Activity Idea: Free Money

Here’s a quick little activity to get students excited about the search for free money.  Got the idea from recent Ron Lieber column in NY Times as well as entertaining workshop by Peter Bielagus at the JumpStart National Conference.

So, what am I talking about.  Here goes (from NY Times):

There are tens of billions of dollars sitting in the unclaimed property funds that states run, just waiting to be taken back by rightful owners who have lost track of various stock dividends, tax refunds, bank accounts and the like.

Yes, you read that right; tens of BILLIONS of dollars going unclaimed.  So, here’s the activity:  have your students see if they or their family has some of this unclaimed property that is available to them.  What websites can they search?

At, you can search many states’ unclaimed property databases simultaneously. Check your own state’s individual site as well, just to be sure you picked up everything; you can find a link to it at

Let students have some fun with this and see if they can find celebrities with money coming to them too.  Enjoy!