Keep your kids occupied with “Dollars and Sense”

By Buckaroo Staff

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It’s every parent’s nightmare: you’re stuck in a long line at the drive-through or in the middle of a road trip, and your kids are growing bored, loud and impatient.

…But don’t pull out the iPad just yet!

Parents can use this idle time for learning fun.

If you’re like a lot of parents, your ashtray probably serves as a change-holder. What better time than sitting in the car to have a quick lesson in math and the value of money? Dig out the following for each child:

  • Quarter
  • Nickel
  • Dime
  • Penny

From biggest to smallest (or whatever order you prefer), ask your kids to tell you their names. The lesson can be more or less complex, depending on the ages of your kids. First, hand over one of each coin to each child. Have them repeat after you, “This is a quarter! This is a Nickel!” And so on.

Once they have the names down, you can move on to denominations. A penny is one cent. A nickel is five cents! How many fingers is one? How many fingers is five? If a penny is one cent, how many pennies make up a nickel?

As your kids start to get the concept (and are hopefully more distracted), you can press their math skills. Ask them how many nickels make up a dime? Which coin can buy the most candy at the store?

By the time you reach your destination, your little mathematicians will be coming up with their own counting games. And the best way to keep them interested in “Dollars and Sense”? Let them pocket the change for their own piggy banks.

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