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Counting Money

Date: 06/28/97 at 19:17:10
From: Kimberly Mathis
Subject: Counting money

Dr. Math,

My name is Kelsey Watson and I am going into the third grade. I am a
very good student in all subjects but math. My mom has been working
with me, but she is also a student and she works very hard with her 
own work.  Please give me some ideas about counting money because 
sometimes I have problems counting it.

Thank you,

Date: 06/28/97 at 20:05:14
From: Doctor Sarah
Subject: Re: counting money

Hi Kelsey -

Good for you and your mom!  I bet your mom is plenty busy.

Here's a Web site that has some suggestions for learning to count and 
use money, for parents and kids to do together:


One game they suggest goes like this:

Money Match

What you'll need:
  A die to roll 
  10 of each coin (penny, nickel, dime) 
  6 quarters 

What to do: 

1. For young players (5- and 6-year-olds), use only 2 different coins
   (pennies and nickels or nickels and dimes). Older children can use
   all coins.

2. Explain that the object of the game is to be the first player to
   earn a set amount (10 or 20 cents is a good amount).

3. The first player rolls the die and gets the number of pennies shown
   on the die.

4. Players take turns rolling the die to collect additional coins.

5. As each player accumulates 5 pennies or more, the 5 pennies are
   traded for a nickel.

6. The first player to reach the set amount wins.

7. Add the quarter to the game when the children are ready.

Counting money, which involves counting by 1s, 5s, 10s, and 25s, is a
challenging skill and usually does not come easily to children until 
about the third grade (so don't worry, Kelsey, if it's hard to 

Here's another activity:

Money's Worth

What you'll need: 

What to do: 

1. Coin clues. Ask your child to gather some change in his or her hand
   without showing what it is. Start with amounts of 25 cents or less.
   Ask your child to tell you how much money and how many coins there
   are. Guess which coins are being held. For example, "I have 17
   cents and 5 coins. What coins do I have?" (3 nickels and 2   

2. Clip and save. Cut out coupons and tell how much money is saved  
   with coins. For example, if you save 20 cents on detergent, say 2
   dimes. Ask your child what could be purchased using the savings   
   from the coupon. A pack of gum? A pencil? How much money could be  
   saved with 3, 4, or 5 coupons? How could that money be counted out
   in coins and bills? What could be purchased with that savings? A 
   pack of school paper? A magazine? How much money could be saved
   with coupons for a week's worth of groceries? How would that money
   be counted out? What could be purchased with that savings? A book?
   A movie ticket?

Counting money involves thinking in patterns or groups of amounts: 1s,
5s, 10s, 25s. Start these activities by having your child first 
separate the coins or coupons by types: all the pennies together, all 
the nickels, all the dimes, all the quarters; the coupons for cereal, 
the coupons for cake and brownie mixes, the coupons for soap.

There are more games at this site, too.

I hope this helps and that you and your mom have fun.

-Doctor Sarah,  The Math Forum
 Check out our web site!   
Associated Topics:
Elementary Addition

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