3 Real Money Activities for Learning

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A couple of weeks ago, I sent out an email to newsletter readers that asked them if they’d like to share an activity they’ve done with their kids as a guest post. These are three money activities from Summer. These are three ways that she had her two kids (of different ages) learning with money.

Are you looking for an activity to do with kids at different ages and skill level? This one will certainly keep your kids motivated and focused for a while.  And ssssshhh, they’ll learn something too.

Perhaps you’re stuck indoors and looking for something to do with your kids. These activities with real money can be done with multiple age levels at the same time and adapted to fit the needs of most children’s interest and skill level.

3 easy money activities for 2 to 6 year olds

A few weeks ago, I did a money counting activity with my two boys (2 and 5).

I wanted something they could both do with real coins, but my 2 year old is still practicing counting while my kindergarten son is just starting to learn about coin values and counting money.

You’ll see what I did isn’t fancy nor does it require lots of prep or fancy fonts/graphics. Just a few standard supplies. Easy peasy!

I got out some coins from our change jar and a muffin tin and let them explore, play, and sort. I just wanted to give them a chance to touch it before I asked them to do anything with it. They loved it.

Over the course of a week or two we left the money out and they got to “play” with it however they wanted.

You just need a few items you already have around your house!

Hand over your money to your kids! Sounds scary, but really, try it.

Give a small handful of change to your kids and let them play with it. They can sort it, count it, add it, or organize it another way.

Money Activity 1: Sorting Coins

Two and three year olds can sort coins based on their size or the color.

While older kids (4-6 year olds) can sort based on their proper name (quarter, dime, nickel, penny), value, size, and/or color.

Sorting coins - 3 easy money activities for 2 to 6 year olds

Money Activity 2: Counting Coins

Younger kids can count coins using one-to-one correspondence. Not worrying about the coin value itself.

Counting coins - 3 easy money activities for 2 to 6 year olds

Older kids can count out enough of each coin to make $1.00.

Count aloud by tens for dimes – 10, 20, 30, 40, etc. or for quarters 25, 50, 75, 100.

Counting coins - 3 easy money activities for 2 to 6 year olds

Money Activity 3: Matching Correct Number of Coins

Younger kids can work on purely number recognition and counting.

Write a number on a card and they say the number then match it with the correct number of coins (regardless of coin value).

Glue the correct number of coins onto a paper wallet.

Matching Coins to Amounts - 3 easy money activities for 2 to 6 year olds

Make it more difficult for older kids. Create paper “wallets” with different amounts ($0.22, $0.61, $0.84 etc).

Glue coins onto paper adding up to the different amounts.

Make a poster for their room!

With packing tape, stick their wallets onto a larger paper and make a poster for their room.

They can count again and again! (I taped over the coins so they didn’t fall off the poster!)

Matching Coins to Amounts - 3 easy money activities for 2 to 6 year olds

There is so much you can do with money and kids.

I hope these ideas get you started.

Remember, you can leave some change in the sorting bin and let the kids enjoy and learn from it for several days/weeks.

Perhaps they can even clean/organize their rooms and set up their own toy store?

Find 40 number activities for preschoolers here.

Why these money activities worked:

  • It was the same, but different!
  • Used real money!
  • Both children could touch and sort the money
  • Both children were counting money
  • Both children made paper wallets
  • Both children made a poster
  • Both children used a skill they were interested in
  • Very little prep for parent
  • Used supplies I had on hand already
  • No fancy worksheets, fonts, or clip art needed

Notes for Mom

Anytime I can use real money to teach – I will. They were highly motivated. I did let them keep a few coins for their piggy banks when we were done.

Small hands get tired of squeezing glue.

Kids were motivated to hang their posters in their bedrooms.

Kids will not glue money in the same order you will (straight lines, like coins together). It’s okay. Be like Frozen and “let it go!”

Kids will choose 3 nickels for $0.15, instead of 1 dime and 1 nickel. It’s okay. Don’t say anything. They are correct. :)

The money will clink loudly in the muffin tin – the boys liked it even if Mommy didn’t.

Summer is a former elementary and middle school teacher. She is currently a stay at home mom to two active boys.