Our students often need a lot of practice and repetition to learn skills. It can be challenging to find ways to keep their attention in practice when they need to practice a skill over and over. Here are some fun & engaging ways to practice coins & money in different ways without students getting bored.
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Piggy back coin boards
These are one of my students’ favorite ways to work on counting coins. Each student has a laminated coin board. The coins have velcro and the students “build” the correct amount of money on their piggy bank in the middle of the board when given an amount. We use these coin boards in both groups and one-to-one settings.
- Use in a group setting: give students an amount and have them create it in their piggy bank. Next, have each student show how they made the amount. Then…
- Have students look to see the different ways to combine coins to make the same amount. Have students count out their coin combination aloud to buil in more practice.
- Figure out who use the most coins, who used the least coins, etc.
- Use one on one with students:
- Students combine coins to a given amount. Practice combining the coins in different ways to the same amount.
- I build an amount on my board and the student has to figure out the amount. Next, you could have the student combine coins to show a different way to make that amount of money.
- Let the student try to trick the teacher by creating a secret amount of money in the piggy bank that the teacher has to figure out.
Using the piggy bank boards is a fun and easy way to get in coin practice as well as comparing money.
hands-on coin practice in task boxes
My students all really enjoy doing their task bins every day using a three-drawer system, with one activity in each drawer. We use highly motivating materials so that my students will want to do the work by themselves. Having several different hands-on tasks for coins and money has been key to keeping students engaged in practice. We use matching boards, clip cards, sorting boards for sorting by coin and/or value, etc. in task bins. These are leveled so that I have appropriate materials for each of my students depending on what they have mastered. Here are some examples of the hands-on money practice my students enjoy using:
use games to practice coins
Playing games is another fun, engaging way to practice coin skills without students realizing that they are working and learning.
- Use coin or money Memory games to target:
- matching coins
- matching coins & value
- matching groups of coins with the collective amount
- Use board games with bankers to practice:
- adding money
- counting out money
- adding/subtracting money
- Bingo games are great for working on:
- working on mixed coins
- matching coins
There are so many game possibilities, you might just have to get a little creative!
Coin practice in morning meeting
Add coin & money practice into your morning meeting or circle time. We use a set of large, magnetic coins that works great during morning meeting. If your whiteboard isn’t magnetic, use a large cookie sheet to display the coins.
Each day we put up a different amount of money on our cookie sheet. Some days we do whatever the date is on the calendar, sometimes I just choose an amount, and sometimes I let a student decide how much we will put up.
The great part is that I can get all of my students involved, regardless of their skill level with money. I can ask one student to simply find me a dime, then another student to get me a coin worth five cents. I might then ask another student with higher money skills how much we have so far, and what we still need to get to our given amount. We then count it up as a group. My kiddos love using the big coins!
Pre-vocational task bins practice with coins
Pre-vocational activities naturally lend themselves to coin and money practice. There are many ways to create pre-voc tasks to use in independent work systems. Here are a few favorites from our class:
- Sort a pile of real coins into containers or cups by type or value of coin.
- Have a muffin tin with cupcake liners in each spot that have an amount written listed. Students have to put in the correct amount of coins in each liner to make the amount shown. This task is great because you can easily customize it to different students’ levels.
- For students working on giving change back, I write a money word problem on a card and put it in a baggie. The student figures out the word problem and then puts the correct amount of money into the baggie.
- To make the activity even more functional, you can hide a paper with an amount in a wallet or change purse. The student has to put that amount of coins or money into the wallet or purse.
Set up a store or restaurant play area
These are both fun, engaging ways to get students to practice coins and money. You can also tailor these to different students and their levels with little effort. For example, I also have money trays that I use with some of my students who have level 2 money skills. I will give them a scenario tailored to their family or interests and they have to give me the correct amount of money.
For example, I might say “You went to the grocery store and bought strawberry milk that cost $3.79 and goldfish crackers that cost $2.50. How much money did you spend in all?”. The student would use a whiteboard to figure it out and then give me the correct amount of money. I do this for giving the correct change back too, and again I can easily modify it for different students. My students really enjoy listening to my story to hear what they bought. Remember, play is learning!
use boom cards for varied practice
I try to limit electronics in my classroom (my students spend way too much time on screens at home!), but we do use BOOM Learning which my students really enjoy. Being on the iPad or Chromebook is something the students enjoy which helps prevent students from getting bored with more coins and money practice. It’s also a nice way to generalize their money skills to a different platform.
Keeping our kids engaged and interested in practicing a skill over and over can be challenging. The key is finding new and different ways for them to work on and practice their skills. It naturally helps students generalize while building in the high level of practice they need. There are so many great options for working on coins and money that will hold your student’s attention and help them enjoy what they are learning!