Students feel immense pride when a product or service they created is bought by someone else. Knowing that someone else thinks well enough of your work to pay for or trade for it is quite satisfying to all of us. Many will tell me gleefully each time they make a sale.
As creativity and commerce begin, your city will start to take form. Public buildings are being created out of large boxes and citizens start making stores, restaurants, farms and other enterprises using their private building and things they have
made at the art table. You might find a pet shop selling paper animals, a flower shop, multiple restaurants, farm products, a gym and even a blacksmith shop. Each citizen is given a fixed amount of pre-printed official paper money (usually
$10$-20) to spend as they please. If they want to earn more money they open a business and create something or work for someone elseís business. The children are always eager and excited to begin.
1. Large moving or appliance boxes.
2. Computer generated cardboard city dollars (I use address label templates printed on green paper).
3. Plenty of art supplies for creating products, signs and decorating boxes.
Click on the images below to see the items at Amazon. I have tried to pick links with the best value and price from Amazon but you might want to search a bit for the price and quantities that suit your needs.
How to present it to your group:
1. Explain to students that they will each receive a set amount of money each day to spend. If they want to make more money, they should open a business or work for a business. They do not have to make more money if they are happy with their daily stipend.
2. It is important to emphasize the idea of buying things from your neighbor so they will buy from you.
3. Emphasize the importance and fun of making things at the art table, showing them to your neighbors and selling them.
4. Explain economics by reminding them what the daily pay is, and what kind of prices someone making $15 per day can pay for things (usually $1-$5)
5. Ask students what they plan to make or do. Advertise for them and always make sure the teacher, helpers and any visitors to the city have plenty of money to spend.
6. Buy something from all who create offerings but donít overpay. The younger students are often loath to spend their money so it is often up to you to stimulate the economy.
Wages, prices, commerce, economy, community, service business, product business.
Children learn to work cooperatively in creating communal spaces and in creating an economy that has benefits for everyone. They learn about the quid-pro-quo exchange of services, products and money. Economic lessons include the laws of supply and demand, proper pricing of goods and the concepts of marketing and advertising. Basic math is necessary.
The making of products to sell is a great art lesson; the creation of large cardboard structures is an additional lesson in engineering and building.