The Great Depression Lesson for Kids: Summary & Facts

Instructor: Kelly Beaty

Kelly has taught fifth grade language arts and adult ESL. She has a master's degree in education and a graduate certificate in TESOL.

The Great Depression of the 1930s was not a good time in America's history. In this lesson, you'll learn about the causes and effects of the Great Depression. You will also learn how the United States emerged from this difficult time.

Losing It All

Just imagine... you have finally saved up enough money to buy something you really want - perhaps an iPod, a bicycle, or a pair of athletic shoes. You go to the bank to withdraw your money, but the bank is closed. Well, not really closed...It has been shut down forever. Now all of that money you saved is gone with the bank.

Fortunately, the United States now has laws to protect the money we put in banks, but this was not the case in the early 1900s. It took the Great Depression to show America the importance of protecting people's money.

Bank Customers in Michigan in1933
Great Depression

The Great Depression

The Great Depression is the name given to a period in history when there was not enough money to go around in America. This time lasted for about ten years, beginning in 1929.

The failure of the stock market, loss of jobs, and bank closings played a huge role in the Great Depression.

Stock is the name given to having a share in a business. For example, if you own stock in the Coca-Cola Company, it means you have paid some money to be a stockholder. When Coca-Cola makes money, you make money, too!

The stock market is a place for buying, selling, and trading stocks. When people stop buying stocks, the companies do not make the money they need to stay in business. Sometimes this results in a stock market failure, or crash.

In 1929, people started taking their money out of the stock market. Without as much money to run on, many businesses could no longer stay open. This caused a high rate of unemployment, or being without a job.

Without jobs, it was hard for people to pay for the things they really needed, like food, clothing, and a place to live. People went to banks to take their money out so that they could pay for these things. Many banks had to close because they did not have enough money in them to stay open.

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