This simple way for kids to learn to count money with a money scavenger hunt is sure to be a fun way to get moving and learning.
Counting coins and grasping the concept of money is an important life skill. Money lends itself perfectly to sensory based learning as children feel the coins, manipulate the paper money, and use it in a variety of ways.
Scavenger hunts are always a favorite with my kids. They don’t have to be complex or take a long time to set-up, they can be as simple as hide a few objects and go find them.
This money “Make a Dollar” money scavenger hunt is that simple, with an engaging learning twist.
Set up the Money Scavenger Hunt to Learn to Count Money:
- Various coins that add up to a dollar (depends on age of children)
- A dollar bill
- Piece of paper
*Side Note: Depending on where you live, any currency can be used.
This activity to learn to count money and coins can be used in a variety of ways based on the ages of your kids.
The Main Objective is to Learn to Count Money!
The goal of this money scavenger hunt is for kids to find the hidden coins that equal a dollar (or the currency that you are using).
You pick a focus, hide those coins, and send your kids on a “find the coins” scavenger hunt.
As your kids find the coins, they place them near the dollar bill and continue the scavenger hunt until they find all of those particular coins that add up to make or equal a dollar.
Choose Your Money Focus
My kids are seven and five years old, and my seven year old is just learning about the names of the coins, the value of each coin, and the concept of them equaling a dollar bill.
My five year old is learning right along with him, but is still focusing on identifying the coins.
Our focus may be different than yours, but the basis for the activity is still the same.
You can choose to hide all of the same type of coin or you can hide a variety of coins, as long as they “make a dollar.”
Below are some ideas to choose your focus of what coins to hide, but choose what will be best for your kids.
- Four quarters
- Ten dimes
- Twenty nickels
- Two half-dollars
- For older kids: hide a variety of coins; two quarters & five dimes
- For younger kids: simply hide a one dollar bill
- For extreme scavenger hunters: hide 100 pennies
Important Note: Just make sure that only a dollar worth of coins are hidden for the hunt. You can change the coins for each new round, but only have out one dollar worth at a time.
Setting up the Scavenger Hunt to Learn to Count Coins
Once you have chosen your money scavenger hunt focus, it’s time to make the “Coin Collection Sheet”.
Simply take your piece of paper and draw two rectangles. One at the top and one at the bottom, on a vertical piece of paper.
The dollar bill is at the top and then the coins collected go on the bottom.
This coin collection sheet is the starting point of the hunt and where the coins are collected. Choose a spot that works best for you, we played the game in our kitchen.
As your kids find the coins, they lay them in the rectangle below the dollar bill.
This will enable you to keep track of what they have found, but also for them to visually see how the coins are adding up to equal a dollar.
Now it’s time to hide the coins!
I recommend setting a boundary (inside or outside) in which you hide the coins, as coins are small and can be a challenge to find in a huge area.
For example, one room of your home or a certain area in your backyard.
Keep in mind the size of the coins when choosing hiding spots. This can vary depending on the level of challenge you want for your scavenger hunt.
Whether the coins are more out in the open or under a kitchen mat, it will still be fun and enjoyable for your kids.
It’s Time to “Make a Dollar”
Once the coins are hidden, your collection sheet is made, gather your kids, and let the money scavenger hunt begin.
As your kids find the coins and lay them in the box below the dollar, practice counting the amount as they find each coin.
Ask guiding questions to help your kids grasp the concept of how the coins equal a dollar, ultimately helping them learn to count money!
- How many more coins do we need to make a dollar?
- How much money have you found so far?
- We have five dimes, which is 50 cents, how much more is needed?
- What number are we using to skip count our coins?
If your kids are having a hard time finding the coins, give them some clues. Such as look up, or you’re close or warm to a coin, etc…
When all of the coins have been found and placed below the dollar bill, the scavenger hunt is over.
Yet, don’t be surprised if your kids want to play again and again. You can hide the same coins or introduce new coins to expand on the understanding of coins, dollars, and money.
You can even join in the hunt too!
What are some other fun ways you help your kids learn about money?
Here is a way for preschoolers to explore money as well.
Do you use different currency in your home?
Please share in the comments below.