Teaching Preschoolers Functional Money Skills: Part 1

What does your preschooler know about money? 

In the U.S., children typically need to master a set of money skills by second grade.  This includes being able to correctly use $ and ¢ symbols and solving word problems with bills and coins.  

In this two part series Teaching Preschoolers Functional Money Skills, we will look at how preschoolers can begin to explore early money skills.  In Part 1, we focus on how preschoolers can begin to identify the values of coins and bills (ex. a nickel is worth 5¢) and sort them by value.  In Part 2, we look at the function and purpose of money.  

To begin our money exploration, we played a fun dice game to explore money amounts.  Before we began our game, though, we identified the name of our bills and ordered them by value.

First our bills.

Then our coins.  

We named each bill and coin and talked about how much each was worth.  We bought our felt money set from Target, but you can purchase it from Amazon here (aff link).  Any money set would easily work, though we liked the thickness of this felt money as opposed to paper money we have experimented with in the past. 

We then sorted out all the money.  My toddler was even able to help with this part, since the coins and bills were categorized by color.  

After our money was sorted, we started our game.

This is a short, simple game that is perfect for preschoolers (and even older toddlers).  Put all the coins in the middle.  Have one child roll the dice and collect that coin amount shown on the dice.  The next player rolls the dice and collects the amount shown.  They continue taking turns until all coins have been collected. At the end of the game, they sort and count their coins. 

To play the game, you will need a dice with coin amounts on it.  We got a set of these wipe off dice from Target (Also on Amazon aff link).  They are nice because you can easily wipe off the money values and reuse the set for a different game.  You could also easily make your own money dice (something like this) if you want, too.

The game can also be played with the dollar bills. Write the dollar amounts onto the dice, pile all the money into the center, and have the children roll and collect the one, five, ten, twenty, fifty, and hundred dollar bills.  Have the children sort and count their money.

My children had a blast playing this game.  Next time we play, I think we will try using both dice and have them collect dollar bills and coins together!

In Part 2 of Teaching Preschoolers Functional Money Skills, we continue our exploration of money skills for preschoolers and create our own store to do some shopping.  You can find it here.

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