Four Fun Activities to Reinforce Money Concepts with Preschoolers

Sending your child off to kindergarten means they’re growing up and becoming more independent.  It’s an exciting time and the beginning of a wonderful journey where they’ll be introduced to new concepts and experiences.  A great way to stay connected with what happens at school is to be on the lookout for ways to reinforce at home the learning that goes on in the classroom.  A great place to start is with money. Here are four fun activities to do with your child to help her learn the names and values of coins:

Sort and Classify

Using a pile of coins, ask your child how she can sort them into different groups.  You may start her off by saying, “Let’s put all the ones with a smooth edge in this group.  These are called nickels and they’re worth five cents each.”  Don’t worry that she doesn’t quite understand the ‘nickels’ and ‘five cents each’ part.  Over time, and with repeated exposure, the names and values will begin to take on more meaning.

Continue to sort into different groups while discussing the attributes (characteristics) of each coin. Ex: the dime is the smallest, the quarter has the American Bald Eagle on the reverse, etc.

Next level:  Count how many coins are in each group.  Ask her which group has the most number of coins, which has the least.

Challenge:  Skip counting.  Line up all the nickels then skip count by fives:  5, 10, 15, 20, etc.  Do the same with the dimes.

Sock Search

Review the attributes of a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter. Then “hide” one of each in an old sock. Have your child reach in and, using touch only, see if he can pull out the…penny…dime…etc. Be sure to put the coin back in the sock before asking him to pull out the next one.  If you like, in the beginning you can have a sample of each coin visible with the name written next to it until he becomes more familiar with the different coins. This also helps him practice reading each name.

Next level: Do the same, but this time ask him to pull out the coin that has a value of five cents, etc.

Money Dice

The next time you play a board game with your preschooler or kindergartener that uses a die, replace it with your own money cube, instead. Click here to print a copy of the template and make your cube.

To play: If your child rolls a ‘nickel’ she moves five spaces, etc.

Challenge:  Use two money dice and have your child add the two values to determine how many spaces to move.  Ex:  one dime + one penny = eleven spaces


Create a 3 x 3 grid for each player and fill each of the nine spaces with a coin, keeping in mind that  kids love to fill in their own spaces.  On a separate piece of paper write the words, four times each: penny, nickel, dime, quarter.  Cut these out and place in a non-see through container.

To play, draw a coin name from the container. Each player places a lima bean or any other small object on the coin on their grid that matches the name.  If there is more than one coin that matches, choose which one to place the bean on.  Keep playing until someone gets three-in-a-row.

Next level:  Create a 4 x 4 grid or play blackout where all spaces get covered in order to win.

Challenge:  Have your child pull out and read the names of the coins.

by Karyn Hodgens, Kids’ Personal Finance Educator and author of Raised for Richness

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