Elementary-Level Math Games Using Money

Working with money is a valuable skill that your child will use for the rest of his or her life. Give your child a head start by practicing at home. The following games provide fun, hands-on practice using real money.

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How to Use Money Games

When elementary students are learning about money, the best way for them to become comfortable working with money is to play with real and fake coins and bills. By counting money and making change, students will get used to counting in multiples and using money. Although elementary students should not forgo hands-on practice, they can also play money games online.

Use money games to reinforce the lessons in school about counting money and to prepare your child for working with decimals. When your child is comfortable enough, give him a chance to practice in a real-world setting. The next time you're at the store, give your child the money to pay. Ask him how much should be given to the cashier and how much should be given back in change.

Three Games that Use Money

Roll the Dice

For this game, you'll need three dice. Give your child dollar bills and pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Have your child roll one die at a time and substitute the numbers for the amount of dollars and change. For instance, if she rolled a two, five and six, then she would count $2.56. To make it extra fun, play with your child. Keep track of all the amounts you roll, and whoever accumulates the most money wins.

Coin Combinations

This game is helpful if your child is struggling to recognize the types of coins. Make sure you have a large supply of each type of coin before playing. Give your child an amount, like $0.75, and ask him to find three combinations to make that amount. He might come up with seven dimes and a nickel, three quarters or 75 pennies. If three combinations aren't challenging enough, work with your child to find as many combinations as possible.

Mock Market

Give your child real-world experience as a vendor by helping her create items to sell to family members and neighbors. For example, you might make bracelets, cookies or drawings to sell. The most important aspect of this activity is that your child gets practice making change.

For instance, say your child sells two bracelets for 25 cents each. Your child will first have to figure out the total ($0.25 + $0.25 = $0.50). Then, if the customer pays with a $1 bill, your child will have to calculate the change (1.00 - 0.50 = 0.50).

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