wants and needs books for kindergarten

Best Children’s Needs and Wants Books for Kindergarten

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Sometimes it seems like I can’t walk through the store without a child asking me for a toy, a drink, or a cookie! Kids aren’t born knowing the difference between needs and wants. And teaching Needs and Wants to kids is challenging. So I’ve found it’s helpful to start by reading needs and wants books for kindergarten to my children.

The books walk my kids through an introduction to the concept of needs and wants using language my kids can understand. The stories bring the concept to life in a manner that sparks excellent discussions. 

And the books help me to start my children on the way to budgeting and financial literacy!

needs and wants books for kindergarten

Teaching Needs and Wants to Kindergarten Students

It would be nice if kids were born understanding the concept of budgeting for needs and a few wants. But they’re not. So, how do you start teaching kids about financial literacy so that they can make wise decisions as adults?

I’ve found that when you’re trying to teach the concept of needs and wants to young children, it helps to pick up a good book. The best books will explain the concepts in words young children can understand. 

Plus, the stories are great at keeping students’ attention as they learn about other children’s struggles.

You can also start by chatting about the difference between needs and wants with the children. This works best in a small group, as you can then have group discussions about what needs are versus wants. 

Make sure you have the children’s attention, and then start listing all needs in one category and wants in a second category.

Teaching Kids About the Concept of Needs

I’ve found the best way to start is to chat with my kids about the concept of needs. We need food. We need sleep. And we need shelter. 

Pull out a chalkboard or a whiteboard and draw two columns. The first column should be titled NEEDS, while the second should be titled WANTS. 

Now have the kids list everything they need to survive. You may need to jumpstart the conversation by asking what we need to stay alive. The kids will pop up and chat about food, clothing, and shelter.

Most kids will start by listing items they need to survive, but a few wants will pop into the discussion. Chat with the kids about why these are wants, not needs, and write them under the WANTS column.

Another challenging concept is the idea that you don’t need the fanciest item to fulfill a need. Kids need clothing, but they don’t need the designer line of expensive shirts. 

Your kids will also pop up with food like doughnuts and candy. This is a great time to have a quick discussion on nutrition, healthy foods, and treats. Kids don’t need high amounts of sugar to survive!

Teaching Kids About the Concept of Wants

Once you have a good list of needs, chat with kids about things they want. Start by asking them what they want, like toys, desserts, and fun activities. List these items under the column WANTS. 

This list may get very long, and children might debate over whether some items, like toys, are wants versus needs. After all, children learn through play and are happiest with toys to help entertain themselves. But do screen time and games count as a want or a need? What about their favorite doll or car?

If they need the toy, does that mean they need the fanciest type of toy available, or will a simpler toy be a wiser decision? 

Discussing the Concept of Wants Vs. Needs

This leads to a great discussion topic of wants and needs. Make sure you relate everything back to the children’s own lives. After the discussion begins to die down, it’s time to pull out some children’s books on wants and needs to read aloud to the kids.

You’ll find that teaching kids the difference between wants and needs sparks some excellent conversations. In my own house, I’ve discovered that we’ll have many short discussions over several weeks rather than one long discussion.

Read Children’s Books for Kindergarten Students

A good children’s book will explain the concept in words young children can understand. Kids will see how the concept unfolds in the life of the main character. And it’s a great way to get kids thinking about all the different ways the main character can solve their problem. 

Below you’ll find a fabulous collection of books talking about Needs and Wants to help you start and expand a discussion with small children.

Needs and Wants Books for Kindergarten

If you’re looking for a great book to teach kids about using money wisely, these books are the place to start. They’re nonfiction and do an excellent job explaining the concept of needs and wants in easy-to-understand language.

Wants vs. Needs vs. Robots – This book has some delightful robots working through the difference between what the robots need and what the robots want. The humorous and witty book is enjoyable for both parents and children to read.

Do I Need It? Or Do I Want It?: Making Budget Choices – Teach your children how to make wise budgeting decisions! This interesting book walks kids through the difference between wants and needs as it discusses how kids can learn to use their money wisely.

Need It or Want It? – This Little World Social Studies book is a great resource for children between kindergarten and second grade. It has a great lesson on wants and needs to help jumpstart your discussion.

More Needs and Wants Books for Kids

I’ve found with my own children that we need more than one or two books for any discussions. Here are some more excellent books to add to your lesson plans or book study literacy units. Kids will have fun discussing the concepts and making group decisions about what needs and wants are.

Needs and Wants – If you’re looking for early reader books about needs and wants, then this is the book for you! It’s full of colorful illustrations and simple text, making it easy for kids to read to themselves.

Need It or Want It – Continue the discussion on what you need and what you want with this wonderful book. Kids will have fun debating what’s needed and what’s not needed as you read through the book with them.

Need It or Want It – This picture book includes excellent questions to get kids thinking about what they need versus what they want. And the text is simple enough for early readers to read it by themselves.

Stories with a Great Lesson About Needs and Wants

Stories about kids dealing with needs and wants are a great way to illustrate the difference to your own children. These engaging stories will keep students’ attention as you read the books aloud.

Charlie and Lola: I Really, Really Need Actual Ice Skates – This is a great story about Lola and Charlie. Lola goes ice skating and realizes that she needs her own ice skates. But are ice skates a need or a want? Read and find out!

Those Shoes – Jeremy is having a tough time. Everyone at school is wearing expensive shoes that he doesn’t have. But his grandmother says they’re a want, not a need, even when his own shoes fall apart. This delightful story will help kids having a hard time dealing with the concept of wants versus needs.

Lily Learns about Wants and Needs – Follow along with Lily as the little girl learns all about wants and needs. She and her dad drive around town figuring out what’s what they need and what items are simply wanted.

Fun Books About Money for Young Students

Don’t stop with just a couple of interesting stories about money! Here are some other books you and your children will enjoy reading together.

The Rag Coat – This delightful story features a young girl who wants to attend school but needs a coat to wear. So her family makes a coat, but she’s teased about wearing a rag coat to school. Be sure to read to the end of the book to discover how Minna convinces her new classmates her coat is truly special.

Alexander, Who Used to Be Rich Last Sunday – This is a funny story about a little boy who gets some money from his grandparents. He has so many ideas on how he’s going to spend his money. But somehow, the money keeps disappearing. What happened? Read and find out!

Berenstein Bears Trouble with Money – The Berenstein Bears’ children are having trouble with money, so the kids figure out ways to earn more money. But then they need to learn how to balance being spendthrifts and misers with the money they earn.

Books About Finances for Young Kids

​Teaching children about money goes beyond just teaching them about wants versus needs. You can also teach kids to plan, budget, and save. These books are great places to start a discussion about finances with your kids.

What Is Money?: Personal Finance for Kids – Teach small kids all about financial literacy with a book written for small children. It’s sure to spark an excellent discussion about how your children can manage their money.

ABC’s of Finance – This easy-to-understand book about finance is written for kids of all ages. It will go beyond just needs and wants to chat about investing and saving!

How to Spend Wisely: Teach Young Children How to Plan and Budget – Budgeting is an important concept for kids to learn. So read through this great book about spending money wisely to help your children understand good decisions with their money.

More Needs Versus Wants Teaching Resources

There are many excellent teaching resources beyond good books that you can use to teach your kids about needs versus wants. These resources are great to use in both your home and in a kindergarten classroom!

Wants VS. Needs – You’ll find some fun printable activities and sorting cards to use with your children. These printables are a great way to extend your lesson on financial literacy and spending money wisely.

Needs vs. Wants Sort – Your kids will love this cut-and-paste activity that has children sort cards into needs versus wants. It comes as a PDF making downloads and printing super easy!

Free Resources on Needs Vs. Wants for Kindergarteners

While some activities are paid, there are many excellent resources that are free for you to use with your children. Be sure to print these fun activity sheets to help your kids master the concept of needs vs. wants. And perhaps they’ll stop begging for every new toy at the store!

Wants vs. Needs Cut Out Activity – This simple sheet has children cutting out images and deciding if the pictures show something that’s a want or a need. The images include clothing, food, toys, and candy.

Wants vs. Needs Worksheet – You can use this worksheet as an assessment tool to check your children’s understanding of the concept of wants versus needs. Or you can use the sheet as a fun worksheet. Kids will love figuring out if the pictures show items that are wanted or needed.

​In Conclusion

Teaching children the concept of wants versus needs is an important beginning step in financial literacy. Children who master this concept are able to learn how to budget their money so they can spend it wisely. They know how to walk the tightrope between being a spendthrift and a miser. 

This skill is a critical skill for your kids to develop long before they read adulthood. So pick up your favorite books on Needs Vs. Wants for kindergarten children to start teaching your kids today!

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