Learning to Count Money: Help for Kids

Counting money and making change are important skills that children can start learning at an early age. You can teach your kid how to count money by following these guidelines.

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Ideas for Teaching Your Kid to Count Money

Introduce Coins and Bills

When your child can count from 1-5, you can begin teaching him to count money. Start with five pennies or five $1 bills. Then show that five pennies are worth the same as one nickel, two nickels are the same as one dime and so on. As he learns to count to higher numbers, you can add other appropriate coins and bills until he is familiar with the whole range of currency.

Keep a Money Jar

Encourage your child to save money in a clear jar. Some children do this to save money for a project or an item they want to buy. Ask her to count the money every so often to see how close she is to having the amount she needs.

Alternatively, you could purchase a money jar with a lid that automatically counts the money as it's put in the jar. This might be helpful in motivating your child to continue saving. She can count what the total will show when she puts in a certain coin.

Play Games

Play store with your child. Your fake merchandise can be items from the pantry or closet, pictures from magazines or simply imaginary. You can use real money or play money. Take turns being the customer and the store keeper. Help your child learn how to make change.

You can find online games that teach kids about money. Skills taught in these games include counting coins and making change. More advanced games focus on financial management, saving and investing.

Use Real-Life Experiences

Whenever you go to the store, gas station or the bank, there are opportunities to teach your kid how to count money. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. In a restaurant, let him count out the tip money.
  2. At an automated teller machine, let him count the money you take out.
  3. In a store, your kid can choose the proper bills and change to pay for an item; allow him to give the money to the clerk.
  4. In a store, he can also tell you how much change you will get and count it back for you.
  5. At the gas station, let him count out the different amounts of money for a gallon of each grade of gas available.
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