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Wants vs. Needs

Youth Tips & Activities

It’s a good habit to consider whether an item is a “need” or “want” before putting down your hard-earned money. But first you need to learn the difference between the two!  Wants vs needs graphic

  1. Fold and cut a piece of paper into 15-20 pieces. 
  2. On each piece of paper, draw or write down one good or service. These can be items you already own or items that you want! For example, you could list shoes, a candy bar, or a video game. For a service, maybe you could list someone to help clean your room! Use your imagination.  
  3. Next, separate your paper into two stacks—one for “wants” and one for “needs”.  
  4. Talk with your adult about why you chose to put each item in that pile and move them to other pile if you need to.   

Adults: It’s easy for kids to get caught up in wanting things that they don’t need, so it’s important to have these discussions early and often. This will serve them well into adulthood as they become more mindful consumers. During this activity, explain that a want is something that we would like to have but it isn’t necessary for survival. On the other hand, a need is something that we must have in order to live. This doesn’t mean that we only buy only items that are considered needs. Fun is important too! Explain the necessity of balancing and prioritizing needs vs. wants. This activity is built for children ages 3-7, however can be altered for older children as well!