As early as age two, children are often ready to learn about money. They have likely witnessed you spending money, writing checks, and using an ATM card. Here are some fun ways to teach preschoolers about coins and money.
Time Required: Indefinite
Sort Coins by Color: Begin by differentiating pennies from silver coins. Pennies are easily understood as children learn how to count. Practice counting out 10 pennies at a time.
Sort Coins by Size: Work on the difference of the silver coins by grouping the coins by size. Even though children learn the sizes, learning that a dime is worth more than a nickel is a hard concept for young children.
Pretend: Practice by pretending to be a bank and exchanging money - 10 pennies for 2 nickels and 2 nickels for a dime. Another pretend game to practice is to operate a store where your child can buy his own toys.
Recognize Opportunities: Keep your eye out for moments perfect for teaching. Using a toll booth, buying milk, and leaving a tip are all great opportunities to explain to your child what you are doing and why. The best learning opportunities are just regular day-to-day activities.
Use a Piggy Bank: Give your child a piggy bank to save his money in. You may want to consider a clear container so it's easy for your child to see how much is in his piggy bank.
Use a Coin Counting Machine: Unloading all your coins into the machine at a bank is a fun way to deposit money into a savings account; it's also a great way to practice coin counting.
Introduce Paper Money: Once your child has mastered coins, it is time to introduce paper money. In a child's eye, coins are probably more valuable than paper money. Over time they'll begin to understand the relationship.
- A toy cash register (buy direct) is a great gift for a three year old to practice learning about money.
- Short lessons are best. Remember that preschoolers have a short attention span.
- Your children are watching you. Setting a good example will likely provide the strongest lessons for your child; be aware of the messages that you are sending about money.
- Make learning fun.
What You Need
- Paper Money
- Container for a piggy bank