How to Teach Economics to Elementary and Middle Grades

EconomicsPlay Dough Economics a cool little class that I happened upon last year that was written back in 1988!  Economics being what they are, all the principles still apply today.  I don’t even remember how I came to know about it, but I think another homeschool mom may have pointed me in it’s direction.  I have the PDF for you FREE below.

Anywho – this is a class designed to teach economic concepts to elementary and middle school aged students using play dough to drive home the lessons.  The class has 15 lessons that build on each other, perfect for one semester.  Each class is designed to be taught in under an hour.

Why wait until high school to for your kids to understand how the economy works?

This is a very inexpensive class – as you only need a container of play dough per child (it even includes a recipe if you would like to make some as part of your class), some construction paper, folder, and old magazines to cut up.  Our co-op was just starting out last year, and we live in a pretty low-income area, so I was looking for something cheap and good. 🙂

I also had the kids make cute little labels for their folders:


The template for the labels is below for you also 🙂

I taught Play Dough Economics in our co-op and had a mix of ages from 11 to 16, so it works for the older crew also.  The best part of the class for the kids was playing with Play Dough.  This class did a good job of teaching what some would consider to be a dry subject. 😉 

Even if YOU may be bored to tears by finance, don’t count your kids out!  I LOVE math and a chance move in High School to a school that had lots of technical classes sent me on a path to an Accounting career.  You never know what may be sparked in your child.

The class outlines everything you need to do, and almost everything you need to say!

The concepts covered are as follows:

1 Good and Services

2 Production

3 Scarcity

4 Opportunity Cost (Consumers)

5 Opportunity Cost (Producers)Economics

6 Trade

7 Money

8 Specialization

9 Capital

10 Saving and Investing

11 Market Price I – Changes in Supply

12 Market Price II – Changes in Demand

13 Costs and Profits

14 Inflation

15 Gross National Product

As the introduction in the class outlines:

“Economic literacy is important because economics is such an integral part of our daily existence. As consumers, producers, and voters, we constantly make decisions about the use of our scarce resources. These decisions have a direct influence on us as individuals and as a society. Individuals who understand basic economic concepts will be better equipped to make the important decisions that effective citizenship requires.”

You may think of economics as being a high-school subject.  But, learning the value of time and money young helps shape responsible adults – and that can never start too soon!!

Downloads as promised:

Play Dough Blank Labels

Play Dough Economic Curriculum

Do you love or hate all things finance?

Talk to me, I'd love to hear from you!