Planning holiday finances can be an overwhelming task for adults. Imagine what it’s like for children, who often don’t have experience in managing money. Use the gift-giving season as a teaching mechanism for your child, giving them a no-pressure lesson in planning a holiday budget. By the time they has their first job and a bank account, they will be a professional money-managing whiz!

Here’s a Holiday Homeschool Task Featuring Math in the Wild

What You Need:

  • Notebook paper
  • Pencil
  • Scrap paper
  • Store sale ads

What You Do:

Before you begin, explain to your child what a budget is, and why it is important to have one.

Let your child know the total amount of money they can spend on gifts. Explain to them that they will be able to save money by deciding to make some or all of their gifts by hand, but that they cannot go over the set amount.

holiday gift budget sampleInstruct your child to make a list of the people needed to give a present to this year. If their list is extremely long, suggest that they stick with cards or homemade treats for some recipients.

Look through the sale ads with your child to look for some good gift ideas. This is a great opportunity to teach them the value of a good bargain! As your child sees things they wants to buy for someone, instruct them to cut out the picture or coupon, and set it aside.

Remind your child that if they want to spend a large amount of their budget on one person, they will have less to spend on the remaining people. Find a higher priced item your child picked out to use as an example.

Have your child subtract the amount of the higher priced item from the total designated amount, so that they are able to see what they would have left to spend on everyone else.

On a separate piece of paper, have your child write the names of the people they are buying for on the left hand side. Next to each person’s name, invite your child to write the item that they have picked out of the ads and the cost of that item, or the homemade gift they are planning to make and the approximate cost.

Once all the people listed have a suggested gift item, have your child add up all the totals to make sure they have stayed within the set budget. If your child went over budget, help them look over the list to see where changes can be made.

After your child has a completed list of people and gift ideas, invite them to glue the picture of the item they are going to buy next to the person’s name, and this will become the shopping list!

As a parent, it may be difficult to not allow your child to pick out exactly what they want to give everyone for the holiday. However, remember that you are teaching your child a vital lesson about creating and sticking to a budget! This lesson in financial management will assist them for years to come.

For more fun and engaging math activities, go to