# Math Activities | Counting Money

Here’s a **fun activity** for parents to help children practice **counting money, addition, subtraction, estimation and problem solving** using free and inexpensive items that you can find in your home.

In this activity, students will use play money to count out the exact amount needed to purchase an item. While this activity requires a bit of preparation, once you have everything together, you can vary the activity and use the supplies again and again with your students.

#### To begin, gather the following supplies:

*Construction paper in different colors
Pictures from magazines of different toys or household items
Masking tape
Scissors or a large circular punch
Chalkboard or white board
Chalk or dry erase marker*

With your scissors or paper punch, cut out circles from the colored construction paper. This will serve as your paper money. Use one color for half-dollars, another for quarters, another for dimes, another for nickels, and another for pennies. On each circle, write 50, 25, 10, 5, or 1.

Again with your scissors, cut out rectangular pieces from the construction paper to serve as dollar bills. Label them with a 1 or a 5.

Now, on the chalkboard or white board, draw a large outline for your store. This can be a simple drawing with two straight lines down either side with a roof on top. “Inside” the store, tape the magazine pictures to the board. Under each picture, write a price for the item using dollars and cents. For example, under a picture of a box of cereal, you might write “$3.45.”

#### To Play:

Provide each child with play money, giving them both dollar bills and change to work with. Next, choose an item from the store. Have the children come up with the exact amount of money to purchase that item. See how each child worked it out, or ask for volunteers to tell you. There will most likely be more than one way to come up with the correct amount, so write the various ways as they tell you. For example, our cereal could be purchased with 3 one’s, 4 dimes, and a nickel, or it could be bought with 3 one’s, a quarter, and 2 dimes.

#### Variations:

Purchase pre-made play money from the toy store. This money is usually made to size and looks similar to real money.

Have the children count their money. Let them decide individually which item or items they would like to “purchase.” Do they have enough money to purchase all of them?

Choose an item in the store. If you “paid” the students $5 to purchase the item, how much change would they have to give you? How would they make that change (how many dollars, quarters, dimes, etc.)?

Have the children create their own stores on poster board or drawing paper. They can either cut out pictures of the items they want to “sell” from magazines, or they can draw the items themselves. What items would they include in their stores? How much would they cost? If you have many children, place them in groups of two or three, and have them practice “buying” the items from each other.

#### To begin, gather the following supplies:

*Construction paper in different colors
Pictures from magazines of different toys or household items
Masking tape
Scissors or a large circular punch
Chalkboard or white board
Chalk or dry erase marker*

With your scissors or paper punch, cut out circles from the colored construction paper. This will serve as your paper money. Use one color for half-dollars, another for quarters, another for dimes, another for nickels, and another for pennies. On each circle, write 50, 25, 10, 5, or 1.

Again with your scissors, cut out rectangular pieces from the construction paper to serve as dollar bills. Label them with a 1 or a 5.

Now, on the chalkboard or white board, draw a large outline for your store. This can be a simple drawing with two straight lines down either side with a roof on top. “Inside” the store, tape the magazine pictures to the board. Under each picture, write a price for the item using dollars and cents. For example, under a picture of a box of cereal, you might write “$3.45.”

#### To Play:

Provide each student with play money, giving them both dollar bills and change to work with. Next, choose an item from the store. Have the students come up with the exact amount of money to purchase that item. Go around the room and see how each student worked it out, or ask for volunteers to tell you. There will most likely be more than one way to come up with the correct amount, so write the various ways on the board as the students tell you. For example, our cereal could be purchased with 3 one’s, 4 dimes, and a nickel, or it could be bought with 3 one’s, a quarter, and 2 dimes.

#### Variations:

Purchase pre-made play money from the toy store. This money is usually made to size and looks similar to real money.

Have the students count their money. Let them decide individually which item or items they would like to “purchase.” Do they have enough money to purchase all of them?

Choose an item in the store. If you “paid” the students $5 to purchase the item, how much change would they have to give you? How would they make that change (how many dollars, quarters, dimes, etc.)?

Have the students create their own stores on poster board or drawing paper. They can either cut out pictures of the items they want to “sell” from magazines, or they can draw the items themselves. What items would they include in their stores? How much would they cost? Place the students in groups of two or three, and have them practice “buying” the items from each other.

Photo by Billy Verdin