Creating Coin Creatures to Practice Counting Money
Using coins to solve real-world math problems is a lifelong skill that students learn early on in school. With a little creativity, you can make coin counting more entertaining and imaginative when you practice with your child. Try creating coin creatures with your student in this fun money activity.
Creating Coin Creatures
Print out the templates provided and challenge your student to build one or more of the “coin creatures” using pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.
Once your child is finished with an animal, ask him or her to count the total amount of money it took to fill it in. If your child is just beginning to work with coins, simplify the activity by helping him or her complete these steps:
- Count the total number of coins used
- Make a list of how many coins of each type were used
- Use pencil and paper to reduce this part into a series of math problems
Children who have had more coin counting practice can try adding the total of the coins in their head. If your student has filled in more than one animal, ask him or her to determine which animal is worth the most money and which is worth the least.
Try More Coin Creature Activities!
Add the animals. Prompt your student with some simple addition problems. How much money would the lion and the giraffe add up to? How much would the fish and the lion be worth? Which pair is worth more, the snake and the fish or the fish and the giraffe?
- Challenge question: More coins are used to create the giraffe than the lion, but the lion adds up to more money than the giraffe. Why is this?
Build on a budget. Lay out all of the animal templates in front of your student. Give him or her a specific amount of money to stay under or match exactly. Challenge your student to determine which of the animals he or she can build.
Create your own coin creatures. Ask your student to design his or her own animal or object out of coins. Consider trying these modifications:
- Give your student a specific amount of change to create a template with.
- Introduce silver dollars to the mix and have your student create a template that incorporates five types of coins instead of four.
- If you have more than one virtual student, ask an older student to create a new coin template for a younger sibling to fill in.
Hunt for hidden coins. Gather all of the coins needed to fill in one of the animals and hide them around the room. When your student returns to the room, tell him or her to hunt for the coins, and add them to the animal as they are found. You can also:
- Time your student just for fun.
- Double the amount of coins you hide and have two siblings or friends race to finish their animal.
- Modify the Coin Collection idea in our list of indoor P.E. activities for K–5 students by asking your child to find as many coins as he or she can in 1–3 minutes. Then see what kind of animal template he or she can create using these coins. Try this activity a few more times to create additional animals, then see which one is worth the most, which uses the most coins, and so on.
Color the coin creatures. Encourage your child to color in the coin creatures and draw the animals’ natural habitats in the background. You can also have your student color in the templates he or she created.
How Coin Creatures Reinforce Skills
Creating coin creatures helps a child build both math and counting skills. Children practice adding change, comparing different amounts of money, and recognizing coins by their size and amount.
This money activity also offers children the opportunity to think creatively about coins. Take this activity to the next level by exploring other ways that coins are used in art and more. Check out these examples:
Take this time to explain to your child what you can and cannot legally do with money. Do some research together to find more information on the prohibitions and exceptions. If your child is interested in learning more about coins, give him or her some time to visit the United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change™ website for kids.
Getting involved in counting practice with your child can help you prepare to raise a financially fit kid. Tell us any other ideas you have for coin or money activities!