Sunday, July 6, 2014

Playing to Learn ~ Counting Money and Making Change

Over the past 25 years of my teaching career, I have noticed several shifts in kids' ability to count money and make change. When I first began teaching, I had to teach the students the names of the coins and their worth. Then, the kids recognized the coins and their values and did a pretty good job of figuring out the total amount of money, but making change has always been a bit of a struggle. Now, credit and debit cards are taking over and kids don't see their parents using money much anymore. 

{Personal Creations} contacted me about helping parents keep their children engaged over summer vacation with a 'School All Summer' project, so I thought "Why not play store?" for something fun and educational this summer. Here are some ideas to get you started.

  • Have your child gather some toys to put price tags on. You can also go through the pantry and put price tags on some food items as well. Have them help you with the prices. This will help your child start to recognize the values of items.

  • Arrange the items that are for sale into rows or just use the furniture! It is really fun if you have a toy shopping cart for your child to use too.
  • Give your child some money to spend at their store. It is best to use real money so your child will get the feel of the money, especially coins.    
  • Let your child go shopping! Remind them to pay attention to the prices and the amount of money they have. When finished shopping, head to the cashier. Your child can help you figure out how much they owe and how much change they should receive! You can use a calculator for the total, but let the kids count up to make the change. For example:
Let's say the total comes to $19.33 and you pay with a $20 bill.
  • Start by counting out pennies: 34 (give a penny), 35 (give a penny.)
  • 35 is divisible by 5, so start counting with nickels from 35 to 40 (give a nickel.)  
  • 40 is divisible by 10, so start counting with dimes from 40 to 50 (give a dime.)
  • 50 is divisible by 25, so start counting with quarters from 50 to 75 (give a quarter) and from 75 to $1 (give a quarter) and that gets you to $20.
If you would like a computer challenge, {Change Maker} is an online game for practice making change. So get those kids counting money and making change and let them have a blast doing it!



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. I have a store in my classroom (1st and 2nd grade). My students have the hardest time with money, partially because they don't see their parents using any. (I admit, I'm guilty of using my debit card all of the time as well.) My kiddos don't like our money unit because it is so hard for them to even understand the concept of money, but they LOVE our classroom store. It is the only way they seem to be able to understand money concepts! Thank you for your post!

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