Updated December 11, 2020

Comparison Shopping: Grades 3-4

Instructor's Guides

There’s a lot of choices out there—so how do you make sure your kids make the right ones? While you can’t control everything they do, you can give them the tools to make good spending decisions, starting now.

This lesson shows children in grades 3 and 4 how to use comparison shopping to choose the best option. Children will also learn how to tell the difference between needs and wants and how to examine advertising for messages that may affect their decisions. By learning these skills, children can develop healthy spending habits and become savvy and conscientious consumers for years to come.


  • Recognize the need to conduct research before making a purchase decision
  • Understand how to carefully consider alternatives before making a purchase


Download the Practical Money Skills activity workbook and work through the following activities with your child.

Needs and wants

This activity will help kids learn the difference between essentials and items they desire.

  • Ask your kids to list items they plan to buy during the next week or month
  • Write down all of the responses
  • Ask your kids which items on the list are essential (needs) and which they desire but could live without (wants)
  • Explain that this is the difference between needs and wants
  • Discuss that a need for one person may be only a want for another person; lists will vary for everyone
  • Ask students to make their own lists of needs and wants

Comparison buying

This activity encourages students to consider several alternatives before making a selection.

  • Use the chart to calculate and compare different pack sizes of chocolate bars
  • Discuss the different choices by asking your kids which selection they would make and why
  • Remind them that there are no right or wrong answers

Advertisement analysis

This activity encourages kids to think about advertisements and what they mean.

  • Use newspaper advertisements and local store circulars as examples for this exercise
  • Ask your kids to find and analyze one ad
  • Discuss how students can use advertisements to comparison-shop and find the best price for items they plan to purchase

Explore our Financial Literacy Hub and our blog for content that helps you make money decisions confidently.


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