Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Recognizing, counting, spending, giving, and saving money are important life skills that should be taught to young children. Educating, motivating, and empowering children to become regular savers will enable them to keep more of the money they earn and do more with the money they spend.

Here is a song and a rhyme that children love to say that will help them identify the different coins and bills we use as money.


Penny, penny,
Easily spent.
Copper brown
and worth one cent.

Nickel, nickel,
Thick and fat.
You're worth five cents,
I know that.

Dime, dime,
Little and thin.
I remember,
you're worth ten.

Quarter, quarter,
big and bold.
You're worth twenty-five
I am told.

THE DOLLAR SONG (to the tune of "Ten Little Indians")

10 little, 20 little, 30 little pennies.
40 little, 50 little, 60 little pennies.
70 little, 80 little, 90 little pennies.
100 pennies make a dollar!

2 small, 4 small, 6 small nickels.
8 small, 10 small, 12 small nickels.
14 small, 16 small, 18 small nickels.
20 nickels make a dollar!

1 tiny, 2 tiny, 3 tiny dimes.
4 tiny, 5 tiny, 6 tiny dimes.
7 tiny, 8 tiny, 9 tiny dimes.
10 dimes make a dollar!

1 big, 2 big, 3 big quarters.
4 big, 4 big, 4 big quarters.
1 big, 2 big, 3 big quarters.
4 quarters make a dollar!


To help the children identify money, you can make simple puzzles for them to put together. For instance, just find an image of the front and back of a quarter on line. Glue the front and back together, then laminate for durability. Simply cut the sheet into large puzzle pieces for a fun activity. It’s a good idea to make the dime a small puzzle and the quarter a large puzzle.


Make a large Qq or quarter on a poster board. The quarter (also called a quarter dollar) is worth 25 cents or 25 pennies. Have one or more children count out 25 pennies. One quarter can be written 25¢ or $0.25. The front of the quarter pictures a left-facing profile of George Washington, the first President of the United States of America.

The front reads, "LIBERTY," "IN GOD WE TRUST," and the year the coin was minted or made. The small initial by Washington is the mint-mark, showing the location that produced the coin (D means Denver, Colorado, S means San Francisco, California, and P means Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).

The back of the quarter pictures the presidential coat of arms (an eagle with outstretched wings). The back reads, "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA," "E PLURIBUS UNUM," and "QUARTER DOLLAR." E PLURIBUS UNUM is Latin and means one out of many.

Let the children make crayon rubbings of the quarter using different color crayons. The children then cut out the rubbings and glue them to the giant poster board. This, too, could be used as a puzzle.

COUNT OUT MONEY (activity found on www.makinglearningfun.com)

Once your children have learned the value of each coin, place some money amounts on index cards in a bowl. As show in the picture above a child picks out $.45 for Cracker Jacks with a circle large enough for a quarter, and two circles large enough for two dimes. When they are ready, eliminate the circle clues, and have them count out the money on their own.

MONEY STORE is great fun. Let your child arrange empty food cartons or boxes to create a store. Either you or your child can put a price tag on each one. For young children the items may cost 1cent to 5 cents each, while older children can handle 10 cents to a few dollars. After shopping at the store they pay you with play money. At first, allow them to buy just one object. When they’re ready, increase the number of items.


Parents should emphasize the importance of money by their example. Explain the difference between a “need” and a “want” using this game. You explain to the children that Mashed Potatoes represents something we “need” to survive as it provides nutrients for our bodies, and that Gravy represents something that may make the mashed potatoes taste better, but it isn’t something we “need” to survive. Therefore it is a “want.” You have then shown the difference between a “want” and a “need.”

The next step is to create flash cards or cut out pictures from magazines and have the children yell out MASHED POTATOES for something that represents a “need” or GRAVY for something that represents a “want.”


Teach the children to set goals by earning and saving money for a particular purpose. Ask them what items they may want to save for. (toy, gift for someone, charity) This helps the children learn the value of money.


Talk about the benefits of a piggy bank or savings account. Make a piggy bank. Use a large plastic jar, four empty thread spools, a milk bottle top and some construction paper. Glue the spools on one side of the jar for the pig's legs. The milk bottle top should be glued onto the plastic jar lid as the pig's nose. Use the construction paper to make pig ears and a curly tail. A grown up can cut a slot in the top of the pig for the money to be put in. Explain that the bank pays them for the use of their money by giving interest. Parents should encourage saving, but allow them to use some of their money on special occasions. Point out the increases in their savings account as interest is paid to them.

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Joshua said...

When they're ready to move beyond the piggy bank their first lessons in finance are in order. Consider opening a savings account with ShoreBank. They offer a High Yield Savings Account with 3.5% APY. Most local banks' savings accounts barely offer a 1% interest rate. That's less than the rate of inflation. And ShoreBank let's you do it all online, so no having to schlep down to the bank just to deposit that $5 bill they got for their birthday. Just transfer the money between accounts. Its as easy as A-B-C. Check them out at http://shorebankdirect.sbk.com.

educationtipster said...

Thanks for the tip, Joshua.