Family

The Money Talk: Game 2 "Need vs want"

Play today's game and learn the difference between needs vs wants with an activity that gets your kids prioritising which ice cream flavours and toppings they can afford.

Game #2: Can you buy the ice cream you want?

A new ice cream shop just opened and it has all your favourite flavours and toppings to help build the most delicious ice cream cone ever. What will you choose? Strawberry with hot fudge? Chocolate chip with caramel and whipped cream? Are you drooling yet?

What you'll need:

Step 1: Start drawing

Welcome to the world’s famous ice cream shop. Before we start building your delicious ice cream cone, we’ll need your help to bring it to life. Start drawing the ice cream shop and colour everything in. Print the ice cream ingredients and the money.

Step 2: Carefully cut out the ingredients and money
Step 3: The world's famous ice cream shop is now open for business

You’ve got 10 gold coins to spend, and every ingredient costs 1 gold coin. Spend your money to build a yummy ice cream cone wisely.

Step 4: Try it again with only 5 coins

It’s harder now, isn’t it? With only 5 coins to spend you can’t get everything you want, so you have to really think about what’s most important. Good luck!


For this activity, your child will be using tokens to buy ingredients to build their ultimate ice cream cone. With limited money to spend, they can’t get everything they want, so they’ll have to learn to prioritise and only buy what they really need.

What did we learn?

Of course, ice cream isn’t really a ‘need’, but it’s a playful and effective metaphor that can introduce the concept of evaluating and prioritising the things we spend money on. Use this as a bridge to continue the conversation about needs vs wants.

Questions and topics to kickstart the conversation with your kids

Q: What is a treat and why are they so special?

Ice cream is a yummy treat, but you can’t only eat ice cream. You’d get a stomach ache! Talk about why you buy certain foods at the grocery store and not just treats.

Q: Look around the room or open the fridge and identify things that are wants vs needs.

Would it make sense to get a brand-new TV if you already have one? Why not? What about the milk in your fridge? We buy that every week.

Q: What are some of the things your friends want? Do you need the same things?

Sometimes when our friends get a new toy, we think we need it too. But does this make sense? Are there toys that you thought you needed, but you don’t use anymore?

Did you know?

When people go shopping while hungry, they are more likely to spend money on things they don’t need.

Real life challenge

The next time you go grocery shopping as a family, have your child point out which items are ‘needs’ vs ‘wants’ and why. The yummy ice cream might be something we really want, but let’s face it we could live without it.

What is the Money Talk?

Do you need it or just want it? What does it mean to earn money? Why do we borrow money? And why are advertisements not always as good as they seem? The Money Talk game is developed by ING's partner 'the Think Forward Initiative', designed to get kids curious, asking questions, and start the conversation about money.

Think Forward Initiative’s mission is to empower people to make better financial decisions. This includes kids! One of the most promising methods to teach children about money is to talk and practice. By giving them the right tools and support, they’ll develop the capability to make financially sound decisions later on in life.*

So, set aside a little time to play Money Talks, a game for parents and kids to laugh, learn and play their way to financial understanding.

Ready to play?