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Money Games for Kids

counting coinsThese money games, played with pocket change, are brain-teasing ways to pass the time while waiting at a restaurant, in the doctor’s office, or taking a long ride!


  • pocket change (pennies, nickels, and dimes)
  • Directions:

    1. When your child is not looking, take a few coins (two or three) from your pocket or wallet and add them up. Then tell your child how many coins you are holding, as well as their total value, and invite your child to name the coins. (For example, “I have two coins worth fifteen cents. What could they be?”)
    2. Once your child has given an answer, ask “What makes you think I have those coins?” If your child comes up with an answer that doesn’t name what you are holding, talk about the coins and their values. Could your child’s answer be correct as well? Together, do the simple arithmetic to check.
    3. Switch roles and let your child do the same with two or three coins, asking you to name what the coins could be. Have fun — suggest an incorrect answer once in a while so your child can correct you!

    Parent Tips:

  • This activity helps your child with learning coin values, and with addition and developing reasoning skills.
  • Start with combinations of pennies, nickels, and dimes. Once your child is comfortable with combinations of these coins, include quarters.
  • To make the game harder, don’t reveal how many coins you are holding, just give the total. Work together to figure out all the coin combinations for that amount.
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