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Money Games to Make


Learning about money is a valuable life skill for children to learn. Children need to learn the value of each bill and coin, how to add different amounts together, how to count change and how to quickly estimate the total price and how much change he will get back. To reduce frustration, young children should learn how to count by 5s and 10s before learning to count money. Children learn how to count money best with a hands-on approach that lets them see and say the value of each coin or bill.

You can make your own money games to teach children about money. To get you started, here are some games that are easy to make at home.

1. Make Play Money

You can make your own set using paper and markers or crayons. Cut out circles for the coins, but be mindful to make them different sizes so they are easier to distinguish. Bills do not have to be to scale, but should have the value clearly marked on them. Your children can help by writing the value on the coins and bills and coloring pictures. You can also purchase a set of play money with both bills and coins to help your child learn.

2. Create a Store: Be the Cashier

Create a pretend store with your child where he is the cashier and you are the shopper. Select favorite toys, food items or anything else. Mark each one clearly with a numeric value. For younger children, select prices in multiples of 5 or 10, but older children can use odd numbers to practice addition and subtraction. Shop your pretend store and take items to the cashier. Your child can use pencil and paper or a cash register to figure out the total amount owed. Give your child pretend money over that amount so he will have to make change. Ask the child to estimate how much change you will get back and then figure out the exact amount.

3. Create a Store: Be the Shopper

You can reverse roles and let your child be the shopper. Give him an allowance and help him select the items he wants to purchase without overspending. Teach him to estimate the price in his head while shopping to stay within his budget, and he should also estimate how much money he will have left after paying. When he makes his selection, use pencil and paper to add the total price together and see how much change he will receive. Compare these to his estimations to see if he was close.

4. Estimation

Learning estimation is valuable in everyday life. Your child needs to learn how to estimate so he can stay within budget at the store, and also to quickly verify that no mistakes were made during checkout. He should also be able to quickly figure out an estimation of change and also the exact amount to watch for mistakes during the transaction.

You can create estimation games at home by trying to figure out how many items are in a bag, jar, or other container. When you bring home a bag full of groceries, have your child try to guess how many items are in the bag; older children can try to guess the amount of money you spent on the bag of groceries.

5. Homemade Money Board Games

While you can purchase money board games at the store, you can also make your own money games. Make a simple money game by drawing spaces on a piece of cardboard and filling in each square with different money amounts. Roll a die and for each space you land on you "earn" that much play money. For older children you can also include negative amounts to pay into the "bank". The child with the most amount of money at the end of the game wins. You can replicate many board games that are available in the store. Challenge your kids to help you design them and they'll probably impress you.
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