Counting Change

You do not realize the everyday skills you take completely for granted until you have to teach someone else how to do them.  My Wyatt has no concept of money at five years old.  I mean, he gets that a penny is one cent, a nickel five, and so on, but that the coins can be added together to make a larger amount, not so much.  Thanks to garage sales and vending machines, he does understand that two quarters equal 50 cents, but that's as far as it goes.

After a little brainstorming, I came up with this concept for counting change.  On a plain ol' piece of paper, I wrote out the numbers 1-110 in sets of 10.  To pound into his head the values of each coin, we put a nickel on every fifth number, a dime on every tenth, and a quarter on every twenty-fifth...we skipped the monotonous task of a penny on every number because he thankfully understood the gist of it.

After we played that "game" for awhile, I chose small, random fistfuls of coins to add up.  We started with the largest value and worked down to the smallest, but it will work any which way you choose.  We counted out the 25 cents for the quarter and placed it on its spot.  From there, we counted 10 spots for each of the two dimes and placed them on their corresponding numbers.  Then we did the same for the nickel and pennies.  The final penny landed on 52, therefore we have 52 cents. 

I know this really works best for small quantities, but I think it reinforces the general idea so that the munchkin can get the hang of it before moving up to bigger numbers.  Hey, it worked for Pooky!

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