Skip to main content

We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

We are experiencing technical issues with our emergency phone line. In the event of an emergency, please contact 01443 508676.

Shopping story

If you want something, lots has to happen before you get it. Can you turn the stages into a story?

Back to Activities

You’ll need

  • Stages of the shopping story (printed out, written down, or displayed on screen)
Shopping Story Image Cards
PDF – 462.3KB

Activity summary

This activity is all about being aware of where money comes from. It gives everyone the chance to play around with the things that happen between first wanting something and buying it; as they put the stages into order, they’ll be able to think about what influences their spending decisions.

It’s not about getting the stages in the ‘right’ order – it’s about people recognising what influences the process and thinking about what they might choose to do in the future.

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

  • Decide whether you’ll print the stages of the shopping story off, write them out, or display them on screen. It’ll probably depend on how you’re meeting at the moment.

Step 1: I want... but why?

  1. Everyone should chat about what might influence their decisions when they choose to buy, or ask someone else to buy, something.  
  • You might see an advert 
  • Your current one might be broken 
  • You might want to try something new 
  • There might be peer pressure, or people might want to fit in with their friends
  1. Everyone should chat about what happens once they’ve decided what they want to buy. How could they get the money they need to buy it? 
  • Work to earn money
  • Plan a fundraiser
  • Ask for a gift  
  • Win something
  • Save up over time
  • Use a gift card or voucher

Step 2: out of order

  1. Everyone should get into pairs. 
  2. Explain that everyone will be thinking about buying a new piece of equipment for a game at camp.
  3. Give each pair the stages of the shopping story. 
  1. Each pair should put the stages into an order that makes sense to them.




  • See an advert  
  • Go to the shop or website  
  • Look around the shop or website  
  • Decide on the thing you want to buy  
  • Look up other versions of the thing you want to buy 
  • Find the best price for the thing that you want to buy 
  • Start a fundraiser 
  • Raise enough money for the thing 
  • Pay for the thing 
  • Bring the thing to the camp to play  

Step 3: tell your story

  1. Each pair should choose a way to present their story to the group and make it your own. They could act it out, make a poster, write a story with extra details, or place the steps around the space and take your group on a journey. 
  2. All of the pairs should take it in turns to share their story.
  3. Everyone else should listen and ask questions about why other groups chose their order
  4. Once everyone’s had a turn to share their story, everyone should chat about all of the stories.
  • What were the differences between the different stories? 
  • What were the similarities between the stories?  
  • Were there any surprises?
  • Did some people think of things that other people hadn’t thought of? 

Step 4: add an ad

  1. Point out that one of the steps talks about seeing an advert.
  2. Everyone should chat about how often they think that happens in the story.
  3. Someone should tell one of the stories again. This time, everyone should mark out where an advert might influence their decision.
  1. Everyone should chat about how the advert might change the story.



What has everyone learned about the order in which people buy things? What have they learned about the things that influence people’s choices? Where could people use this in their lives?


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

You can try changing some elements of the story – what would change if the thing was very expensive?

What if the story happened over a long time? What if someone wanted to buy an experience, not an item? 

Everyone has different experiences around money – this will probably affect how they understand money and how they take part in this activity.

Make sure everyone understands that all contributions should be welcomed without judgement.

It doesn’t matter if people disagree or have different experiences – they can still be respectful and kind. 

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

Try the activity with only the online, digital elements. For example, instead of ‘walk around the shop’ people would ‘browse the site’. How does this change the stages and their order?

Take a look at more money skills activities.

There are no ‘right answers’ in this activity. It’s important that the young people have the chance to choose their own order and explain their choices.