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Lunch-time! Comparing prices and making a decision

Category: Activities: Local | Age Group: 5-7


How much things cost, making choices, and how to save money


Pencil and paper—perhaps a calculator


It’s important to teach kids how much things cost, how choices can be made, and how, through choices, money can be saved. This activity provides opportunities for you to talk with your child about the following. You can pick the topics that are of most interest to you.

  • Prices and how prices are different for different things
  • Why an item may be “on sale”
  • Compare how much things cost—e.g. different lunches cost different amounts
  • Advertising
  • Making choices—and trade-offs
  • Ask your child to name their two favourite lunches.
  • Talk with your child about what would be needed to make each lunch. Make a shopping list of the items for each of the lunches before going to the store.
  • At the store, work out the cost for each lunch with your child, one lunch at a time, by checking the prices of the items that are needed. When checking out an item, talk about why the prices for the same or similar item might be different. Talk about the choice you would make and why.
  • If there is an item “on sale,” talk about what being “on sale” means—and why an item might be “on sale.”
  • When you have checked out all the items for a lunch, add up the prices to see what it would cost.
  • When you have worked out a total for the two lunches, compare the total cost for each. Talk about why the total costs might be different.
  • You may also want to use this as an opportunity to discuss “advertising”—and which items your child may know about and which they may not have heard of—e.g. a brand of peanut butter.
  • Ask your child to pick one of the lunches for which you will buy the items and make the lunch at home.
  • This is a good time to discuss the trade-offs we make with every decision we make. When your child chooses one lunch, they give up the opportunity to have the other.
  • Let the child see the items as they are scanned at the check-out.
  • When you get home, unpack the items and show your child the receipt and explain to them what a receipt is and how it provides a record of what you bought.
  • Discuss other choices that have to be made—and the trade-offs that are made.
  • Talk about what could be done with money saved by making good buying decisions.
  • Plan and shop for a dinner for the family.
  • Plan and shop for the food for a birthday party.