Home for the Holidays? Count Those Coins!

Every year my husband rolls his annual collection of coins and donates the money to charity. Last night he had our 4-year old daughter, Elle, helping him for the first time. He knows (because he’s learned from me!) that rolling coins offers many learning opportunities for children of all ages. With schools closed for winter break, now is a great time to deal with all that spare change. Here’s how your children can help:

  • Preschool: When sorting coins, start with pennies and dimes. Quarters and nickels can be confusing because they look alike. But when your children a’re ready, comparing quarters and nickels will help them learn to distinguish between 5 and 25 cents. Preschoolers can help make piles of ten if you give them a mat with a place for each coin. I prefer a mat with two rows of 5 each.
  • Kindergarten: Sort coins and count piles of ten. Later combine the piles of ten to make groups of 40 (nickels and quarters) and groups of 50 (pennies and dimes).
  • 1st grade and older: Sort coins, count piles of 40 and 50. Watch to see if your child uses a strategy such as stacking one pile of ten and making other stacks have the same height. Another of my favorite strategies is laying the coins in rows of ten and making additional rows.

This takes longer than Coinstar, but the time spent engaged with your kids is worth much more than the 9% you save by doing it yourself!