This counting money math game is so simple and adaptable it’s fun for toddlers, preschoolers and grade school kids all at once!
With three kids between the ages of 2 and 7, finding activities to engage them all at once is about as easy as getting them all into bed at once.
Yeah, I see you, mom who just spent the last hour searching for some obscure stuffed frog named Frog that has never before been essential at bedtime but IS, absolutely IS, tonight.
I mean, there are the usual favorite activities like Throw All of the Couch Cushions on the Floor and Fling Yourself Into Them with Wild Abandonment–this is always a huge hit with any age–but I’m talking more structured activities.
Some differentiation is almost always needed, but when an activity is fun AND simple enough to pull together, changing it up for different ages it’s always worth the effort!
This simple counting money math game was a perfect play-meets-learning activity for all three of my kiddos!
I know not everyone agrees, but for us, pulling out the play dough is totally worth the inevitable mess that results–and ALL three of my kids love it.
When they finished with the money, they continued to play with the play dough for another hour.
Like I said: worth it.
Some might make a bad pun here and say “worth every penny.” Of course I will NOT make such puns. Definitely not. Never.
Counting Real Money Math Games for Big Kids and Toddlers!
Below I will break down for you the 3 different money counting math game variations that make this perfect for just about any age child!
And hey, if you have a baby in the mix too why not just throw some coins in a plastic bottle and let them loot at, shake and explore with that! Or you can stick them into a mess free sensory bag like this one!
To Make Your Own Counting Money Math Games, You Will Need:
- Play dough
- A bunch of coins (make sure you have plenty of each value)
- Grocery or product flyer that you can cut up
If you don’t have any play dough on hand try making your own with this super simple DIY play dough recipe.
Biggest Kids: Counting Exact Change with Grocery Flyers
The object of this game is for your big kids to practice counting money to match the exact amount in a flyer add.
First, cut out products and their pricing from a grocery flyer and put the papers into a pile.
I looked for products that were under a couple of dollars but you could do whatever you want!
Next, squish balls of Play Doh into a few flat pancakes (or have your kids do this). Hand your child the bowl of coins and the pile of products to “buy.”
Now to play the game they need to count the coins out to the exact money value that they would need in order to purchase the product of their choice.
They should push the coins into the play dough.
Change it up! Terrible cringe-worthy pun truly not intended, my sincerest apologies, I promised not to use puns!
Ask them to find a different way to count the money to make the exact change to add a twist to their game.
For example take away the largest coin and tell them to replace it with smaller value coins.
Or challenge them to use as few coins as possible!
My daughter loved bringing her counted money to me so I could pretend to be the cashier.
I decided to be a crazy old lady who forgot how to count, thus purposefully prompting my daughter to help me with the math quite a bit. ;)
Don’t be afraid to go all out with a silly voice or even a funny hat (or nearby napkin will also do the trick); it will make the activity that much more fun and memorable!
Littlest Kids: Free Explorative Play with Coins and Play Dough
All you need to do for the littlest ones is hand them a bowl of coins, some play dough and tools, and let them go to it.
They will most definitely make money waffles and ice cream cones. Delicious.
Alternatively, you could hide some coins in a ball of Play Doh and let them pull it apart until then find the “treasure!”
Of course, keep a careful watch to make sure they aren’t putting the coins in their mouth.
Ages In Between: Counting and Sorting Money Math Game
For the kids who aren’t quite ready to count money value but are up for more of a challenge than just whipping up metallic waffles, this is the game for them!
First, squish four different balls of play dough into flat pancakes.
These need to be sized according to how many coins you will be having your child sort. The more coins, the larger the “pancakes” need to be.
Next, stick one coin into each play dough pancake, making one the penny spot, one the quarter spot, etc.
Talk with your child about how much each coin is worth and what images are on the different kinds.
Then, they can begin playing their own money counting game by sorting and sticking the coins into the play dough.
When they are done the sorting money part of their game its time for the counting!
Go ahead and practice counting by 1s and find out which coin you have more of!
And then try skip counting (based on coin value) to find out how much money is in each pile!
The quarters might be tricky but the other ones are a great math skill level for preschool and kindergarten.
My kids really enjoyed these money counting math games and I enjoyed engaging with all of them in one simple and adaptable activity at one time!