Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters – Money,Money,Money!

 The Question:

Stephanie Biggins-Pacheco writes:

Does anyone have any good suggestions for teaching about money? My class is having a tough time with nickels and recognizing the coins. Our math series doesn’t do the job very well.

The Answers:

Janet Shindelbower Reiter

 I do it with calendar every day. Make the date in cents.

Amber Monson Schaefer

Our math series doesn’t even cover the coins until spring. In January, I do a coin day for each of the coins, in hopes that they’ll remember them for the end of 2nd quarter assessments. We do coin stampings on that day and read the Scholastic books that go along with the coins. I find that the more realistic information I can give them about the coins and their origin, the more they care and the more they remember. Then, in February, we do a book with the presidents (to go along with President’s Day) and focus on the coins some more. Dr. Jean’s Money Song is also a good learning tool.

Laurie Traut

 I have little rhymes for the 4 coins to help them remember the values and names. Then I incorporate it into my calendar everyday…whatever the number of the day is we need to find that value in money. We utilize the smartboard to do this now but before I just had magnets on the back of real money and put them on my whiteboard and did the same thing. Hope that helps!

Katy Rose Mitchell 

At the beginning of the year, as part of our calendar routine, I added a penny each day to our calendar wall. (I used large cut out coins that I found at Dollar Tree) After 5 days, we talked about how 5 pennies could be turned in for a nickel, and then I posted the nickel. This is the first year I have done this, and my kids have done so well in ID’ing the coins and their value. We even added the half dollar to the mix. It takes a few weeks, but they learned much quicker than waiting until Feb, when I used to introduce it.

You could start it for the second semester. If you can’t find the coins at Dollar Tree, then find some online and enlarge them. It is very effective!

Pamela Boulter Patrick 

I used to create a “class store” and place small pictures of toys with prices attached around the room. Each child got a small baggie with plastic coins that they used to “buy” the items. They had to count out the correct change because the cashier (me) wouldn’t give out change. For kids just learning to recognize the coins and their values, I would scatter the plastic coins around the room and have everyone find a “penny” or a coin that is worth “10 cents” and bring it to me. If they were wrong, I would send them back again until they found the correct item. I called it a change hunt. My kids LOVED both of these activities and we would play them numerous times throughout the unit.

Cheryl Plunket Ricks

I also do the day in money. We sing the Dr. Jean songs all year. When they know the coins and values well they tell me all the ways to make that number.

Matt Halpern 

To the tune of Frere Jaques:

Penny one cent, penny one cent,

Nickel five, nickel five,

A dime is worth ten cents, a dime is worth ten cents,

A quarter twenty-five, a quarter twenty-five

I then have four kids come up and hold GIANT plastic coins I found at the Dollar Store when we name each coin. 🙂

Lorna Weikum Miller 

I also do money with my calendar. By the end of the month, we have 4 different groups on the graph (the date in pennies, the date in nickels, in dimes and quarters.). For my nickel group, we add pennies until there are 5 and then we make atrade. A student has to sort through the bag of coins to find the right one and then puts it on the graph. Really helps the kids make the connection with 5 pennies equals 1 nickel and helps with coin recognition. We use real coins so they can get a feel for them. Our current math series has us focus on one coin at a time so by the end of the year we will have focused on all 4. My kids get it before they have to because of the calendar activity.

Kelly Haynes

 Jack Hartmann has some great money songs! On she has made some of his money songs into big books. I made each student a container with a penny, nickel, dime and quarter to use when we sing SHOW ME THE MONEY! My students always learn the coins just from this simple activity.

Pam Marret Riley

Check out the math/money power points at Pete’s Power Points.

Beth Susan Kleinman

 Just so you know… Coins and clocks seem to be the most difficult concepts for children to grasp, in general. I gave incorporated naming the coins and how much they are worth into my calendar math time, and I hope it will help when we get to the chapter on coins.

Sylvia Lusk Harwell

  I teach money with calendar too. It works very well. Also, after we figure out the “best” way to make the date in coins we do a review chant of all the coin names and values. This is a penny. A penny is worth one cent. This is a nickel. A nickel is worth 5 cents… etc. This is helpful too since we don’t actually get to work with the half dollar on our calendar money. After I know a few kids “have it” I start letting them be the teacher. The kids really seem to sit up and pay attention then! 😀

Cathy Padgett Graham

Have you heard of a program called “Touch Money”? The kids can count any amount of money by counting by fives! I use the large coins to help them identify coins and value–then real coins

Erin Ebeck

  I also do coins with the calendar and we make the date with money. It has helped a lot in the past. This year doing “coin cups” helped my kids more. I put one of each coin in a small plastic drinking cup and the kids work with a partner to “show me the penny” “show me the coin worth 5 cents” etc.

Deona ‘Watson’

  Kim I use to do a coin drive for a local charity (Humane society, & our local zoo) & each day we would review the coins that were brought in & count them up. It really helped to review & count each day & that made the kids excited to bring in more coins to count!

Misha Bartolomei

  When we start to learn money, I add it to our calendar routine, and we sing Dr. Jean’s Money Song, with a slight change to fit for our needs.

Amy Rhine

 I put velcro on the back of real coins and when we do the calendar & add the coins we say the following for the coins, it has REALLY helped my Kindergarteners: Penny, penny easily spent, copper brown and worth one cent. Nickle, nickle thick and fat your worth five cents I know that. Dime, dime little and thin I remember your worth ten. I’ve gone blank on the quarter one but I’ll get back to you on that. But I’m tellin ya this really helps my kids and they love sayin it when we add the money to the money chart. 🙂

Christina Lunde 

I also do coins in my calendar routine. I sing a song that goes “A penny is one cent, a nickle is 5, a dime is 10 cents, a quarter 25. I like money to buy things at the store, I like money I always want more. Lincoln on 1 cent, Jefferson on 5, Roosevelt 10 cents, Washington 25, CHORUS, A building on 1 cent, a building on 5, a torch on 10 cents, eagle/picture 25, CHORUS. Soon I will introduce one coin a week and give each of my students that coin to keep in their pencil box. At transition times of work I’ll ask “Show me your penny.” See if they can recall. “Show me the coin that equals 5 cents” Etc. Eventually working to the class store where they’ll use those coins to buy $1 store “treasures”. LOL

Jana G. Arneel 

First, I would check the exact requirement of your state standards and just teach what it says. Our Texas TEKS do not require anything of Kindergarten but penny value and coin recognition. First grade is to teach them to count the coins’ values. I try to provide a lot of hands-on concrete exprience with using the penny in real situations. Next, Create a “Math Store” by collecting donated items and party favor type items from parents. Group the items in boxes or drawers with the coins taped on the front to indicate the selling price of each item. Many of my cohorts and I use the plastic storage drawer systems from Wal-Mart or Target. Start with Pennies and then build in Nickels. The way the students earn their pennies and nickels is by bringing their folder each day, having had it signed by a parent, doing homework, and any other random reasons for rewarding students. They keep their own coins in their crayon box or in their folder’s zipper pouch until “Math Store Day.” This is when they can come over one at a time and learn to spend or save to get what they want. You may need a volunteer to help with Math Store Day. It takes time getting used to finding a time to give out the coins so I just do it when I check folders each day. If they lose or take their coins home, I just let them learn naturally what happens on Math store day when they didn’t follow directions! Students at this age can learn very quickly to be responsible for their money and also to save up for something larger they might want. I usually talk about “trading up” five pennies for a nickel around Christmas time and then about 2 nickels for a dime around 100th day of school. This helps us practice counting by 10’s as well using real-life problem solving. This idea came from a compilation from many great teachers I have worked with over the years!

Latisia Craig

I also do the Money Song, however, I also have large cons that we play with. I give each student a coin and play music, when the music stops they have to find someone with the same coin as them, front or back and say what coin it is and how much it is worth, this is great for those students who have it to teach those that don’t. Then the music starts again and this time they have to find someone with a different coin and explain what coin they have and how much it is worth. This is the first year that I am having them add money amounts, not sure how I am going to do this.

Julie Hill Goodroe

The quarter one is quarter quarter big and bold, your worth 25 I am told.

Deidra Ball 

I also do the coin value rhymes. We add in a new rhyme when we get to that number of school days. We say them everyday with the calendar. So on school day 50, we add in the half dollar rhyme…half-dollar, half-dollar, giant size, 50 cents to buy some fries.

Mindy Sidor I am going to start an incentive system for behavior where if they are on “green” for the day they get a penny. They can trade 5 pennies in for a nickel, etc. Every 2 weeks I am going to have my treasure box items for sale. They can use their coins to purchase items in our store. I think they are going to love this!! I also do the rhymes every day as part of calendar. I like the idea of making the date in coins too.

Amy Rhine

Like Christina I also use the Dr. Jean song for money, i made a big book to follow the song, my kids love that too!

Lynne Murray Smith

I also do a store, but since it is used for center time, I am busy with small groups and can’t be the cashier. Each price tag, has the exact coins needed, on the back of the tag, so the kids can check each other.

Deidra Ball

I think I found this idea from “The Mailbox”. My kids love it! They face a partner, then I will say “give me a penny”, and they will say “1 cent” and touch 1 finger with their partner. For a nickel they say 5 cents and give their partner a high five. For a dime they hit both hands as they say 10 cents, and for the quarter they say 10, 20, 25 as they clap hands together. I just started this activity this year and it’s their favorite.

Debbie Wood

I glued real money to each desk and asked them over a period of time to name that coin and its value. After they performed the knowledge at least 3 times, they were allowed to remove it and spend it. I chipped in and gave them the rest to buy an ice cream at our store. I was so proud that they respected each other’s property, too! Oops. I meant to say that I put all 4 coins on each desk to finally earn the right to spend the 41 cents plus the remaining 19 cents from me to buy and ice cream. Parents can send in the 41 cents, if necessary. I always glue them in size order.

Debbie Crocker Baker

  I use the touch points to count money too. Helps even the lower kids count money, but the child has to be able to count by 5s easily for this to work. We also do a calendar journal and draw the money I put on the calendar each day, for example if I put up a quarter and a dime the kids draw a big circle for the quarter and write 25 inside it and a smaller circle for the dime and write 10 inside it. Then we practice counting the money and write the total.

Dawn Spurr 

We use these..

Penny, Penny Easily Spent

Copper, Brown and worth one cent.

If you search those lyrics on the web, you will find one for every coin.

Antoinette Maxted Goodman, she has a excellent math song cd that my kids just love.

Kristin Ann

I use “Found a Penny” by Dr. Jean and my kids love it! We act out the song and the children take turns being one of the coins. I use larger coins from Dollar Tree.

Alesia Richards 

Dr. Jean has another great song called “I Like Money.” Nickels are so hard to learn and such a tough concept. We have a class store and use nickels in it for over half the year and they still don’t get it.

Tim Latin-Oneal

I use Dr. Jean song, I like money. I use large realistic photos of each coin as we sing, in centers I have an interactive bulletin board and they match the coins to the name and value, in rotations they play money bingo. I call the coin and they must place it on the board matching the correct value. I also use coins in our calendar time.

Tina Yates Dunson

There’s a song by Greg and Steve called Piggy Bank:

“One penny is just a penny,

Five pennies make a nickel,

Ten pennies make a dime

twenty five pennies make a quarter,

Fifty pennies make a half dollar

100 pennies make a dollar

$1 is what I’m saving in my piggy bank!”

I was also able to find a really nice set of books through Scholastic. One book for each of the 4 coins we had to teach: Pennies, Nickels, Dimes, Quarters. Each book describes what the coins are made of and what is on each side of the coins. I like to start teaching money the first week of February – especially with Presidents’ Day coming up! I spend a week on each coin.

As extra incentive, I make a small bank for each child to have on his/her desk. You can find small plastic containers at dollar stores in packs of 10 for $!. During the first week, my kids earn pennies for staying on task/listening. On Friday, they can shop from my “store”. I took the prizes that are usually in my treasure box out and organized them in small plastic bins and assigned prices. The kids have count it back to me to shop. The next week we learn about nickels, then dimes the following week and end with quarters the last week of February. We practice counting our money together and the kids can practice counting after they have completed their work for the day. For struggling students, I help them count – everyone gets to shop (as long as they have money); I just help my kids that haven’t grasped the concept.

I have done these activities for years and my kids have been eager to learn about money and could recognize/count money very well.

Staci Koenig

We do a coin flip with each coin and graph them. I usually do it each month at calendar beginning in Feb. with the penny. I ask the students to tell me the characteristics before the helper flips the coin.

I use big paper coins. We do alot of sorting and graphing with them as well.

Laurie Chvatal

I have a candy/toy store with little items that they can buy and take home with our money from the math kit. I give them ten cents, one nickel and five pennies. The each table gets to come up and we discuss what each one is and how much it costs. In the end, they pretty much know the difference. The math book pages have pictures of the coins, I use the ones from the math kit so they have them in their hands and can see them in real life and we use them that way too. Also got a great set of money books from scholastic a few years back. Each coin has its own book with great big pictures of each coins they help a lot too. Once I read them tot the class, I put them on the bookshelf for them to look it.

Sandi Greko Starland 

Mailbox had some money songs a couple of years ago that I use. P-E-N-N-Y to the tune of Bingo. There is a song for each coin. We have done the penny one for a couple of months and I’ll start the others in Feb. I also use giant coins during calendar time. When we count by 5’s, we use tally marks some days and nickels on others. That seems to help with the nickels. I always have some kids that don’t get it, but the 1st grade teachers tell me that it clicks then!

Cathleen Dunleavey Goodan 

Another teacher I work with made up this game on the spur of the moment and my kids love it every year. After I’ve introduced coins, I put one coin in front of each child so each table has a penny, nickel, dime, and quarter and then turn on the music. The children walk around the table until the music stops and then they have to identify the coin they stop in front of. After they’ve been able to identify the coin, we add in the amount, and the president on the coin. I just play 1-2 rounds at the end of calendar or to begin/end math lesson.

Becky Kurtz Wollam

Jack Hartman has a great song on one of his math cd’s called “Show Me the Money”. I give each kid a penny, nickel, dime and quarter. They hold up the correct coin during the corresponding part of the song. I also have a container of real coins in the math area for sorting, games, and pretend play. They like this so much more than the play money, and I’ve lost very little of over the years.

Laurie Burky Vosicky

When introducing each coin we use magnifying glasses to examine them closely. I also teach them about the size and feel of each and we do a feel-y box with them.

Katherine Hague

On Youtube there are some great money videos by Harry Kindergarten for Jack Hartmann songs! I just put them on the smartboard and the kids love them.

Melissa K. Harris Armann 

We use a poem. I don’t know the author. Penny, penny easily spent. Copper brown and worth one cent. Nickel, nickel thick and fat. You’re worth five cents. I know that. Dime, dime little and thin. I remember you’re worth ten. Quarter, quarter big and bold. You’re worth twenty-five I am told.

Buena Kaylor 

Dr. Jean has a couple great songs “Penny, Nickel, Dime” and “Found a Penny.” I have used them for several years. The kids love them and they do a good job teaching the concept. Unfortunately, the US has changed most of the coins, so “Found a Penny” no longer works so well.

The new Core Curriculum doesn’t intro money until first or second grade…so next year we will drop money, time and fractions from our curriculum. Can you imagine…more time to spend on number sense instead of two days on 100 different things.

Debbie Kramer 

I changed my reading group names, so instead of the “Red Group”, they are now the “Penny Group”, etc.

Wendy Hueter 

With our new math standards going towards using the Common Core, we don’t teach money or time anymore, but I still introduce it. Everyday we put a penny in the jar to represent each day we are in school, when we get to the fifth day, we “trade up”. So, they understand the coins well. I also use the coin poem that Dawn Spurr mentioned. And I always talk about which president is on each coin and the back sides too. Seems to be working, so I’m not changing a thing.

Lynne Murray Smith

I hot glue 2 pennies, 2 nickels and 2 dimes (one heads/one tails) on a large die. The kids use them in games during the year to move 1, 5 or 10 spaces.


3 thoughts on “Pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters – Money,Money,Money!

  1. I send a game home in the parent newsletter:
    Put a coin in each fist. Child chooses hand. If they know the name of the coin they get to keep it. After they know the names it also works with the value. Kids love it. NIckels are always difficult. PA standards have kinder kids knowing names and values Arghhhh

  2. I put this game in my newsletter to the parents:
    Put one coin in each or your fists. Child chooses hand. If they can name the coin it is theirs. After they have the names it also works with values.

  3. Most Kinders don’t develop conservation of number until they’re six; that’s why money and parts of the time unit are so challenging for them. I only ask that they name pennies, nickels and sometimes dimes and that they know the value of pennies. If a child is ready for more, we can go farther. The changes in the Core Curriculum will change my planning next year though…no more time and money for me either!

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