Do you ever feel like your children need a little extra help with some of the skills they are learning at school? I certainly do! My boys are in first grade and are doing very well, but they cover so much in first grade that, sometimes, I feel like I should give them a little extra help. After all, there are only so many days in the school year and there is so much they have to learn. I have some simple educational activities that I like to do with my boys at home and I thought I would start sharing them with you. You can do them now, as needed, or save them for summer review. (We will be doing a lot of that this year!)
Money is one of those skills that can really be tough for many children. I taught both second and third grades for a while and I remember spending a lot of time on the money unit. Counting one or two types of coins is usually not too difficult. Having to count three or four different types of coins can be extremely frustrating.
My boys are half-way through first grade at this point and are now counting sets of coins up to $1.00. Some days they are able to do this with no problems and other days it seems like they have no idea what they are doing. Since they have missed so much school due to snow, I decided to make a simple educational activity using items I have around the house.
Here’s what you need:
- Real coins or play money
- Paper plates or plain paper
- Magic marker
The first thing I did was take four paper plates and label them with the four different types of coins. I used paper plates because they help contain all of the coins and I have about a zillion on hand, but you could just use plain paper. I used the dollar sign instead of the cent sign because that is what my boys have been working on lately, but you could easily use the cent sign. (By the way…You do not need to type anything for this activity. I only did that because I knew I was going to be photographing it and it would totally bother me if the words were crooked or uneven in size. Yeah, I know, I’m a little nuts.)
Then, as a review activity, I gave the boys a big pile of coins to sort. They still make some mistakes with this if they don’t take their time. Quarters and pennies seem to be the easiest. Dimes and nickels confuse them sometimes if they are not looking carefully.
I let them work together and they were able to sort the coins with very little difficulty. Next time I think I will make each boy work alone. I’m hoping that, by summer, we really won’t need to review coin sorting anymore.
Then I took a few paper plates and wrote different amounts of money on them up to $1.00. If you would rather not use up your paper plates this way, you could write the amounts on little scraps of paper instead. Each boy had his own amount to work on and I told them to show that amount of money using whatever coins they wanted. This skill is still a little difficult for my boys sometimes. They tend to start with pennies or nickels, which just makes it harder. I’m happy to say that, as they were counting the coins, they did a pretty good job correcting their own mistakes.
We didn’t spend much time on this activity this time because they were anxious to get out in the snow. We will revisit this one occasionally , however, and use it as a quick review game over the summer.
Here are some ways you could adapt this activity for your child:
- Sort only the coins your child has learned about so far.
- Include $1 bills, $5 bills, etc.
- Count coins to amounts greater than $1.00.
- Once your child shows an amount with their coins, have them show it using a different combination of coins.
I hope you find this simple educational activity helpful. I would love to hear how you use it!