The lesson in missing toilet paper - MetroFamily Magazine
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The lesson in missing toilet paper

by Rebecca McGee & Amy Lee

Reading Time: 2 minutes 

If you’re like us, being home more than usual in the coming weeks and being responsible for your children’s education might be a bit daunting. How do you turn not-so-normal life into lessons that will stick? How do you seize this opportunity to teach life lessons schools might not emphasize? We have a few ideas.

Homeschool moms will tell you everything in life is an opportunity to teach. Yes, even the empty shelves that should be holding toilet paper.

Did you know the fact of limited resources is an economic idea? Have you ever found yourself saying “no more” or “all gone” to your young child? You were teaching economics. It looks like we will be spending more time than expected in the upcoming weeks with our kids, so now is a great time to revisit that concept.

Here are a few activities you can use to quickly teach your kids an economics lesson that will stick (and let you claim a parenting win for the day!)

  1. Elementary: Teach them the song Oh, Scarcity (to the tune of Oh, Christmas Tree). Talk about the song and what it means. Go back to that idea of “all gone.” What ideas does your child have about how people can work together so the toilet paper shelves won’t be empty?
  2. Middle School and High School: Ask your child why did everyone buy toilet paper? (Fear of not enough or scarcity.) Talk about what happens when resources are limited and people begin to buy more. Stores begin either raising prices or limiting purchases. Explain to your kids that scarcity is not being able to have all of the goods or services you want. Talking about the game and playing Musical Chairs is a great way to explain this concept. What happens when our resources (chairs) are reduced? How do people act as the resources continue to be reduced and there are not enough? Play this Scarcity Video and talk to your kids about how scarce resources in the news apply to this.

For all ages, after you’ve talked through the concept, ask them to make a video about scarcity (acting out or explaining the concept, make a news story or sing their newly learned song), send it to their grandparents or other family members and ask them if they have ever experienced scarcity.

Rebecca McGee is a mom to three kids, an advocate for foster and adoptive families and a financial professional in Oklahoma City. She owns and loves helping businesses provide retirement plans for their employees. She regularly tortures her kids with what they call the “F” word in their family — financial education. 

Amy Lee is a mom to four kids and has been in financial education for 12 years. She serves as executive director of the Oklahoma Council on Economic Education, a nonprofit with the mission to promote personal finance and economic education in Oklahoma. She spends her days taking the EEK! out of economics for parents and teachers.

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