Learning about money is one of the most useful numeracy skills that our children need to learn and it is something that children love to learn about because they can see it’s usefulness in everyday life.
To start with young children can use penny coins as simple counters in the same way that they use any manipulative to practice counting and as a tool in simple sums. They also enjoy playing with coins and they make great sorting materials – can they sort the brown (copper) coins from the silver ones? the shaped ones from the round ones? the big ones from the small ones? can they match the same coins together? Talk about the similarities and differences between the coins.
Young children often struggle with the fact that five coins do not equal five pence or that a 2p piece is equal to two 1p coins. One way to help teach them about this is to play games exchanging coins so giving them a pile of pennies and then swapping the 1p coins for 2p pieces, and then 5p pieces. Gradually work towards 10p pieces. Don’t forget to explain that there are no 3p or 4p pieces. Money snap can help children to practice recognise coins and values.
Children love to play shops this helps them to develop skills in handling money, begin to find out about the purpose of money and encourage them to develop money vocabulary – cost, total, change etc.
You can also help children understand money by getting them involved in using it for its proper purpose, so if they are buying some sweets or a magazine, get them find out the price of their choice, count out the coins and hand them over at the till and then collect the change.