My son, ER, is in Grade 1 and they have been spending some time in class learning about money. As we recently acquired an activity set all about introducing kids to money, I decided that this was a perfect time to help reinforce his school learning. The activity set came with pretend coins as well as counter cards. Though we had played around with the coins and cards a few times, this was our first try at really getting into the entire activity.
Buying Lunch Activity
The money activity set we own had a few suggested activities. One of the suggested activities was setting up a little store with a variety of items and assign prices to them for your child to “buy”. I thought that it would be fun for the kids to buy their lunch: so I made our lunch and assigned prices for each part of it. I kept the prices low so that it was easier for them to understand the amounts – my aim was to get them used to using coins rather than confuse them with the true cost of food.
Both of my kids approached the activity differently. My daughter, KE, chose what she wanted for lunch and then I helped her figure out how much she needed to pay. Whereas ER, looked at everything and paid me for one item at a time before he added it to his plate.
Buying Lunch Activity – Was it a Success?
KE – who is younger than ER – seemed a little disconcerted that she needed to put some thought into what she was eating based on how much “money” she had to spend. After her first helping of lunch, she didn’t want to “pay” for everything again, and since she’s young and this was supposed to be a fun activity, I just let her help herself without worrying about adding up the “cost” of the food.
ER, on the other hand, thought that buying his lunch was a really fun activity and hopefully it helped him to have a more practical understanding of money now!
About Money Activity Sets
The money activity set that I used is made by Learning Resources and is called Money Pattern Cards and Counters. I purchased my set from the school Scholastic Catalogue; however there are plenty of different money activity sets available – either directly from Learning Resources or your local toy store, or you can even make play money or open your wallet and use the real deal.
To encourage your children to recognize real currency, I recommend using play money that looks similar to the money that you normally use – such as the Teaching Cash Register available at Chapters Indigo.