The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod is celebrating “Teach Children to Save” with savings education online. Established by the American Bankers Association Foundation in 1997, Teach Children to Save and the Foundation’s other financial education initiatives have helped reached 10.5 million young people through the commitment of more than 260,000 banker volunteers. Today, we’re focusing on Needs vs Wants.

What does Needs vs Wants mean?

A need is something needed to survive, such as a good diet, bedroom, or electricity. A want is something that you desire to have, such as a cookie, mansion with swimming pool, or kangaroo for a pet. Click the video to see what happens with The Berenstain Bears go shopping:

Here are two fun coloring pages to help sort out what needs and wants are.

Needs vs Wants Coloring SheetNeeds vs Wants Coloring Sheet

A Tale of Two Brothers

In this lesson, we’ll hear a story about twin brothers. One is a spender, and the other is a saver. The brothers have the same savings goal, but at the end of the story only one reaches it.

Tale of Two Brothers storyTale of Two Brothers story

How did the boys do?

When Todd and Kyle’s parents told the twins they’d have to save half the money necessary to get new snowboards, they suggested Todd and Kyle keep a money journal to track their earnings, spending and savings.  Complete the worksheet below to see where Todd got into money troubles.

money journalTodd and Kyle’s Money Journal

Now, it’s your turn!

In this activity, children will decide which financial decisions are good and which are bad. Print and cut out these “Decision Leaves” and read them together. Some further questions to consider:

  •  What choice needs to be made?
  •  What are the alternatives or options?
  •  How much money is involved in this choice?
  •  Is this an easy decision or a difficult one?
  •  What choice would you make?

Decision Leaves activityDecision Leaves activity

Bonus! Word Search

Wordsearch activityWordsearch activity


Here are additional resources about banking with child-friendly activities and information:

FDIC Smart Money for Young People

PBS Learning Media: Needs vs Wants

Needs vs Wants: How to Budget for Both