Classroom Money Activities

Being responsible with money doesn’t just ensure we can take care of ourselves with saving and budgeting. It’s vital to help us understand how the world works. To prepare for independence and help them become capable adults, children should have a good grasp of money as a concept from primary school.

Money numeracy skills are an essential component of numeracy learning from an early age, but there’s room for improvement across the board in the UK. Just 37% of 7–17-year-olds recall having money numeracy and financial education in school.

So what can we do to ensure those skills are retained early on? Here are some fun and stimulating classroom money activities that will help kids get their heads around finances and build positive associations with counting, saving, budgeting, and planning ahead.

When and how should children start learning about money?

Children start to become aware of money around the age of five, so, in anticipation of this, parents and nursery teachers should begin exposing them to ideas around money from three to four years old. When kids enter reception at five, primary school teachers will begin to introduce money as a concept in numeracy lessons. 

By the time children enter reception, they will likely be able to

  • Recognise coins by their visual differences.
  • Understand that different things cost more or less money.
  • Understand the importance of keeping money safe and of keeping track of how much money they have.

Children will have likely been on trips to the supermarket, toy shops, and cafes where their parents have exposed them to how goods can be acquired with money. They might have learned a little about choices that people need to make (such as choosing food and not having a treat) as a result of budgeting.

Money Activities for Numeracy Lessons


Learning about money will start with counting skills, so some early counting activities using prop money will not only help students to understand denominations but familiarise them with how money looks and the differences between coins. 

Opt for prop money close to the real thing to make these activities more effective. Our role-play coins are approved by the HM Treasury and are highly accurate in size and feature.

Our Coins Class Set includes 750 individual coins of varying denominations, or you can buy individual sets:

Practice money revision with a flashcard Money Fan or put students into groups to use them to test each other.

Simple counting activities can help young children practice and grow accustomed to counting coins and recognising them quickly. Here are some examples

  • Write down a total and have the children count out coins until they reach that total.
  • Write down a total and specify which coins can be used and which need to be saved. Have the children count out coins until they reach a total.
  • Write down a value for the amount of pocket money each child gets and then list the prices of things to buy, such as toys and sweets. Have the children count out their pocket money and figure out how long they need to save to buy certain items.

Our Money Activity Set contains HM Treasury-approved replica notes and coins, flashcards, a dry-wipe piggy bank, and a leaflet with activity ideas to help get kids used to counting money. We also sell simple and easy-to-learn Money Bingo.

Role Playing and Crafts

Pretend shopping

Set up a pretend shop in the classroom with props such as books, toys, and stationery. Attach price tags to all of the items in your ‘shop’. Give each child an equal amount of role-play coins and let them each visit the shop. Encourage the children to buy the most items they can with the budget they have or try to use up all of their money so there is none left over. 

Pop to the Shops is a fun shopping board game activity similar to the above. Suited for children from five to nine, players must race to visit different shops to buy goods on their shopping list. Not only can children practice budgeting and spending money, but they get to role play as the shopkeeper and banker, giving them diverse experiences of how to be responsible for money.

Shopkeeper role-play

Pair students off and assign each pair a shopkeeper and a customer. The shopkeeper can collect some items from around the classroom and write price labels for them. The customer can be given an amount of money in role-play coins. Let the pairs of students practice buying and selling items. The shopkeeper should be able to tell the customer prices, take money, and work out what change is due. The customer should be able to add up the prices of items to determine if they have enough money. 

Make this activity immersive with a Role Play Cash Register and Money that shows kids how a real one works in the shops when they go shopping with their parents.

Holiday planning 

Arrange the class into groups for this activity, where students learn how to plan ahead and prepare to spend money on multiple different things, separating necessities from luxuries.

Prepare a price sheet for the activity that will include the cost of various outgoings, including transport, accommodation, food, activities, and treats. Try to include a mixture of low and high-end options in each category. 

Give each group an equal budget and number of days on holiday. There might also be some requirements to meet like ‘book a hotel’ and ‘transport from the airport to the hotel’. The objective is to plan a holiday within the budget that meets everyones’ needs. 

Students will need to consider how many rooms to book in a hotel, which modes of transport they can take, how many meals they need to account for, and whether they have enough to pay for some fun activities and treats.

For older students, you could adapt this game to be a little more complex by giving out your pricelist in euros and having the groups find out how costs factor into their budget by converting the value to pounds. 

Here are some props you could use to get students into character. 

Make your own piggy bank

Giving kids a sense of ownership and independence is a great way to help them get excited about saving and budgeting with money. Carry out this piggy bank craft activity so each child can take their own piggy bank home and start thinking about saving up. 

An empty 2L pop bottle can be used to create your piggy bank mould. Once you create your piggy bank using the tutorial on Coffee and Vanilla, it can be covered in paper mache and decorated in any way. Give your students a selection of craft materials to decorate their piggy bank and encourage them to be creative and make it special and unique to them.
Classroom activities

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