- Coloured pens or pencils
- Scrap paper
- Wooden skewers
- Tea lights
- Marshmallows (or other toasty snack)
In this activity, young people will learn about what designs feature on different money, and then design their own currency. Then they can use them to practise exchanging their money for another currency, and buy a treat!
Before you begin
- Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
- Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.
Setting up this activity
- Try out Money maps for an introduction to the features of different currencies around the world.
- This activity is in two parts – if you’re running a blended programme you could ‘Make some money‘ during an online session, ready to complete ‘Scout shopping‘ face-to-face.
Step 1: Make some money
- Everyone should get into small teams of three or four people.
- Ask everyone what different things they’re used to seeing on coins and notes. They could show everyone some examples of coins and notes.
- Explain that everyone will be making their own Scout themed currency.
- Everyone should take a piece of A4 paper, fold it in half twice, and unfold it so that they have a piece of paper with four sections.
- Each team should chat about different things they could include in their design to represent Scouts, starting with important people. They should make a list of important people they could include in the first section of their paper.
- Next, teams need to make a list of locations, landmarks and things from nature that are important to them in the next section of their piece of paper.
- Now, ask groups to choose some quotes or words and write them in the next section of their piece of paper.
- Everyone should fill the final section of their piece of paper with things that represent their favourite Scout memories or remind them of their Scouts friends.
- Teams should chat as a group and decide what they’ll include in their designs. They should think about the security features they’ll include so their money can’t be forged. What will stay the same across all of their notes? What will be different on each denomination?
- Each team should give their currency a name, decide who will be creating the different denominations of bank notes and get drawing. It’s a good idea to make sure each group creates the same denominations to keep it fair.
- Once everyone’s finished their designs, each group should present their freshly minted money to the rest of the group.
- The person leading should make a note of some of the key features so they can check for forgeries in the next part of the activity.
Step 2: Scout shopping
- Now explain that different countries have different money, with different names and different designs. The different moneys are called currencies.
- The person leading the activity should explain that everyone will be using their new Scout currency to buy some marshmallows to toast. Explain that the marshmallows are sold in Scout Pounds so before they can buy any, they’ll need to exchange their new currency into Scout Pounds. However, if anyone called their currency Scout Pounds, you may need to think on your feet and come up with another name so it doesn’t get confusing.
- Set up an exchange counter and display the exchange rate, for example two of their currency equals one Scout Pound. It’s up to you whether you change the rate during the activity or not. Remember that the higher the rate, the more money the groups will have to make!
- Each team should look at the exchange rate and work out how much money they’ll need to create to buy a marshmallow for each group member.
- Each team should try to work as fast as they can to draw more money and exchange it for Scout Pounds.
- The person at your exchange counter should check the security features everyone added to their notes. If groups are working too fast and the designs don’t match, the money should be taken away.
- Everyone should continue until everyone has marshmallows.
Step 3: Enjoy marshmallows
- Once everyone’s made enough money and bought their marshmallows, give everyone their own tea light each and a wooden skewer.
- Everyone should find a space and toast their marshmallow.
- While everyone’s snacking, the person leading the activity should explain that in real life the amount of money you can buy is set by the exchange rate (not Scout leaders!). 1 pound might be able to buy 1.3 US dollars, for example – but this doesn’t mean you’re getting more money as things might cost a higher number of US dollars than pounds.
- Explain that, just like they exchanged the money with leaders, people can exchange pounds to foreign currencies in places, such as the Post Office.
Money from different places often shows important people or landmarks – everyone should share some design features of their new currency again.
Can some people explain some of the things they included and why they chose them? Did different people choose any similar things?
If people travel abroad, they may need to change some of their money. In this activity, everyone learned more about exchanging currencies.
It can be quite a confusing process, but breaking it down can help everyone to understand. Did people know much about converting money before? Do they know more now?
Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.
Remember to check for allergies, eating problems, fasting or dietary requirements and adjust the recipe as needed. Make sure you’ve suitable areas for storing and preparing food and avoid cross contamination of different foods. Take a look at our guidance on food safety and hygiene.
You should think about your exchange rate – the higher the ratio you set, the more money everyone will have to make to be able to afford their marshmallows. For example, two of their currency to one Scout Pound will be much easier (and quicker!) than five of their currency to one Scout Pound.
You could create a whole shop with different prices for lots of things, such as the skewers or tea lights, and try to give change in your new currency.
Think about providing a calculator to help anyone who might struggle to work out the numbers in their head. Make sure that the design of the new currencies are simple enough that everyone can get involved drawing and creating their own.
All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.