Even if a budding Richie Rich or Trixie Tang-in-training happens to be in your classroom, it’s never too early to start putting together your game plan for teaching preschoolers about money, how to count it, and how to identify various coins and bills. Our consumer-driven society entices children to spend money (or beg their parents to spend money on their behalf), but as a preschool teacher you can play an important role in educating your little scholars about the value of saving and managing money.
Luckily, teaching preschoolers about money and building financial literacy doesn’t have to be exhausting for students or teachers. It can be a piggy bank chock full of fun.
There are various ways to reach your captive audience with entertaining and lively preschool money crafts projects, along with other money activities for preschoolers.
It’s no secret that positive engagement in preschool classrooms is key to developmental gains. Studies show that, according to Vanderbilt University’s Peabody College, “children who are highly involved in classroom activities benefit in two key ways: first, they have more opportunities for deepening their learning, and second, they develop stronger self-regulation and are less likely to engage in off-task or disruptive behaviors.”
How can you engage your classroom with relevant and age-appropriate content when teaching preschoolers about money?
Here are three can’t-miss money activities for preschoolers, followed by engaging preschool money crafts and a curated list of other money-related online resources that will teach young learners not only how to count money, but how to make their own (sort of). Relax, there’s no counterfeiting involved.
MONEY ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOLERS
Marmoset’s Money Maker
Who doesn’t want to run their own mint and crank out a stash of legal tender? This digital game from The Money Mammals allows kids to design and print their own money, while also learning fun money facts along the way. They can choose the denomination to design – from $1 all the way to $100,000 – and they choose a portrait of one of The Money Mammals to go in the featured slot where U.S. presidents go on our real currency. Instead of Lincoln or Franklin, this play money sports the likenesses of Joe the Monkey or Clara J. Camel, or their other furry pals. If your tycoon tykes want pink money, well, this online platform allows it, with eight colors to choose from. Preschoolers can also select the highlighted Money Fun Facts embedded in the game, to find out interesting info such as the amount of time a $20 bill usually lasts in circulation. The platform incorporates an easy print – or save as PDF – function as well at the culmination of each design.
Coin Recognition Game
Before your little ones get too mesmerized by the big bills, show them how to count with coins using this Toddler At Play recognition game. As you begin teaching preschoolers about money, it’s important to start with smaller amounts. This activity is perfect for your classroom because it’s easy to set up and will keep your kiddos engaged. Start by gathering pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. Then, trace them onto white cardstock paper using different colored markers for each one. Last, write their value in the middle. As your preschoolers learn to match the correct coins, make sure to explain the differences between them, such as their appearance, size and weight. Not only will your students start to understand each coin and their values, but they will also learn cognitive and fine motor skills.
Another one of the clever money activities for preschoolers out there, this Chasing Those Moments Play-Doh exercise combines coins and a beloved soft modeling clay compound to help students understand the concept of money. We recommend getting oversized plastic coins for this activity. Start by showing your kiddos how to roll the Play-Doh into a ball and flatten it. After that, encourage your students to press each penny, nickel, dime and quarter into the clay to make an imprint of the coin. Your little ones will be amazed at the impressions they’ve made while learning about counting change in the process.
PRESCHOOL MONEY CRAFTS
Build a Piggy Bank
Nothing helps a young mind absorb the concept of money values quite like having a place to store one’s cash away from the grubby hands of siblings and classmates. That’s where a classic piggy bank can come in. Despite the digital revolution and other societal disruptions, this classic piece of childhood endures. Check out this blog which offers three low cost options for crafting piggy banks from common household items, such as empty plastic water bottles, Mason jars, and papier-mache. And here’s a video tutorial for making an easy DIY piggy bank. Kidsactiviesblog.com suggests Fun DIY piggy banks that encourage savings, from the duct tape piggy bank to a Pringles potato chip can piggy bank. This craft project will surely kindle the creativity in all of your tiny bankers.
Customize Play Credit Cards
We suggested a digital platform for designing and printing faux money earlier, but there’s also another aspect of the real life money game that children can learn about: credit and debit cards. They’ve surely seen their parents whip them out and pay for everything from groceries to movie tickets as we move more and more toward a cashless society. But money is money, whether it’s paper or plastic, and customizing and printing just-for-play bank and credit cards is our next preschool money crafts recommendation that seems totally in-the-now.Here are some humorous options with parody cards such as Animal Express instead of American Express, and Costlo instead of Costco. Blogger thecrazycraftlady.com details how to produce free customizable and printable play credit cards for your class in this video. Note: You will need access to your school’s laminating machine and high quality printer for a more authentic experience. After creating the cards, teaching your preschoolers about how real credit and debit cards work will help them build a strong foundation for spending and budgeting.
Coin Cleaning Experiment
This one is not technically a craft, but it’s nevertheless hands-on and any child fascinated with coins will love it. The objective is to find out and report what common household ingredients will take away the grime and deposits built up on old or well-worn coins. As the teacher, you can ad lib the set up of this experiment to suit your students, or follow the detailed plan in the linked activity. Will your aspiring scientists find which solutions work the best? Which coins get cleaner – pennies, nickels, dimes or quarters? Besides the fun of tracking the cleaning process, this project will help students reinforce their coin recognition skills.
MORE ONLINE RESOURCES
Here are some more financial literacy tools and money activities for preschoolers that may aid when you are tasked with teaching preschoolers about money.
- Free Printable Coin Sorting Mat from Little Learning Club
- Counting Money Clip Cards for Coins from Life Over C’s
- Money Exchange Game from The Education of Ours
- The Magic Dollar Magnet Experiment from Kids Activities Blog
- The Seek and Learn Money Bin from Learning Resources
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