One of the best ways to learn things is by “getting your hands dirty”. And by this I mean using your hands, being able to manipulate and move things to help cement concepts in your brain. Most kids love to be able to move and manipulate things. Give them blocks, Legos, action figures, etc, and they are off and running. One thing that is great to teach hands on is money. With a single jar of change you can create a heap load of learning for your kids.
Hands On Learning With Money
1. Basic Counting & Math Skills
You can give your little ones (old enough that they won’t place coins in their mouth) a heap of coins and just let them count them, regardless of their value. Then you can have them separate them by their looks. Once they have the pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters separated they can count each pile and even make a bar graph to show how many of each they have.
2. Which Coin is Which
Print out a reference sheet or make one of your own. Have your child match each coin to the correct one on the sheet. Along with this have written the value of each one and the name of each one. So you would have a picture of a penny, the word penny, and 1 cent on a piece of paper, and likewise for the other coins. Then you child can take their jar of coins and match them to the right piece of paper while saying, “This is a dime. A dime is worth 10 cents.”
3. Coin Addition & Subtraction
Once they are comfortable with identifying each coin and its worth you can move on to adding and subtracting with coins. I have my kids take a handful of coins and add them up, writing the number down on a piece of paper. Then I have them take away a few coins (adding up the value of the coins they are taking away) and write that number down, creating a subtraction problem. They then complete the problem by counting was is left in their original pile.
4. Making Change
Making change is a lost art in this world of computers, but is still an important skill in my opinion. All my kids loved to play store. We used that as an opportunity to pay and make change. Another way you can do it is by creating a printable price sheet of items. Then have your children create problems by picking things to purchase, telling what money amount they would give to pay for it, and then making the change in return.