If you’re looking for some ESL money activities, games, worksheets and lesson plans, then you’re definitely in the right place. Keep on reading for some of our top tips for money and banking ESL ideas.
ESL Money Games and Activities
Are you ready to get into our top picks for ESL bank lessons and money activities? Here they are!
#1: Money Role Plays
If you’re teaching your students about money, the top activity you might want to try is a role play. The way it works is that someone can pretend to be an employee in a shop of some kind and the other person can be a shopper. It’s best if you make it more realistic with pretend money and goods that can be exchanged.
Try it out for yourself and have some fun with ESL money! Find out more here: ESL Role Plays.
#2: Hot Potato Game
Hot potato is a fun ESL game that most students seem to love! The way it works is that students pass around an object until the music stops or the timer goes off. Then, the person who is holding the object has to do a task of some kind. In this case, it’d be something related to money.
For example, you could ask any of the following questions:
- How many cents are two quarters?
- I had $5 and went to the store and spent $3.50. How much do I have left?
Do you want to try out this ESL game with your students? You can check it out right here: ESL Hot Potato.
#3: Money ESL Videos
The good news for English teachers is that there are a million and one videos on English Central and YouTube that are perfect for any grammar point, topic or vocabulary set. I like to use them as a warm-up, review, or even base an entire lesson plan on a video.
It should go without saying that there’s a whole lot more to using videos in the ESL classroom than just pressing play and sitting back and relaxing. There are a ton of activities you can do both before and after watching. Check out some of the ideas here:
#4: Just One Question
This is a fun survey-type activity that can be used for ESL lessons related to money. Put students into pairs and they have to work together to think of some interesting money-related questions, which will obviously depend on the age of the students. For example:
- How much do you get in allowance from your parents?
- What’s the last big thing you bought?
- Are you saving up for anything?
- Do you have any purchases that you regret?
Then, each pair has to choose one of the questions that they want to survey their classmates about. They can ask at least 10 people and briefly record the results. Then, I give the students a few minutes to analyze their results and prepare a few sentence summary to tell the class about what they learned.
Find out more about it right here: ESL Just One Question.
#5: ESL Money Survey
I’m ALL about surveys in my classes. They’re interactive, student-centred and cover a wide range of skills. There are so many questions students could ask each other about money and spending. For example:
- Are you a saver or a spender?
- Do you ever waste money on dumb things?
- Have you made a luxury purchase recently?
Check out this article for all the details you need to know about making your own ESL money survey and how to do the activity with your students: ESL Surveys.
#6: Task-Based Language Learning
I love to incorporate a few task-based activities into my classes. The reason I like them so much is that they allow the students some freedom to learn what they want to learn. In this case, a nice idea is to have students do some research about a country and then prepare a poster and a presentation related to it. You can easily make finding out details about the money system one of the requirements of this activity.
Do you want to try out this style of language teaching? You can get more details here: Task Based Language Learning.
#7: Empty your Pockets
This is a quick warmer activity that you can use to introduce the money unit. Ask students to take all the money out of their pockets and count it up to see how much they have. Then, they can talk with a partner about how they usually spend their money.
#8: A to Z Warm-Up Game
If you’re talking about money and banking with teenagers or adults, you may want to consider trying out this A-Z warm-up game. The way it works is that you can put students into groups of 3-4 and they have to write the alphabet on a piece of paper.
Then, give the students a couple of minutes to think of as many currency names as they can, along with a country where they use it. For example:
W: Won/South Korea
The team with the most currency names is the winner. Do you want to find out more about this quick warm-up game? Check it out here: A-Z Alphabet Activity.
#9: Running Dictation
A fun money activity that you can try out with your English learners is running dictation. The way it works is that you can find a conversation or dialogue that has lots of talk about money in it. Perhaps someone is considering an expensive purchase of some kind but isn’t sure about which option to get.
Then, cut out the conversation into various parts and tape them onto the wall around your classroom. Students have to work together to dictate all the pieces onto their own paper. Then, they have to put the pieces into the correct order to make a coherent conversation.
Do you want to try it out? Find out more details here: ESL Running Dictation.
This is a fun, but challenging ESL activity that’s heavy on the listening. In this case, you’ll want to find (or write) a short passage that has lots of money vocabulary in it. Perhaps someone is talking about Christmas shopping or a budget.
Then, put students into pairs and read it out at a faster pace than normal. Students have to work together to recreate what they heard, either by writing or speaking. Then, read it out again and students can add more to their story. Finally, they can compare their version with the original one.
Do you want to know more about it? You can see all the details here: Dictogloss.
#11: If I Had a Million Dollars
Do you know the song, “If I Had a Million Dollars” by the Barenaked Ladies? It’s ideal for talking with your students about money. There is a whole range of things you can do related to the song, but the most interesting part of the lesson is finding out what your students would do with the money.
#12: English School Store
If you have time and resources, it can be fun to set up an English shop. The way it works is that students get some sort of currency in their classes for helping out, doing exceptional work, random acts of kindness, etc. Then, there is a school store where they can redeem their money (in English!) perhaps once a month for things like pencils or erasers. It’s a fun way to encourage good behaviour, as well as help students, get some practice with money.
#13: Class Auction
Again, if you have some resources at your school, consider using them to buy some small prizes. Then, give each student a set amount of money and have a class auction. Warn students that the auction could end at any time so spend freely, but try to ensure that each student gets a chance to buy at least one thing.
#14: ESL Money Trivia
If you want to start your lesson on money, finance or banking off on the right foot, consider putting together some money trivia questions for your students. Of course, the difficulty of the questions will depend on the age of the students and their English level.
#15: Money Conversation Starters
If you tell your students to talk about “money,” you may be met with total silence. It’s not the students’ fault, it’s just that they haven’t been given enough direction. Instead, if I plan to do this, I prepare a list of about 10 questions related to money that students can talk about.
Of course, I encourage follow-up questions and going wherever the conversation leads. But, if students are stuck, they can refer to their sheet and find something to talk about. It’s like free-talking, just with a lot more structure to it which can be useful for many students.
#16: Taboo with ESL Banking Vocabulary
You’ve probably played that game Taboo before. It’s where you have to describe a word but you can’t use another set of related words. I like to modify this game for my English learners so that students just have to describe a word and their classmates have to guess what it is.
In this case, it’s an excellent way to review ESL banking vocabulary. Try it out with your students today: ESL Taboo Game.
#17: Just a Minute ESL Finance Speaking Activity
I love to use this activity for my higher-level students. Students have to talk about a certain topic for an entire minute without stopping. Then, the people in their group each has to ask at least 1 good follow-up question. For finance, money or banking, some of the best topics could include:
- What’s the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought?
- If you won a million dollars in the lottery, how would you spend it?
- Are you a spender or a saver? Give some examples.
Find out more details about it: Just a Minute.
#18: ESL Banking Listening Lesson
It’s super easy to plan an entire lesson for money and banking based on a listening passage. Check out the simple steps you can follow right here:
#19: Small Group Discussion about Money for ESL
If I teach intermediate or advanced English learners, then I love to have some discussions about money. Everyone is interested in money and has an opinion about how to make and spend it!
But, if you put students into small groups and then tell them to, “talk about money,” it may not go so well. I find that a bit of structure is often very useful for this kind of thing.
Find out all my tips and tricks for how I set up discussion times for my students. Have a look here: ESL Small Group Discussion Tips.
#20: I’m an Alien Warmer
A fun way to introduce a unit on money or banking is to pretend that you’re an alien and get students to explain the concept of money to you! It’s a nice way for students to activate their prior knowledge about a topic before jumping into the new stuff. Check it out:
ESL Money Lesson Plans
Do you want ready-made lesson plans for money and banking? Then you’ll want to check out some of our favourite resources here:
Worksheets for Money ESL
Do you want some ready-made money worksheets that you can just print off and go? They’ll save you a ton of time and there’s really no reason to reinvent the wheel if you don’t have to. Here are some recommendations for the best ESL money worksheets:
ESL Money and Banking Vocabulary
Here are some of the most common vocabulary terms for money and banking to consider teaching your English learners:
- account number
- bank charges
- bank draft
- banking app
- checking account
- credit card
- debit card
- online banking
- open an account
- pin number
- savings account
- telephone banking
- wire transfer
Did you like these Money and Banking Activities for ESL?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 148 Pages - 03/09/2016 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 101 ESL Activities for Teenagers and Adults. The key to better English classes is a wide variety of interesting, engaging and student-centred activities. This book will help you do that in style! There are dozens of activities for a wide variety of skills and topics.
The best part is that it’s well-organized into various sections so that you should be able to find what you’re looking for in just a minute or two. If that’s not some ESL teaching awesome, then I’m not sure what it is.
You can get the book in both digital and print formats. The digital format can be read on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app. Take it with you to your favourite coffee shop for a serious dose of ESL lesson planning. Or, consider keeping a copy on the bookshelf in your office and using it as a handy reference tool.
Does it sound like exactly what you need to have better English classes for teens or adults? It probably is! Head over to Amazon to find out more about it right here:
Have your say about these ESL Banking Activities and Games
What are your thoughts about these ESL games and activities for money, finance and banking? Did you try out some of them from this list, or do you have another recommendation for us? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2022-04-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API