Show me the money: Part One
L has been showing a lot of interest in money lately, (it starts so young).
“How much is this?” ”How much do I need to buy that?” ”Can I have some of your money?” ”What about daddy? He has a lot of money.”
And it begins.
So I decided that we could start discovering the world of money, one coin at time. This activity is more of a counting activity, and also an introduction to the penny, but most of the methods I use when it comes to introducing a new concept to my children is through hands-on, meaningful experiences. Now this qualifies as hands-on, and counting out objects and physically representing them is a good and developmentally appropriate activity, but it’s just that, an activity (which L seemed to really enjoy by the way).
Children learn best when their experiences are in meaningful, real life situations. That is why, for the most part, I try to integrate what we are learning into something very real and tangible and ‘everyday’. (Nothing would help you get the concept of money down as fast as having to go buy your own food at the store for instance, but that might be a little harsh for my four-year old).
But as far as activities go, this seemed like a fun place to start.
First, cut out squares numbered 1-10 and have your child order them.
(One more disclaimer: Even though learning the ‘signs’ of the numbers is important (the written numeral 8,9, 10, etc.) they do not bear any actual resemblance to the objects (pennies) being represented. Although writing numbers has its place, it is more important for children to construct the mental structure of numbers, and once they do this, than they will have no problem assigning the appropriate ‘sign’ to it. So I don’t encourage pushing writing, ordering or “counting” numbers by rote as first priority, but manipulation of objects to build numerical meaning and understanding).
Then bring out the pennies! Let your child arrange the appropriate number of pennies under the corresponding number cards.
If you place the cards close enough, it will encourage your child to ‘group’ the pennies together (instead of lining them up) which is helpful for when it comes to ‘seeing’ numbers. (Three rows of three is a better visual representation of the number nine, than nine pennies strung out in a row).