I’ve started giving my 5-year old an allowance of $2 per week. Last week he didn’t get to spend any of his money. So before going to a flea market I reminded him that he had not $2, but $4 ($2 from last week and $2 from this week) in his “account”.

His first reaction was “Wow, that’s really a lot of money!”. Next, he switched into his inquiring mode:

DS: “Can I spend all of it?”

Me: “Yes, but then next week you will only have $2”

DS: “Ok, what if I only spend $1 this week?”

Me: “Then you will have $3 left and then next week you’ll get $2 more. Do you know how much you will have?”

DS: “How much? A million?!”

Me: “Not quite. See if you can count on your fingers. Three and two more”

DS: “That is $5”

Me: “Yes. But that’s if you only spend $1 today. If you spend $2 today, you will have $2 left and will get $2 more next week for a total of … $4”.

DS (excitedly): “Mama, money is like mathematics!”

Me (even more excitedly): “How so, honey?!”

DS: “When you get money, it’s like addition. When you take money away, pay, it’s like subtraction!” (Jumping up and down now) “This is good. So like mathematics!”

This was a terrific moment of discovering math outside of our books and manipulatives (which are great, but not something you come across outside of a classroom or a teachers’ store).

So now I’m thinking about math games that involve money and making a list. So far I have this:

**1. Sorting** the contents of our piggy bank

**2.** Lining up pennies to show **how many** are in a nickel, a dime and a quarter (doing that with all coin denominations, actually)

**3. Grouping pennies** by 10 (since my son can count to 10 confidently) and figuring out how many groups of pennies we have.

**4. Penny toss** – this is an idea from Peggy Kaye’s “Games for Math” book. Draw a game board with 8 sections, each with a number between 1 and 10 in it. Then take turns tossing a penny onto the board. Take as many paperclips (or other small objects) as the number your penny lands on. Count your paperclips after 2 tosses to see who won.

**5. Exponential penny toss** – this is something that I saw here. It’s not exactly for little children, but I can’t imagine a 5-year old NOT having fun with an experiment where his parents actually ASK him to toss 100 pennies.

**6**. Since we’ve been talking about different **geometric shapes** lately (thanks to *The Greedy Triangle* book), we might try to see how many of the shapes can we build with 10 pennies. How about 20 pennies?

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYJ3TrDveE8

**7. Origami** – looks like my little guy needs a wallet now to hold all his money. So we’re going to make an origami wallet. Fortunately for me (since I’ll be doing most of the folding), it’s a simple project.

What money math games and activities have you tried with your kids? I’d love to hear about and add them to my list.

Posted in Grow

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Pigs Will Be Pigs.Thank you, Sue. Turns out, it’s a whole lot of books :) I just requested the two about money and shopping from our library.

My daughter enjoys games where she needs to figure out different ways to make a number, for example, 20 cents. The other day I told her in the store that she gets to keep the change if she calculates (in her head) how much change we will get if we buy 3 items $1.08 each. To my surprise she managed that. Nothing like a little incentive :)

Natalie, I think you’re right :) I’ll think of some more interesting incentives for my kiddo. I love your blog and the My Child Reads linkup.