Every once in awhile my kids forget the difference between what they want and what they need. They will tell me that they "really need a fidgit spinner because everyone else has one and they are so cool" or they "need a new lego set to work on." They have an allowance jar designated for spending and I tell them that they are welcome to pay for these items themselves. But, I wanted to do something a little more to show them the real difference between wants and needs.
We first read the book, A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams. It's a wonderful story about community, self sacrifice and demonstrates how little we really need. The real need, the story shows, is to be surrounded by caring people.
We did a super quick project one weekend morning, a couple of days after we read the book. I gave my kids a couple of old magazines and some scissors. I asked them to cut out pictures that represented both their wants and their needs then paste them on large sheet of paper. I wasn't sure they'd want to participate, but they had fun with this scavenger hunt and worked together (which is always a plus!) to create these two lists with pictures.
My kids mostly found that they needed food, drinks, warm clothes and shelter. They added school to the list (the little white house at the bottom of the page), which made me laugh. I wouldn't have categorized school as need but I was not about to argue!