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Trading game

By David, 13 July 2016 Activity

Purple counters near a pencil, blue near glasses, green near a book and white near a bell.

Assign one colour to each of the things on a card.

You will need

  • A copy of the trading game cards, printed out
  • Scissors
  • At least $5 in spare change
  • Counters in four colours
  • Big counter
  • Pencil
  • Paper

Setting up

three dollars in lose change and a card entitiled home town.

Start with three dollars at your home town.

  1. Cut out the nine cards on the trading game sheet. Each card will have a place name and four prices.
  2. Put the ‘Home town’ card in front of you.
  3. Put the remaining eight cards together into a deck. Shuffle them and put them face down on the table.
  4. Count out $3.00 in loose change for your starting money. Put the rest of the money in a pile, known as the bank.

    thirty cents going away, a purple counter coming in.

    Pay money to get counters to sell.

  5. Assign one colour of counter to each of the four items you can buy – pencil, glasses, book and bell. Write down the colours for each item, and put the counters in the bank along with the extra money.

Playing the game

  1. In this game, you will buy and sell items, trying to make money.
  2. Each card represents a shop that you can visit, to buy and sell things. The prices they will use are written on the card.

    An arrow indicating movement from one card to a different one.

    Travel to a new town to sell the things you bought.

  3. Put the big counter on your home town. This counter is you. You start with $3.00 and no items.
  4. Now it’s time to buy and sell goods. The prices are listed on the home town card.
  5. To buy something, give the correct money to the bank, and take one counter of the appropriate colour to represent the item you bought. It is a good idea to buy some things before you leave town.

    a green counter goes out, one dollar comes in.

    Sell your goods to get more money to buy things with!

  6. To visit another town, draw a card from the top of the deck, then put the big counter on the card, to show that you’ve travelled there. The prices at the new town are different from your home town – you might want sell some things, or buy more.
  7. To sell something, put the counter back in the bank, and then take the appropriate amount of money from the bank. If the bank runs out of money, you can write what it owes you on scraps of paper.
  8. Remember you can buy things too – use the instructions in step 5.
  9. When you are ready to leave town, draw a new card from the deck and put your counter on it. Discard the old card – you cannot go back there again.
  10. Keep visiting towns until you run out of cards. Then return to your home town and sell all your things. Count up your money – did you make money or lose it?

What’s happening?

This activity shows the basic ideas of running a shop – you want to buy items when they are cheap, and sell them at a higher price. That way, you can keep the difference!

In the real world, such price differences are what makes trade happen. Coal is cheaper in Australia than in China, so shipping companies buy Australian coal and sell it in China. Cars are cheaper to make in Japan than in Australia, so Australian car shops import Japanese cars.

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