What You Need:
- One set of coins (penny, nickel, dime, quarter, half dollar, dollar), a US mint set or other display if possible.
- A variety of loose coins including at least one dollar and one half dollar.
What You Do:
- Arrange the coins in an orderly fashion, or place the coin set in the middle of the table. Explain to your child that you are going to play a matching game.
- Give him the loose coins.
- Read this clue to your child: “This is our only copper coin. It is brown or red instead of silver like other United States coins.”
- Have your child point to this coin (the penny). Encourage him to separate the pennies from the loose coins.
- Read the next clue. “This coin is the same color as four other coins, but it is the biggest coin.”
- Again, have your child point to the coin (silver dollar) in the set. Encourage him as he looks for a dollar among the loose coins.
- Read the next clue: “The smallest coin of all is silver with ridges, called denticles, around the edges.”
- Have your child point to the dime. Help him find a dime among the loose coins and feel the edge. Are there any other dimes?
- Read the next clue: “This is the only silver coin without a reeded edge; the edge is smooth.”
- Have your child point to the nickel in the set. Now, encourage him to find the nickels in the loose coins.
- Read the last clue: “These two coins are hard to tell apart. Both have eagles on the back. One eagle’s wings point down and it's holding a bundle of 13 arrows. The other eagle’s wings are spread in flight, and it holds arrows in one foot and an olive branch in the other.”
- Flip the set over. Have your child point to the quarter (wings down) and the half dollar (wings up). Help him match the loose quarters and half-dollars with those in the set.
- As he finishes, encourage him to describe each type of coin to you. Now can he tell them apart?
As he improves, add some foreign coins into the mix. Soon your little one will be a coin-sorting master!