Learning to count coins doesn’t have to be boring! Here are some fun ways to practice counting coins.
WAYS TO PRACTICE COUNTING COINS
Below you’ll find a handful of games and activities to help students practice counting coins. I have started with activities that focus on identifying coins and then I build up to counting coin combinations. Choose the games and activities that best help you meet the needs of your students.
Use Poems and Posters
Whenever I’m teaching about money and counting coins, having tools that students can reference from time to time is incredibly helpful. I like these short poems and posters.
Scoop, Sort, and Count
Once kids have the basic coin identification down, it’s time to scoop, sort, and count. You’ll need a container with coins, a spoon, and a coin sorting mat. Students will scoop and place the coins near the mat and begin sorting.
After sorting the coins into the correct columns, it’s time to count. Depending on the level of your students, there are a few different ways to count the coins:
- count how many of each coin (ex. 3 quarters, 4 dimes, 2 nickels, 8 pennies)
- determine the value of the quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies separately (ex. Q=75 cents, D=40 cents, N=10 cents, P=8 cents)
- find the total value of coins altogether ($1.33)
Then students can use the mat to return the coins to the container and repeat the process.
Graph the Coins
Here’s another activity that focuses on coin identification. Students will count, tally, and graph the coins on the mat. Then, students will answer questions about the graph. For an added challenge, encourage students to determine the value of all the coins on the mat. You can find these graphing activities here.
Cover the Coins
Cover the Coins is another way to practice coin identification. Students can color, dab, or cover each coin. Once students are finished, encourage them to find the total amount of money shown in each row, column, or on the entire board. You can grab two versions of this activity here.
Here’s another activity that helps students see that different coin combinations have the same value and begin looking at total amount of money using the fewest number of coins possible. There are several ways you can use the Trade-Up Mat:
- Roll a die and add that number of pennies to the mat. Continue rolling and adding until students are able to do a trade-up.
- Have students scoop and sort a set of coins onto their mat. Then students look for any ways to trade-up to show the total value in the fewest number of coins.
- Give students a stack of pennies on their mat. Have them count out 5, 10, or 25 coins and exchange the pennies for a nickel, dime, or quarter from you.
Dash to a Dollar
This game is a fun way to keep a running coin combination total while practicing making a trade of ones for a ten. Each player needs a Dash to a Dollar Mat, 10 dimes, and 10 pennies. The players will share one die. On each player’s turn, he rolls the die and adds that number of pennies to his mat. When he has 10 pennies (or more), he returns the 10 pennies to the starting position. He trades them in for one dime that he adds to the mat. The first student to have 10 dimes (or one dollar) on his mat wins the game.
Matching Games and Memory
These piggy bank and coin cards are perfect for a matching center or to use in a Memory game. There are 36 piggy banks and 36 coin combination cards. You can start with the smaller coin amounts and build up, or split the cards up into two (or three) different centers for maximum impact. You can find this game here.
Pocket Change Dice Game
Another fun way to practice counting coins is with this Pocket Change game. There are options for different coin combinations (QDNP, QDN, DNP). In addition to the printable version, this game can be played in Google Slides with an option for the dice to animate directly on the Slide. Watch this clip to see the game in action.
Roll and Build
For this activity, students need 2 dice and a set of coins. The student will roll the dice and then use the coins to build that number in two different ways. For example, the student rolls 63 cents. He might show that amount in these ways: QQDPPP and DDDDDDPPP. As an added challenge, you can ask your students to show the amount in more than two ways, or ask that one way use the fewest number of coins possible.
Grab a handful of coins, but don’t show your students. Tell them, “I have 79 cents in my hand. Who can guess my coins?” Players take turns guessing different combinations until one gets the correct answer. You can repeat the process or have students take turns being the coin holder.
Click below to download some of the freebies mentioned above.
You might also enjoy these money-themed resources:
- Counting Coin Combinations Less Than $1.00
- Spectacular Spending Money Worksheets and Activities
- Addition Shopping Problems with Two Addends
- Addition Shopping Problems with Four Addends
CHILDREN’S BOOKS ABOUT MONEY
Be sure to check out my favorite books about money.
TEACHING TOOLS FOR COUNTING COINS
Here are some helpful classroom tools when teaching students about money and counting coin combinations.
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Want to incorporate money into your daily routine? Try using a classroom economy. You can find out how I did this with my second and third grade students here.
Looking for more ways to make math fun and engaging for your students? Check out these posts:
- Dice Games
- Fun Ways to Practice Doubles
- Making 10 Games and Activities
- Telling Time Games and Activities
- Hundreds Chart Activities
- Domino Activities