Your money education students learn all about finances but need to know how to store and grow their money safely. And where is that? The bank. You can introduce banking and bank services to kids from an early age, increasing the complexity and depth of the lessons and activities as they go through high school. Your learners will have a significant advantage if they understand how banks work – and how they can help people grow financially.
Below, you’ll find banking activities for the different grade levels, descriptions about setting them up, and how they will boost your students’ banking knowledge.
Banking Activities: K – 2nd Grade
- TD Wow! has a great introductory activity to banking, mainly savings and interest, for young students. Teachers have access to paper coins, which they pass out to students. Kids decide whether to spend their coins or save them (with you, the “bank”). If they don’t spend their money, you give them an extra coin at the end of the lesson, showing them how interest works. If they spend, you can emphasize that people need to spend money on wants and needs but should have a savings plan. Tell them the bank is an excellent place to put their money because it is safe, and money can grow there.
- Wells Fargo has partnered with Hands on Banking to create an excellent banking activity. Students watch a video about how money is created, and then see how banks can help consumers. They learn that banks offer multiple account types, including savings and checking. Through hands-on exercises, they create unique dollar bills, see how money circulates, and understand the role of banks.
- This activity focuses on money identification and how banks can help customers increase their wealth. Students color coins of different denominations and learn about saving and spending. There is a quiz attached to assess students in the role of banking and how to spend and save wisely.
Banking Activities: 3rd – 5th Grade
- In this activity, students dive into savings accounts and research savings alternatives. They call or visit banks (or go to their websites if you want to stick to the virtual world) and find interest rates, minimum account balances, withdrawal limits, and more. You can help them with interest rate math, showing them how various rates can dramatically impact their savings. The lesson has all the worksheets and guided questions you need.
- In this exercise from Unified Bank, your upper-elementary students see the benefits of putting their money in banks instead of saving it at home. They see real-life examples of how banks can help, including having an emergency fund set up in a secure financial institution. There are many extension activities included, such as developing essays, playing games, and creating posters showing the perks of banking.
- The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has an engaging banking activity for your 3rd – 5th graders. They read a story about a Depression-era farm that faces significant challenges, including bank runs and empty bank vaults. They learn that since those days, banks have protections in place and are very safe ways to store money. They see the importance of saving and planning plan for unexpected obstacles and how banking can work to buffer them from financial harm.
- This activity focuses on other types of income that students can bring in, besides salaries, tips, and commissions. It discusses banks and how people can earn interest through savings accounts. It provides opportunities for kids to calculate how much their money would grow with various interest rates and shows students the many services banks offer.
Banking Activities: 6th – 8th Grade
- Middle schoolers need to learn practical money skills and how they apply them to real life, and this exercise does an excellent job. While much of the banking activities in lower grades have been about savings and interest, this activity hones in on checking accounts and credit cards. Through worksheets, pretend checkbooks, and play debit cards, students will see how to write checks and use banking services when they are on their own.
- This exercise is a deep dive into banking services and will give your students valuable hands-on experience. All the materials you need are included, and kids complete multiple components. They research bank account features like minimum balance, nearest branch, mobile features, and interest rates. They also keep a running balance, read bank statements, and reconcile accounts.
- The FDIC has an activity that will show your kids how to “stash their cash.” Some materials walk students through evaluating a variety of banking and savings offerings. Learners also describe the advantages of storing savings in a bank account and see how compound interest can increase their worth exponentially. They see the value of banks in financial planning.
- Have your students head to Stash101 for an engaging banking simulation activity. You will find checking account-specific activities that give kids crucial practice. The program also has savings and credit card simulations so they can see the difference in how the accounts vary. It also goes into automatic paychecks and auto-paying bills so they can streamline their banking in the future.
Banking Activities: 9th -12th Grade
- Neok12 has an extensive banking activity page, primarily videos you can show the class or students can watch independently. The topics cover a wide range of topics, including how money is created, a history of banking and money in the U.S., and how the Fed interacts and drives the economy. Kids will also learn how banks make money and circulates around the country.
- This activity focuses on one banking service: financing a car. Students see how loans work through banks as they embark on their car-buying journey. They calculate the operating costs of autos, learn about warranties and service contracts, and compare loan terms at different lenders. They take a quiz on financing and see how banking services can help them attain their needs and wants.
- Your high school students should know how to shop around for the best banks for their needs. This activity has students conduct a comparative analysis of banks and examine differences between different financial institutions. They also look at the significant differences between checking and saving accounts. Finally, they will find information showing the importance of FDIC protections, so their money is safe in banks.
- This activity shows students the importance of saving money for unexpected events and how banks can serve as allies in your goals. They learn to budget and see how checking and savings work in tandem to help them manage their money. The collection has worksheets and scenarios where kids calculate real-life examples of budgets and surprise expenses.
- Compound interest will do wonders for your students’ futures. This activity (see Lesson 4 – Boost Your Savings) shows your learners how different timeframes and interest rates directly impact savings. They calculate daily, weekly, monthly, and annual returns on their money. Students also learn about the various savings vehicles, like savings accounts, money market, and certificates of deposit (CDs).
Check out our teacher’s guide to teaching money management for more personal finance activities and lesson plans!