“One-two-three-four,” Allie counted as she pulled her “quarters” out of her piggy bank. All the coins were quarters. When she got to the teens, she counted “sixteen, eighteen, sixteen, eighteen, sixteen, eighteen.”
As adorable as it was to watch and listen to her counting her moneys, I decided to step in and help her to learn a little about the moneys themselves.
(I love how she calls them all moneys. I can’t help myself.)
Learning to Count Money Materials
The materials are really easy for this one.
- A box or bowl of coins (Allie stuffed them all into her piggy bank when she was done. Don’t give a preschooler money you intend to get back.)
- 4 smaller bowls (We used glass bowls because Allie liked the clink-clink-clink of the money in the bowls.)
1. Help your preschooler to identify the 4 different kinds of coins. Talk about how the quarter is the biggest and has a grooved edge. Talk about how the nickel is smaller than the quarter but bigger than the dime, and how it has a smooth edge. The dime is the smallest and has a grooved edge. The penny is the only one that’s copper-colored (or brown depending on how old they are).
We had a mix of old-style and new-style coins, so I didn’t talk much to her about the heads and tails of the coins. It would have been too confusing.
2. Put one or two of examples of each coin into a different cup, so the quarters are separate from the nickels, which are separate from the dimes and the pennies.
3. Encourage your preschooler to sort the coins. Most preschoolers love to sort things, so this is the easiest part. Help her to see why the nickels don’t go in the quarter bowl, and why the dimes don’t fit with the pennies.
Let her make some mistakes and encourage her to self correct by asking, “Does that look like it fits there?” or “Does that look right to you?”
This didn’t last a long time, maybe 20 minutes or so, but Allie really enjoyed it, and it set her up for understanding that the different coins are different and have different values. After doing it a couple of times, she’s really clear on the fact that there are 4 kinds of coins.
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