Preschool Math - Counting Coins

Counting Coins, Preschool Math #preschool

I confess, the idea for this activity came from me trying to get the kids to do some work for me. Yes, I was being lazy and stumbled into a math activity. Let me explain. Like many people, we have loose change at various places in our house. Wherever we happen to empty our pockets or bags is where we will drop a handful of change. Rarely Occasionally, I go through the house and collect all that change in a bag. We then transfer that to piggy banks, and when they are full, we bring them to a change sorting machine or the bank.

I really didn't feel like putting all the change in the piggy banks myself so I asked the kids if they wanted to help by counting coins and placing them in banks. They did! Woo-hoo! We happen to have a number of piggy banks on hand since we are big Disney fans and I've bought a few Disney piggy banks in the past. This activity is pretty simple and only requires a few items. Read on to find out more.

You will need:

  • Coins (a mix of different kinds)
  • Piggy bank (I'll forgive you for not having a Disney bank)
  • Paper
  • Pencil or crayon
Before you begin, you will want to do a review of coins with your child if they are not very familiar with the different types. For our purposes we used quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. 

Provide your child with a bunch of coins and a piggy bank and let them put all the coins in the slot. This is great fine motor work for little fingers as they practice picking up the coins and pushing them into a small slot. My kids were silent while working on this step.

When all the coins are in the bank, ask the kids if they think the piggy bank has more quarters, dimes, nickels or pennies. Then open up the piggy bank and sort the coins to figure out which type you have the most of.

We made rows out of the different coins which made sorting easy. Some coins look similar especially for little ones who are not used to dealing with them. This also becomes an exercise in visual discrimination as children need to slow down and really examine the coins before sorting them.

counting coins for kids

coin sorting

My youngest is 2 1/2 and I really thought this would be too difficult for her. She loves to be included in things, so I figured she would just play with the coins. But she had no trouble keeping up with this preschool math activity and she was so focused. I think I may have a mini mogul in the making.

Make sure you have a lot of room for this math activity especially if you have a lot of coins.

When the kids finished sorting their coins we counted them and wrote the numbers down on some paper. Older kids can write their own words and numbers. When we were done we looked at the numbers and talked about "most" and "least". Then we arranged the cards from the highest number of coins to the lowest. Oh and when they were done they put all the coins BACK into the piggy banks! My kids were so into this activity then spent an hour doing it which is a lot in kid time. To think this whole counting coins thing came about because I was being lazy and didn't want to put the coins away. Go lazy mommy moment!

Have you had a lazy mommy moment recently? Let me know in the comments and don't worry, I won't tell.

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  1. Looks like they had a fun time counting!

  2. Fun! And fyi Vicky, you are pretty much the last person I would call a lazy mommy! :)

  3. You weren't being lazy, you were thinking outside the box. Not only did they learn some math, they learned to help. I've recently started asking my kids to do a lot more things for me because they need to learn how to do these things and to be helpful around the house. Sometimes these moments come from initial laziness on my part but then it becomes educational.

  4. I love getting the little ones involved with real life skills. Great Idea. ;o)

  5. I love it when learning comes out of laziness. I call this a Happy Accident. We have them all the time. Here's one example -

  6. What a great way to kill two birds with one stone. Now, you can go shopping!

  7. Looks like this kept them busy for awhile! We are just startiing to explore money now!