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Security money

Can you tell the real deal from the fakes in this money making match?

You will need

  • Pens or pencils
  • Scrap paper
  • Aluminium foil
  • Needle and thread
  • Paintbrush or cotton bud
  • Lemon juice
  • UV paint and blacklight (optional)
  • Example coins and notes (optional)
  • Devices with access to the internet (optional)

Activity summary

This activity gives everyone the chance to learn about the security features on our currency so they can learn to spot any fakes or forgeries. Everyone will work in teams to create some of their own super secure money, then they’ll put it to the test by trying to copy another team’s notes.  

If you’ve already completed Coin design, you could the designs as a starting point for this activity.

Before you begin

  • Make sure you’ve risk assessed your meeting, and also have a COVID-19 safe risk assessment that’s been agreed by your line manager. You can check out more detailed guidance here.

Safety checklist

Use the Safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional coronavirus-related controls to think about may include:

  • Make sure that everyone knows the plan for dropping young people off (and picking them up again).
  • Set up a hand washing station that you can use throughout the session.
  • Stay socially distanced when moving around the space and when talking to other people.
  • Make sure everyone can collect resources at a safe distance; you could set them out in advance if this would make it easier.

Step 1: investigate different security features

  1. Everyone should split into smaller teams of 3 or 4 people.
  2. The person leading the activity should give each group some example notes or some information about notes from the Bank of England.
  3. Each team should chat about some elements of the notes that they find interesting. Can they spot any security features?
  1. Each team should take it in turns to share some of their ideas with the wider group.

Step 2: make some money

  1. Now it’s time to get creative! Each team should think about the features they’ve just talked about and choose some to include on their own bank notes.
  2. The person leading the activity should give everyone pens, paper, and equipment that’ll help them add security features to their notes.
  1. Everyone should work in their teams to create their own money with different security features that will make it much harder for other teams to forge their notes.


Step 3: real or fake?

  1. Once everyone’s had enough time to create some of their own super secure money, they should swap their new currency with another team.
  2. Each team should spend a few minutes investigating their new notes – what security features can they spot? How hard would it be to copy them?
  1. Everyone should work in their teams to try to make a copy of the notes. They should copy the design and any of the security features that they spotted.
  2. Everyone should come back together as a group. They should compare the original notes to the ones another group forged. Can people tell which ones are fake?


What did people learn in this activity? Did they find it difficult to tell the fake notes from the originals? Why is security so important for real money? How might someone feel if they got a fake note? When might people check for the security features to make sure notes were genuine?


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Online safety

Supervise young people when they’re online and give them advice about staying safe.

For more support around online safety or bullying, check out the NSPCC website. If you want to know more about specific social networks and games, Childnet has information and safety tips for apps. You can also report anything that’s worried you online to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection command.

As always, if you’ve got concerns about a young person’s welfare (including their online experiences), follow the Yellow Card reporting processes.