Recreational Spending


1. To encourage analysis of the costs of a variety of activities

2. To encourage creativity and cost effective solutions in devising alternative entertainment ideas

Subject Area

English Language Arts (K-12), Math (4-8)


Introduce recreational spending with the following discussion points:

  • What type of spending could be categorized as recreational?
  • If you were creating a budget, what percentage of your income would you assign to recreational spending? Would this percentage change over time?
  • What role do peers play in your recreational spending?
  • What are fun recreational activities that do not require spending money?
  • What are ways of saving money related to recreational spending?


At-home Alternatives

Length: 1 hour
Materials: At-home Alternatives Handout

  • In this activity, students will need to come up with an idea for a recreational activity; ideas include bowling, swimming, going to the movies, etc. Students need to investigate the costs associated with this activity and record it on the At-home Alternatives Handout.
  • Once this is complete, they will need to come up with a low- or no-cost at-home alternative. Challenge students to be creative in this area. Perhaps this may involve bowling with pop bottles in the yard!
  • After the costs for both activities have been calculated, the students should compare and determine the total savings.
  • Students may present creative activity ideas to the class if they wish.
  • Students can vote on the best low-cost activity and then try the winning activity as a class.


  • Ask students to brainstorm an approximate weekly amount that they spend on recreation. Then, multiply this amount by 52 to determine what is spent over the course of the year. Relating back to the discussion, what percentage of their yearly income is spent on recreation? How might they save money?

Collaborative Feedback

  • Ask the class to share its ideas from the Extension on how to save money spent on recreation. What percentage of income were students spending on recreation?
  • Following the activity, were there any surprises on potential costs or savings related to recreational spending and trying the at-home alternatives?

Teacher Tips

  • Suggest a recreation day/class incorporating several of the at-home alternatives!

Pre- and Post-Assessment of Lesson

  • How does choosing an appropriate activity make a difference in the amount you spend?
  • How did choosing an appropriate activity make a difference in the amount you spend?