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Teach Your Child How to Count Money

Learning about money, how to earn it, save it, and spend it is of great interest to children! So they are naturally very motivated to learn how to count it.

Children also instinctively recognize money as a medium of exchange and a symbolic form of power. Gradually involving children in the everyday financial affairs of the home makes good sense and will help take the mystique out of those shiny coins and crisp bills.


Preschoolers can begin to count money as soon as they begin learning to count. They may not know coin values, but show them small sets of coins separated by denomination and let them count with you.

Keeping a “piggy Ebank even at this age is a good idea. Children seem to know they are collecting something important. As your child puts coins in her bank, say 1 penny (or other coin name), 2 pennies, 3 and so on. Then go to the next type of coin and repeat. If there are bills to deposit, do the same, separating and naming denominations while counting.

Let your child make small purchases with some of their savings. Have them count out what is needed with you. When you get home redeposit the coins and bills and do the same.

Older preschoolers like to handle money. Sorting money in the sections of a muffin tin, counting while adding, can be fun. As they get older, you may want to say, “Okay, let’s see how many more quarters there are than dimes. EThis will help them to count and compare amounts. Try the idea of equivalence if you think they are ready- 5 pennies equals I nickel, and so on.

Main points to address:

  • Preschoolers can begin to count money as soon as they learn to count.
  • Provide a “piggy Ebank for your youngster.
  • Let your child make small purchases; count the money aloud with them while paying, then count the change.

Grades K-6th

Older children are very interested in earning, saving and spending money. Allow them to continue saving, or go to the bank and open up a savings account. Many banks promote the idea and provide special perks just for kids!

Young elementary children learn “skip counting Eeasily, an important skill for counting money. Practice counting 5, 10, 15, 20, and so on, then 10, 20, 30 …. Count to 100 with 5s, 10s, 25s and 50s. Practice in a sing-song rhythmic way, clapping or rocking back and forth for those kinesthetic learners!

When your child is handed money to make a purchase count it out to them and have them count it back to you. Do this by “adding on Eas you go. Say, “There’s 3 dimes making 10, 20, 30 cents and 1 nickel, makes 35 and 4 pennies makes 36, 37, 38, 39. Eadding on values as you count. It is good to start with the coin of the largest value. You will be surprised how quickly they learn to “add on E

A fun game that 6 to 12 year olds can play is called “Muffin Money E(using the muffin tin mentioned above with 6 sections). Place 50 pennies in one section, and 20 nickels and 20 dimes in two other sections, 8 quarters in another, 2 half dollars in the last. Each player gets 1 penny to start. The youngest player goes first, flipping their penny. If it is “heads E they get to pick another penny. If tails they do not and play goes to the next player. Any player reaching 5 pennies, gets to exchange them for a nickel or keep adding pennies. When a player has three nickels they may flip for a dime. Play is repeated, exchanging 2 nickels for a dime, 2 dimes and 1 nickel or 1 dime and three nickels for a quarter and so on. You may also go backwards (exchanging a dime for 2 nickels for example) if you need to. The goal is to continue flipping, earning and exchanging coins until you have enough for a dollar. This can be played with coins from any nation, just change the amounts needed for exchange.

Kids love to spend money. Teaching them to save one-third, spend one-third and give one-third (for gifts, church, charity) is good training. Each time they have an opportunity to handle money they will become better and better at counting money and knowing the value of it!

Main points to address:

  • Learning to “skip count Eis good preparation for counting money.
  • Buying and receiving change is excellent practice in counting money.
  • Games with real money can provide practice in a fun way.
  • Teach your child to save 1/3, spend 1/3 and give 1/3.

Resources that can help you in your venture include:

Posted in Education.

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