Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Money and Learning

Coins are a great manipulative to teach children a variety of math skills. Many kids have a natural love of playing with coins and valuable skills can be acquired playing with them. Practical chores can be accomplished and life skills learned.

Sorting coins
Many families have jugs or coin holders that hold their loose change. Even young children with supervision can be taught to sort coins that are similar. Pennies can be placed in a container with pennies, nickels, with nickels and so forth. Children can start to learn the name of the coins and you can play games trying to match coins in a pile. For instance in a pile of coins have them find pennies, quarters, or dimes.

Pennies make good counters for children. Family members often have quite a few they are willing to donate to the educational cause. Children can have practice sorting them into piles, setting up stacks up ten to practice place value, and using them to work through a variety of problems.

Skip Counting
Coins are a wonderful way to teach skip counting. Most people start skip counting with 2’s and 3’s and 5’s, and 10’s. Pennies, nickels, and dimes are a great way to demonstrate what they are counting. Pennies give the actual numbers and then nickels and dimes start to represent the skipped numbers.

Practical Applications
Teach your children how to roll coins. Many people have started to use the automatic coin machines to redeem their change. Some of these are free and some have fees. However, a great teaching moment is missed when you allow the machine to do the counting. While it is time consuming, if you commit regular time to rolling your change with your kids you will see benefits. Math skills improve and there is a personal understanding between work and savings. They can see how savings builds.

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