Learning Money Sense

Recently, we were working with a lapbook for an upcoming review (another book from author Susan K. Marlow titled Tales From Circle C Ranch – definitely one you’ll want to take a look at if you have girls…). One of the minibooks that we were making had to do with money. J is still learning her cents and how the different coins work together and separately. In order to help her complete the minibook, we pulled out the coins and piled them up.

For the work, she could spend $2 in the mercantile. So, we needed to figure out how to help her see what all $2 was and could buy at that store. Even after completing the booklet, I could tell she needed more practice and didn’t really understand it. So, we kept working with the coins.


I started by making 10 piles of ten pennies each – $1. J and I then talked about how much that was – that even though it was 100 pennies, it could be spent just the same way a $1 bill could. Then we counted by tens to 100. We added the second hundred to it at this point, just to help her keep the numbers going upwards. Then we took that second hundred away and went back to just 100 pennies.

counting pennies and nickels


We then pulled out a nickel and discussed its value – 5 cents. J knew that 5+5=10 so she was able to reason out that each pile of 10 pennies could be replaced by a stack of two nickels. We then counted by fives and then again by tens. Just keeping it all reviewing.



After that we talked about the dime. Julia was able to reason that if a pile of 10 pennies was ten cents and a dime was ten cents than one time replaced a pile of ten pennies. We counted by fives and tens. We looked for 50 cents, then 70, then 30, etc. Just playing with the numbers.

counting pennies, nickels, dimes

As we went along, we lined the piles up so that it was easy to see the pennies that equaled a dollar, the nickels that equaled a dollar, and the dimes that equaled a dollar.

That left us with the tricky one – the quarter. So, we tackled it, too. We looked at all the different ways we could make 25 cents – stacks of 25 pennies, five nickels, two dimes and a nickel, two stacks of ten pennies and a nickel, one dime and ten pennies and nickel, etc. You get the idea. We put all these out and looked at them, comparing and noting that they all equaled the same amount but that you could create that number (25) in a bunch of different ways. This was kind of her ah-ha moment. She got it!

counting 25 cents

We then spent the next little bit finding different ways to make a dollar or fifty cents.

The hands-on definitely made a different and money makes sense to her. She had figured out little bits and pieces but since we did this, she has gotten it so much better. She is understanding it, not just able to spit it back to us. She has also asked to do this again. We’ll be pulling out the coins again soon and exploring the different ways to make all sorts of numbers. And the cents will make sense.

At Home.

4 thoughts on “Learning Money Sense

  1. RavenThreads June 19, 2015 at 7:29 am Reply

    Love this! It looks simple and fun 🙂

  2. Annette Tinholt Vellenga June 20, 2015 at 6:39 pm Reply

    hands on learning helps with the figuring it all out doesn’t it?

    • 3gigglygirlsathome June 20, 2015 at 10:25 pm Reply

      Absolutely! And I really like it when it is simple and something we have around the house already.

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