Today we’re taking a quick break from our Autumn activities to look at an easy-to-prep money project to throw together for your kids. I was at Dollar Tree the other day (insert the sound of angels singing here… ha!) and found an AMAZING veggie/dip tray that was exactly what I had been dreaming of… Becca is super interested in “monies” – mainly because she knows that they buy her things, but also because she gets to put them in her piggy “dank” and they make fun sounds. You gotta love the basic joys of childhood, right? When was the last time you stopped to listen to the sound of money clanking into a piggy bank?
Anyway, I digressed. I wanted to find a way to introduce the coins and their values that would be fun and simple now, but could grow more complex with her understanding. Enter the fabulous veggie and dip tray. (Again, with the sound of angels.)
Here’s what I did – I made this document – made available to you as a free printable! Woohoo – now you really are with me on the angels singing thing, huh? I knew you would be eventually. 😉 Print it out, color the coins (Sienna and Silver are the two crayon colors I used), and cut them out. Then, I used book tape to attach my lovely little coin labels inside each section of the tray.
Then here’s how I used it to teach: First, I sorted through our play coins and pulled out about half of the amount of each coin that we had (only one 1/2 dollar and only one Susan B.) – I didn’t want to be too overwhelming the very first time. Then I reminded her that play money looks a little different than real money (you could totally sort with real money if you had those coins laying around – I got these play coins in a set from the Target Dollar section, so we used these instead of dumping her piggy bank.) I reminded her of the names of the coins, and then told her what each coin is worth – placing one of that coin inside the section where it belongs. Then I encouraged her to sort the coins – looking at their size, color, and pictures to determine which picture they matched with. As she would place the coin in the correct spot, I would say the name of the coin and it’s value. “Good job! That’s a nickel – worth 5 cents.” It wasn’t long before she began parroting back to me whatever coin name and value I had just said. 😉 She got a little distracted and tired of sorting before she was done, but I pulled her back to the activity by doing some of the sorting for her and having her “check my work” to see if I was right. (I threw one quarter in with the dimes, and she did catch me, so I knew she was paying attention… I’m sneaky that way.) All in all, I felt like our first coin lesson went really well, and she asked to sort her “monies” later, so it was obviously something that she found fun and interesting.
Eventually, I would like to do this activity as a building lesson – where she would sort the coins and then count to see how much money she had in each section, and then how much she had in all. Would be a great way to sort her piggy bank before next Christmas – when I plan to have her use some of her piggy bank savings to buy a present for her brother, daddy, and each grandparent. And by that point, she’ll be familiar enough with the activity and with the coins and their values, that that will be entirely possible!
I hope that this activity helps you to make teaching about coins a little more interesting for your child! A fabulous extension that I already have in mind involves bills… you won’t want to miss that coming up here in a couple months! 🙂
Total Prep Time for Mommy – well, for you it’ll be about 5-7 minutes – download your copy of the printable, color, cut, tape, and then grab your “monies!” 🙂
Total Play Time for Becca – our initial lesson and discovery time was about 7 or 8 minutes, but she has played with it several times since then, and with the extensions I plan to do, this tray will be in use in our home for a long time.