Free Holidays Wants and Needs Printable

Free Holidays Wants and Needs Printable

This post has a free holidays wants and needs printable activity to help with economics understanding for primary grades.

Materials required:  any holiday children’s story, toy catalogs and holiday fliers with photos of gifts to cut out, food-shelter-clothing catalog photos to cut out, scissors, tape

Large sheet of white or Kraft paper, about 4 or  5 feet long, (do not write on it yet), or Pocket Chart

free-holiday-wants-and-needs printable sorting cards classroom edition

This lesson idea for holiday gift discussions about the difference between wants and needs for children. Basically, you are going to let the children fall into a little teachable moment trap!  You are going to tell them to cut out items from holiday catalogs and fliers that they might want for gifts this season.  Do not say more at this time!  Just smile!  Let them have fun cutting out pictures.  Suggest each child finds one or two items before joining the class on the rug in front of the large blank paper.

For young children the pictures could be cut out ahead of time by the teacher so they just have to choose a picture.  Have plenty of extras on hand.  Be sure the pictures of food, shelter, and clothing are included. Let them, pick whatever picture(s) they like, which will probably mostly be wants.  Have a limit on how many pictures each child may share. PDF

Or use this free PDF:  free-holiday-wants-and-needs, 19 page printable

Have the children meet on the rug, and let them share their pictures one at a time.  Do not explain why, but tape photos of wants towards one side of the large paper, and photos of needs towards the other side.  When everyone has shared, ask the children to see if they see two different groups of pictures.  At this point, there is usually mostly photos of wants on the large paper.  As the children if the wants will meet their needs.  Ask questions like:  Is there anything to wear? Is there nourishing food?  Is there a house to keep us warm? Explain things we want do not help us meet our needs for food, shelter, and clothing. If we just have wants and no needs in our life we would have to where to live and no food to eat.  Someone might speak up and say we would have no clothing, either!

Label the two sides.  Children may feel socks are a terrible gift and that they NEED their video game machines.  Explain grown-ups must pay for the needs in their lives.  Even if a child is living with a relative or a shelter, someone is paying for the need. Now this is the odd thing, although the children will swear Santa is true, they do understand someone pays for the holiday gifts. Do not get in to a discussion about whether or not Santa or any holiday character is real or not, refer children to their parents about those questions.  Somehow it doesn’t always come up, though, kids are smarter than they let on about this type of thing.  Sum up the lesson with the thought even needs are a gift as they help take care of you, and funds for wants are limited even for grown-ups.


Leave the large group project paper up during the holidays when children are talking about what they are getting to help them remember these ideas. This lesson is one parents appreciate at this time of year!

I have a new December 2015 version for parents at home, also.  It opens at this link. Some people might like this option.  wants-and-needs-home-sorting-cards


Thank you for reading, Carolyn

Freebie Fridays

About Carolyn Wilhelm

Carolyn Wilhelm is the author of The Wise Owl Factory site and blog. She has an MS in Gifted Education, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12. She makes mostly free resources for teachers and parents.
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6 Responses to Free Holidays Wants and Needs Printable

  1. Christy

    I really, really like this. I love the idea of making sure kids understand this.

    Lionel’s Christmas Adventure is a recent book/ebook that has some Christmas economics in it.
    Christy recently posted..Thoughts on a City Council MeetingMy Profile

  2. Carolyn………. this is such a critical piece for children. What a great way to prompt the discussion and get them thinking, reflecting and evaluating. It our ever increasingly more self-absorbed society it’s so important to direct children to think beyond themselves. KUDOS for a brilliant piece. I’m off to pin again and again!

    Debbie Clement recently posted..RoundUP Review of Miscellaneous School ResourcesMy Profile

  3. Tonya Dirksen says:

    This is an important lesson for children to learn and the holiday season is the perfect time to discuss it! Thanks for the great idea.

    • Carolyn Wilhelm says:

      Thank you for commenting, Tonya. I’ve been thinking about your Christmas program, I have to check your blog and see what’s been going on! I just added the printable for the wants and needs lesson. That is so fun to teach as it is an eye opener for the children, who really seem to know anyway! Carolyn
      Carolyn Wilhelm recently posted..Holidays Wants and Needs for ChildrenMy Profile