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Hands on activities to teach about consumerism

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

Hi everyone

 

I'm looking for some suggestions for activities I can do with small groups of mixed aged kids (ages 5-12ish) on the topic of consumerism.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions or resources?

Thanks in advance

 


Edited by Callimom - 4/11/12 at 3:43pm
post #2 of 9

Can you be more specific?

 

Here's a few things we do to teach about the world of money and consumerism:

 

We use cash where we can and I let the girls pay and receive change.  The farmer's market is the place we have the most fun with this.

 

The girls get a very small allowance with which they can navigate the world of money and stuff and desire.  

 

We don't watch commercial TV, so when we happen to, or when they see ads in magazines and catalogs we talk about what the company wants you to feel when you see the pictures, wanting to entice you to buy what they sell.

 

We talk about the cycle of money, the recession, farm-to-table or manufacturer-to-home.  These conversations seem to happen most during our long drives or at the dinner table. 

 

As for curriculums and other, more structured learning activities, we don't do those.  The real world has ample lessons there for the taking.

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

It's for a group co-op event so the kids come from a variety of backgrounds and world views. The goal is to make the kids more aware of the role consumerism plays in their daily lives, and how it affects others and the environment. It needs to come from an educational place rather than promoting a certain value iykwim.

So I have a game called Wants or Needs which helps illustrate the difference for kids between those concepts.

I am thinking about doing the global footprint quiz for the older kids if I can get wifi access.

I'm looking for more of that sort of thing.

tia!

 

post #4 of 9

You can look at magazine ads and have the kids tell you what the ads are trying to sell, and how they do it.  Ask why the people might make the ad the way they did.  Small group projects, could be 5 minute project or could be an hour project, depending on how far you want to go with it.

 

 

post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tjej View Post

You can look at magazine ads and have the kids tell you what the ads are trying to sell, and how they do it.  Ask why the people might make the ad the way they did.  Small group projects, could be 5 minute project or could be an hour project, depending on how far you want to go with it.

 

 


I had fun with this in school, learning about different types of advertising.  We were to write commercials using one of the methods we learned about.  I chose the "endorsement", and played Emily Latella* selling a single staple I called "Monostaple".   Should have called it "unistaple".  Another year my friend and I did a "testimonial" for an acne medication.  It was a lot of fun, and one of the most enduring lessons of my time in school.  

 

* I grew up in Las Vegas when Johnny Carson owned channel 5.  He always aired totally inappropriate stuff at family viewing times.  For years they aired repeats of Saturday Night Live at 5:00 every night.  This was around 1981, so these were the episodes from the '70s.  I loved doing Emily Latella impressions, especially the pounding of the fist on the table.  I have no idea how I chose her to sell a single staple.  I was a weird kid, that's all I'll say.  Ended up in theater for a while; I'll say that too.  (Somehow my parents never commented on all the "VD" references and marijuana jokes from the show.)

 

post #6 of 9

I researched this a while ago--Unicef or the UN has some wonderful things on their site!  Even learning units and worksheets if you want to go in that direction.  Part of what Unicef seemed to want to communicate was the idea of basic childhood needs and rights.  My kids at 4 were a little young for some of it.  Your post is a good reminder for me to pick this up again (I tend to do this in November pre-Christmas craziness).

Enjoy!

Let us know what you do/what you use!

 

http://www.un.org/cyberschoolbus/cur.html

post #7 of 9

Try the Center for a New American Dream website.

post #8 of 9

the advertising is great idea, you could also have some sale banners leading them to a bargain this way {like a maize) making them really excited and at the end leave them standing there with nothing but their thoughts, nothing on the table, discuss later. 

 

women are brought up on the fact that shopping is part of their existance, that women do it to feel better, so the glamorized models on advertisements lead them to this insecure fix, that obviously does not work, do a photomontage? (dunno spelling) around telling a story of what makes you feel better and why? then discuss? 

cant think of any more at moment. x

post #9 of 9

Great recommendations sweetsilver! I am going to use some of those with my daughter!

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