Monday, September 6, 2010


About once every month I try to review money with Anna and see if she made a conceptual leap from counting the quantity of coins to counting their value. This time we tried The Coin Counting Book from the library. It was recommended by One Little Room. Alas, Anna didn’t like the book at all – she declared it boring. I realized pretty quickly that the leap didn’t happen yet – she still counts nickels and pennies as a value of 1. I am thinking that with DreamBox work of counting by 10 that she has been doing lately dimes and pennies will click fairly soon, but we will wait and see. We played store for some time after attempting to count money, and this time I was the buyer and she was the seller. She carefully priced all her wares in 1-5 cents range – something that she can grasp and count very easily. After she sold all of them to me, I had her count what she “earned” – 22 cents and asked her if she earned enough to get a book from our library book sale shelf that costs a quarter. She correctly said that it’s not enough and I let her deposit the pennies into her piggy bank “for later”.

The penny pot

She enjoyed The Penny Pot from MathStart series a lot more than The Coin Counting Book, since it contained a lot more of the story. We had mixed success with MathStart, but this is one of the best books we read, because math supports the story and not so much “in your face”. It also teaches an important life lesson of being careful with your money and sharing some of it with others.

A Chair For My Mother

A Chair For My Mother is not a math book at all, but I thought that it deserves an honorary mention in this post, since it deals with saving money for buying a very special thing, and it’s a very moving book in general. It also explains a little bit a concept of converting coins into dollar bills – we haven’t practiced it yet, but Anna was very interested in that part of the book.

For more math activities for young kids, visit Math Links hosted by A Joyful Learner.


Joyful Learner said...

I own all three of those books and will probably review at some point. I've been giving JC a penny a day for our 100 days celebration and exchanging pennies for a nickel so far. I'm teaching her the value of the coins and also teaching her to count on in the process but these are advanced skills which I expect a child of at least 5 year old and up to understand. I'm guessing it may be a developmental thing. I could be wrong. I've also been working with graph paper in showing her that a number can be represented in many ways. I think she is at a sensitive period for this because she finds it fascinating. I also want to introduce the game of monopoly to introduce concepts like exchange of green houses for a hotel which I think might help in conceptualizing value. We haven't worked all too much on the dot cards and building number sense for higher numbers but we'll get to that soon enough! Once they make that jump that tens means 10 ones, skies the limit! So far we've only been doing work with 1-10 and building a strong foundation before further.

I love A Chair for My Mother and have read it to kids for many years! I also like Math Start books but math concepts do not have to be limited to math books as it is everywhere. I'm so glad you gave it an honorable mention.

Christy said...

C's K teacher used coins in their daily calendar lesson. I have seen the same thing done on a lot of homeschooling blogs. I meant to continue it over the summer, but it just didn't happen. We have been using the Kumon first book of money this summer and it has been great for C and R.

Ticia said...

Rosemary Wells has a great book called Bunny Money, but it's not about coins, but it does good for the value of money.

And Judith Viorst has a book called "Alexander who used to be rich," about a boy who slowly loses all his money. That's a good one to act out with coins.

I've found kids have a hard time with counting the value of coins until they're good at skip counting.

Debbie said...

I think money and the true concept it a difficult one for kids to catch onto. I agree with Joyful Learner, that it is more of a developmental thing. I know my older kids and even myself didn't get the money concept until a little older. Selena knows the difference in the coins, but not the value of them.

Infant Bibliophile said...

It's probably no surprise that my little guy doesn't understand the money concept yet either (since he's not 3 yet), but he does like buying things with his play money, like you do with Anna. I never thought to let him put money he earns in his piggy bank. He enjoys when we go to the dollar store, because he can count up the items and know how much it will cost at the register (plus tax). I've been thinking about pushing the money counting thing lately, and I'm glad I read this post and comments because it sounds like it might be too soon for us.

MaryAnne said...

We're still struggling with counting past ten in our house, so I'm very impressed with how well Anna is doing! I think money is a great way to practice addition, subtraction and even how to estimate.

Kim said...

We read A Chair for My Mother in an attempt to get Crumpet to understand 'saving'. This is something we are working hard on because he has become awfully materialistic and always wants a new toy. We've decided he can do chores to earn money and save up to buy his own toys. I thought he'd work like mad to earn tons of money. Interestingly, he has decided he doesn't really need any new toys right now. LAZY boy! But less greedy for the time being, so I'll take it!

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Anna is doing very well! Like Christy mentioned, we used the Kumon workbook to introduce counting money.... that and lots of playing store, and the girls have a full set of play money as well. Understanding the value of a buck, though... that's a different story! ;-)

My Family My Forever said...

Thank you, thank you for these money book titles! These will be a big hit here with Joe. Anna will get the money value sooner than later! She is so smart and so eager to learn. Joe just picked it up within the last few months and once he was ready it was super quick and easy for him. I know Anna will too.