Keep a jar of pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, and a few half-dollars
handy. It can be useful
in many ways.
The task your youngest child can accomplish is sorting: putting all the
coins together. While doing
this, be sure that you use all the names of the coins,
to introduce this concept.
Counting the coins is useful for children of this age.
Once children are familiar with the names of the coins, teach the value
each one. Kids will need
a sense of value before they can tell you which is worth
more or less than other
other. Compare quantities. After being able to count the
number of coins, ask, “Do
you have more pennies or more dimes?” and
questions like that.
After children are secure in counting by one, introduce counting by other
multiples. Children feel
proud to be able to count by 5, 10, 25, and 50.
In addition to that, it speeds the possibility that they will learn about
most important math concept
of all: that mathematics is all about patterns.
Children will soon recognize
that, for example, as 70 follows 60, 170 follows 160,
570 follows 560, etc.
A next appropriate step in using the money jar is counting the money
when there is a mixture
of coins. Always start with the largest coin in hand. For
example, if there are six
quarters, four dimes, five nickels, and four pennies, the
counting will be: 25, 50,
75, $1.00, $1.25, $1.50, $1.60, $1.70, $1.80, $1.90, $1.95,
etc. Children need to learn
to stop counting by one multiple and then continue
As a sideline, use the coins to teach your child about American history:
names of the presidents
on the coins we see and use every day.
Many thanks to Marge Collins of Palo Verde School for teaching me the
many uses of the money jar
when our Elizabeth was in her class. Even teachers
learn from teachers!
This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children
Well: A Teacher’s Advice for Parents.