Little boy counts money on a table with his piggy ban beside him

Teach money with loose change: three tips to try

By Buckaroo Staff

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When children reach the age of five or six, they’re old enough to begin learning the value of coins.

As a parent, it’s a perfect time to start teaching them about money by incorporating coins into everyday activities:

Turn coins into a game

Play board games that require play money—but use real coins instead. With slightly higher stakes, your kids are more likely to remember the values of pennies, dimes, etc.

Alternately, you can play “Exchange!”, a game in which players learn how to (you guessed it) exchange coins. Players roll a die to figure out how many pennies to take.

Once a player has five pennies, she yells “exchange” and trades the pennies for a nickel. The person holding the most nickels when the last nickel is taken wins the game.

Change up allowance day

Rather than giving your child a dollar, offer her three quarters. Ask if she’ll accept that amount and then “negotiate” with her for four quarters. As she learns more, count out other variations of coins that add up to a dollar (or slightly less), and ask her if it’s the right amount.

Make shopping educational

The next time you go grocery shopping, ask your child how many dimes, nickels, etc. you will need to buy specific items. Have her calculate the same amount with each type of coin.

Shopping has other educational benefits too. When the cashier hands you change, ask your child to count it. Not only will it reinforce the value of coins, it’ll help sharpen her math skills as well.

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