Teaching kids about money with simple activities

Change jars, heavy change purses and coins discarded around the house can be a source of easy and fun economics activities for young children. One resourceful grandson reported finding five dollars in change just laying around the house.

Econ Activities

For this activity you’ll need a container, assorted coins, a magnifying glass, paper, and a pencil.

To start, take out a container of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters when your children need a new quiet activity. Make a game out of sorting the coins into piles according to denomination. Younger children will use shape, color and size to determine the correct pile. As you work together, mention the names of the different coins. Line up each type of coin and count how many in each category. Which group has the most coins? Which has the fewest? Count the pennies one by one. Older kids can practice counting the nickels and dimes by fives and tens. Show how to write the cent and dollar signs.

Use a magnifying glass to study pictures, numbers, and words on coins. What do they mean? Why are they on the coins? New state quarters are especially interesting.

Look in the paper or at stores to see how much things cost. Children can make simple copies of the coins by rubbing over the surface of the metal. Older children will like to play an exchange game where you trade pennies for nickels, and dimes from a pile of coins. You can play simple games based on “heads or tails.” Cover three coins with cups, one being tails. Move them around and ask children to pick up the cup with the tails coin. Teach children to flip a coin and call heads or tails similar to a football game. Use heads or tails to decide who goes first.

Sorting Skills

Sorting things by similarities is a very useful skill for reading, science and math. Teach young children to count by touching each object. By teaching coin names, we are helping children to understand our monetary system. Adults can use this time to talk about how people earn money and how your family uses money to buy things. Transparent “Savvy Pig” savings banks can help children collect coins. These special piggy banks are divided into “save,” “spend,” “donate,” and “invest” sections to help teach children to portion out their money and save and give to charity. When your children have a little money they will have a better understanding of economics.

Be sure your children know not to put money in their mouths and continue to watch them. It’s also a good idea to wash hands after handling money.

— — —

For more economics lessons to help children be successful and reduce the stress of childcare, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/Learning ThroughtheSeasons live and pod casts; Facebook, and Pinterest.