financial security, and understand the fundamentals of our economy. Financial literacy is critical to our children's success. According to the 2008 Financial Literacy Survey National Foundation for Credit Counseling, Inc. and MSN Money, and other surveys:

  • Only 59% of young adults, ages 18-21, pay their bills on time.
  • About 69% of parents feel less prepared to discuss with their teens the subject of investing than the birds-and-bees talk.
  • About 54% of college students have overdrawn their bank account and 81% underestimated the amount of time it would take to pay off a credit card balance by a wide margin.
  • About 40% will never gain a net worth of greater than $10,000.
  • The majority of educators were never given a financial education course and feel unprepared to teach the subject.

Money and financial literacy lessons make a difference. Similar studies show that high school students who take a required financial education course have higher savings rates and net worth than students who do not. They participate more in retirement programs and are more likely to create and maintain a budget.

The websites with money lesson plans below provide lots of guidance for teachers and homeschooling parents, too, to become more financially literate, so you can feel more confident teaching money management skills.

Are you financially savvy enough to teach your child or students?

NCTM Illuminations website with lessons on finances and economics for grades preK-8

NCTM Illuminations website with lessons on finances and economics for grades preK-8

NCTM Illuminations

The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics website, Illuminations, has an extensive library of money and finances lesson plans, and lesson plans in economics, incorporating common core math standards. I've highlighted a few below:

  • Primary Economics - Children play consumers and practice counting coins up to 25 cents, save them in a piggy bank, and use them to make small purchases. This money lesson is for children in grades preK-2.
  • Number Cents - In this 6-part lesson, children in grades preK-2 learn about coins and combinations of coins that make equivalent values. They also practice estimating amounts.
  • Money Makers - In this 2-part lesson for kids in grades 3-5, students become real business owners and learn the basics of building a business. They select a location, products, advertise and compete for customers.
  • The Cost of Being Late - Kids learn about the true cost of borrowing vs. teaser rates. Topics include interest rate increases, compounding interest, late fees, minimum payments, and the cost of multiple missed payments. Grades 6-8, middle school.
  • Amazing Profit - Kids explore the profit potential of an online auction using eBay. Students will track actual profit data using eBay and learn about supply and demand. Grades 6-8, middle school.

The Council for Economic Education has also put together an outstanding collection of finance and economics lessons for K-12 on The collection includes video interviews and interactive games. The search feature includes options to view lessons meeting particular state and national standards. Here's a sample:

  • Supply and Demand, Lessons from Toy Fads - Middle school students study a couple of toy fads and analyze and graph the data from them to better understand how prices are impacted by supply and demand.
  • Gen i Revolution - 15 Missions for Building Wealth Over the Long Term - Middle and high school students learn financial skills and compete against each other to help people in financial trouble.
  • "The Giver": Jonas Makes a Choice - Middle school students help this 12-year-old makes decisions using opportunity cost and cost-benefit analysis.
  • Open for Business! - Elementary school students learn how to become entrepreneurs and the types of businesses that produce goods vs. those that provide services.

Fun app game to help kids learn to count coins - For children ages 4-7

Image of banknotes and coin courtesy of n_kamil, under Creative Commons license.

Image of banknotes and coin courtesy of n_kamil, under Creative Commons license.

Money Lesson Plans from Other Sources

Practical Money Skills for Life - There are four lessons for young children in grades preK-2 on understanding the concept of money, making money decisions, and earning and spending money. And there are four lessons for kids in grades 3-6 on handling money responsibly, allowance and spending plans, saving and investing, and comparison shopping. There are 12 lesson for middle school students, and 22 lessons for high school students on making decisions, budgeting, making, saving and investing money, living on your own, buying a house, using credit wisely, cars and car loans, advertising, consumer awareness, consumer privacy, and handling money troubles. To download the lessons and accompanying student activity sheets requires free registration and login to the Practical Money Skills for Life website.

ALEX Lessons on Money and Economics - The Alabama Learning Exchange has 28 lessons for students K-12 on money, finances, and 5 lessons economics. To view lessons for your appropriate age group, select the grade level(s) and search on the keyword "money" or "economics".

U.S. Mint Money Lessons - There are more than 50 lessons for children in grades K-6, focusing on the history of coins, counting coins, and making change. Many of the lessons incorporate science, language arts and social studies.

Money Math: Lessons for Life - Hosted by, this unit is targeted to students in grades 7-9. In these four lessons, teens learn about wealth creation through compounding interest, expenses and budgeting for home projects, calculating income tax, and developing a budget for a college student.

PBS Money Lessons - These 15 lessons for K-12 include the evolution of money, financial markets, making money, and money management, and the cost of college, and 45 lessons on economics. Many of of the PBS lessons incorporate video segments from their shows and online interactives.

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NEFE High School Financial Planning Program

NEFE High School Financial Planning Program

Financial Literacy Lesson Plans for High School Students

NEFE High School Financial Planning Program - I've reviewed this award-winning 7-unit course in personal finance in another post. It is designed for use in classrooms and community organizations, and I highly recommend it.

Successful Investor Project - Designed for 12th grade students by teacher Greg Fisher, this project-based learning curriculum guides students through a series of activities to help them make wise investment decisions. Through the activities, students learn about financial markets, the business cycle, investment objectives, portfolios, risk tolerance, mutual funds, annuities, stocks, bonds, and the tax implications of various investment choices. The curriculum material is hosted on To learn more about project-based learning, read this post.

Building Wealth - These 13 lessons encompass budgeting to save, the power of interest, stocks, bonds, risk and return, entrepreneurship, controlling debt and building good credit. Materials available include an interactive online version, downloadable version, and print copies. There is also a version in Spanish. Hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

Building Your Future - This award-winning financial literacy curriculum consists of 3 booklets each of teacher and student versions that can be downloaded, as well as a limited number of free print copies available for order. There are 13 lessons in savings accounts, checking accounts, credit cards, taxes, loans and interest, home loans, car loans, insurance, bonds, stocks, mutual funds, risk and diversification, and inflation. Authored by the Actuarial Foundation.

MarkeTeach - Students learn about buying and selling stocks on the stock market by creating a class portfolio of stocks in this 10-lesson unit from

Have you used any of these finance or economic lessons?

Sarah Shah from Karachi Pakistan on May 22, 2019:

very nice article. for saving plans ..really interested!!

anonymous on December 26, 2013:

Your article âMoney Lesson Plans for Elementary School Studentsâ is really interesting.

Grangermdk on October 31, 2013:

Such a valuable tool, should be used in all schools, probably for politicians too :)

vehiclefinance on August 22, 2013:

Cool question - and nice responses!

Mobley5 on July 30, 2013:

Really great lens.

anonymous on July 28, 2013:

Great article, very useful.

You may want to visit this site too!

Normyo Yonormyo on July 20, 2013:

Great lens and resource.

RogerBonger on May 11, 2013:

Starting money smarts in school is a necessity not a luxury. I wish it was available when I was in school. Thanks for the great info.

Martha24 on April 08, 2013:

thanks for "Money Lesson Plans for Elementary School Students" i love these articles.

FloridaCarTitleLoans on March 14, 2013:

Siiick info! Great layout, nice coverage of tips. I will def. make use of those money saving lessons, easy to implement!

frugalfinance lm on October 26, 2012:

Great lens, thanks for these tips!

renyou on September 25, 2012:

This is very helpful, great lense!

MyMedsSavingsCard on July 15, 2012:

I'm much good information here. Valuable too!

amberchina on May 24, 2012:

I can't wait to incorporate some of these into my lessons next year. I thought a lot of your ideas would be great for parents and students to try during the summer , so I just featured your lens on "The Best Summer Learning Activities and Projects by Subject". :)

williammdavis on April 17, 2012:

Planning is more important according to my point of view.

Genesis Davies from Guatemala on April 08, 2012:

I haven't started teaching my kids (6 and 5 + newborn) about money with lessons. They are learning as we take them shopping and they play with coins all the time and we pretend to shop from each other, though it's more play than teaching. In the near future, however, our homeschool lessons will involve banking, saving and more.

Teri Villars from Phoenix, Arizona on March 18, 2012:

I wish I had you as a teacher, you make learning fun. Squid Angel blessed.

anonymous on February 13, 2012:

this lens is great!

anonymous on January 10, 2012:

Returning to this excellence for 1001 money lesson plans with some fresh angel dust...what important lessons these are to learn and with your options, also, so much fun....we learn best when we learn with fun!

pbfinance1 on December 22, 2011:

This is an excellent guide. Good work!

baby-strollers on December 18, 2011:

Practical money skills is important for all of us.

sherioz on December 11, 2011:

WOW! This is fantastic. I have a lot to learn.

wolfie10 on November 06, 2011:

awesome lens. lots of good tips here.

AmyTK9 on September 23, 2011:

Thank you for this lens! I've been thinking about this kind of stuff myself on how and when to start teaching my daughter about money. She isn't even born yet! lol, but I want to be prepared and have her grow up with some knowledge on life. I've bookmarked and will be back to read in greater detail! Thanks again!

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on September 17, 2011:

It is important to teach the kids money literacy.

redleafloans on September 08, 2011:

Awesome tips!.. Thank you so much for sharing!...:)

Heidi Reina (author) from USA on September 02, 2011:

@Joan Haines: Excellent suggestion. I've added a link to the Junior Achievement programs to the favorite money lesson plan list above.

Joan Haines on September 02, 2011:

When I teach lessons about money and economics to my fifth graders, they are enthusiastic and engaged. Junior Achievement has an excellent program about the world of work and what career possibilites are out there.

richdadpoordadseminars on August 12, 2011:

I totally agree that we should study financial literacy from childhood. It may really save us from poor decisions and costly mistakes in future.

anonymous on August 11, 2011:

It's important to teach kids about money at an early age. Teachers and parents can use this age-appropriate elementary lesson plan on money to explore counting coins, how currency is used, and money management in kindergarten and beyond.

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anonymous on August 07, 2011:

I vaguely remember working some money lesson with my children when they were young but that was many years ago. We obviously need to learn how to manage money in the US with those statistics you shared. Nicely done once again.

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