Counting money is an essential life skill. It’s also tricky for our little ones because they need to know how to skip count and when to choose how many to skip counting by. It takes a lot of practice (and patience). I’m sure you’d rather have more practice that isn’t busy work or something extra to grade. That’s why I want to share these money counting games with you!
I chose these games because they are easy to play, and you only need simple materials that you likely already have in your classroom.
I love using games in my classroom because they reinforce learning skills while allowing cooperative learning opportunities. There are TONS of benefits when it comes to playing games. Check out this post to learn more about those benefits.
Here are three money counting games you can use in your classroom for counting coins and money! You’re going to love these.
Money Counting Game #1: Coin Scoot
The purpose of this game is to create the same amount using different coins. This shows students that there is more than one way to make change.
Students tend to start by using only nickels, dimes, or pennies. I tell my students they are NOT allowed to use all pennies because I normally don’t have enough penny manipulatives.
How to Play:
Grab about ten index cards and write a value in cents on each one. Place the index cards around the room along with a cup of coin manipulatives.
With students working in pairs, have students create the amount displayed using the manipulatives. After about one to two minutes (or when everyone is done), have students keep their coins at their index cards and tell them to scoot clockwise to the next index card.
Once they’re at their new card, they must make the change for the value shown in a different way than the last group. This game can keep going on and on.
After playing this game, you can ask groups to identify the ways to make change using the least and most coins. Ask them what they notice about the least and most coins.
They might notice that coins with a larger value use the least amount of coins while coins with a smaller value make the most amount of coins. Use this as a writing prompt after the game to have students reflect and consider the differences.
Game #2: Find the Fish
The purpose of this game is to solve money word problems. This is a game you might want to play in small groups. You’ll need index cards, coin manipulatives, and a pocket chart (optional).
How to Play:
Draw a fish on one index card and set it to the side. Then, list different coin combinations on four to ten index cards. You can place these on a desk or place them inside a pocket chart. I prefer the pocket chart because it’s easier to hide the fish.
Without students looking, place the fish card behind one of the index cards. Next, have your students guess which index card the fish is behind. Students guess by saying the value of the coins displayed.
For example, for the card that reads, “One quarter, two dimes, and one penny,” students would guess by saying, “forty-six cents.”
Want to practice coin identification?
If you’re working on coin and dollar identification, glue or tape the coin manipulatives to the index card and have students call out the coin or dollar. Be sure to include examples of coins and dollars displayed on both heads and tails.
Ask students which coin they began counting from first (e.g. Penny or quarter) and explain why they chose to start with that coin. You may want to give students manipulatives to practice counting (especially if they’re using touch points). You can also tell about times when you use this strategy in the real world.
Game #3: Coin Clues
The purpose of this game is for students to use inverse operations for coin problems (e.g., 25 + 10 = 35, so 35 – 25 = 10). Students work to guess their opponent’s coin. This is a fun game for students to work in groups of three.
How to Play:
One student starts as the clue keeper. The clue keeper will add the two coins from the other players, and only give the sum as the clue. The two players, stand back to back or have a divider between them so they cannot see each other’s coins.
The two players each grab one coin. The clue keeper shares the clue (the sum of the two coins), and the two players take turns guessing what the other player’s coin is. If the player guesses the other’s coin correctly, then s/he trades places with the clue keeper, and the game continues.
Differentiation & Discussion Questions:
If your students are successfully identifying the coin with little effort, then have them grab two coins. After playing the game, have students write about how they felt when playing this game. Giving students the opportunity to write expressively about math helps you determine what kind of learner they are and reduces math anxiety for your students.
I like to use these lesson checks for self-evaluation after our math centers or games. It’s an easy way for our learners to reflect and serves as a formative assessment for us teachers.
More Money Counting Games
Like I said before, I love using games in my classroom. I especially love when they are games that follow the same routine so I don’t have to waste time teaching my students how to play again and again.
These Simply STEAM Math Games include coin identification, counting coins, and money word problems. We use these self-checking cards for a variety of games like board games, STEM to Win, Race to 20, and Pick Up Sticks. Learn how to play each game here.
I love these games because each card has a value so you don’t need annoying dice, and they provide instant feedback so your students have low-risk opportunities to correct their mistakes.
I also created similar self-checking math games for Google Classroom. These games are so much fun. Students work to feed the monster an apple by selecting the correct answer. If they answer incorrectly, they have to go back and try again.
I like using this game on our interactive whiteboard so that we have an easy math center for small groups of students to practice.
All these games are simple, engaging, and fun! I’d love to hear about which games you tried in your classroom. Comment below to tell me which games you plan on trying or which topic you’d like more games for.