Add a whole new element to the math skill of sorting coins by including beginning letter sounds in the activity. We printed out large copies of all the beginning letter sounds of coins and sorted our own coins right onto the letters. It was such a great way to incorporate the names of coins, counting, sorting and comparing numbers all into one easy math activity for kids!
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Exposing Your Child to Coins at an Early Age
One math concept that was often difficult for many of my Kindergarten and first grade students was learning the names and values of coins. The curriculum on money moved very quickly so students coming in without prior knowledge of coins had a lot of catching up to do. Through that experience I’ve learned that exposing your children to coins and money very early on can be such a valuable learning tool for them.
My kids have had piggy banks ever since they were born. (Theo has this Disney Cars bank and loves it!) When they were old enough my husband and I would show the kids how to put coins into the bank. Even at ages 1 and 2, my kids LOVED dropping the coins in their banks and hearing the ‘clink’ as they landed. (Of course, we were always nearby as they did this due to coins being choking hazards.)
As my kids got older we began to sort coins. About a month ago my 3 year old, Theo, began really showing an interest in coins. He would often bring his coins out of his room and ask, “Do you want to count coins, Mommy?” We’d dump his coins out and sort them together into piles of like coins. We’d talk about the coins’ sizes and colors, and notice the different pictures on each coin. As we were sorting the coins, I’d often say the name of the coins. After a while, Theo would begin to use the names of the coins too- although not always correctly.
As a way to help Theo practice the names of the coins as he’s sorting, I came up with this activity of sorting coins onto letters representing each coin’s initial sound. Because Theo has already had some prior experience with coins and is beginning to learn letter sounds, this activity was just perfect for him! Here’s how we did it!
Sorting Coins Using Beginning Letter Sounds
Materials for Coin Sorting Activity
- A bunch of coins (If you don’t want to use real coins, you can purchase play money sets like this one from Melissa & Doug)
- 4 sheets of paper- one labeled with a large ‘P’, one with a ‘N’, one with a ‘D’ and one with a ‘Q’
How We Sorted Coins Using Beginning Letter Sounds
I started by printing out each of the letters we needed onto paper. I decided to use uppercase letters since Theo sometimes still gets confused with the lowercase letters. (I didn’t want the activity to have too many challenging aspects to it, or it could of become too frustrating to be fun.)
If you don’t want to print out your own letters, you can print out the ones I used below:
I placed the four letters in front of Theo and together we went over the sound each letter makes. Then we talked about how each coin starts with one of the four letter sounds. As we picked up a coin, we’d say its name and beginning sound and then place it on the corresponding letter.
Once we had at least one coin on each letter, the sorting was pretty easy for Theo to do on his own. It was neat to observe him sorting the coins and sometimes trying to figure out the name of coins by using the letter sounds.
Occasionally some coins would be sorted incorrectly. When all the letters we’re filled, I would point to the letter and say something like, “Hmm. Do any of these coins look different than the others?” Theo would search and find the ones that didn’t belong and place them on the correct letter.
Once he was done with sorting, we counted how many pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters we had. It was a great way to get some counting practice in and compare numbers!
When we were finished, we picked up all the coins and stored them with the letter sheets so they’d be easy to access whenever Theo feels like doing them again!
Check out our ebook ABCs and 123s! You’ll find 40+ ways to encourage children to explore letters and numbers through play!