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I’ve been introducing money to my kindergartner a little at a time over the past few months. It’s been a natural progression. Money is something we use all the time, and there are many opportunities to bring it up it in real life. The interest is there.
I mean, who’s not interested in money?
The oldest enjoys working on a variety of materials and concepts simultaneously. I mean, if you’re into a crash course, sure – do it all at once. However in my experience, teaching public school and teaching at home, kids retain more when they learn in little bitty chunks over time. It takes time to process and retain all of this information.
In order to (a) satisfy his curiosity and (b) introduce the concept of money in an understandable and gentle way, I have been adding one resource or another to our Math Basket each week. Either a book, game, piggy bank, video, or printable – or a combination. He enjoys examining different materials, and we have the opportunity to learn and review and review some more.
I put one math lit selection in the basket each week. We read some of these books every day for five days. Some just once or twice. We have the Eyewitness book this week. Somehow it keeps going missing. I’ve found it at the kitchen table, under his bed, and in the car… We may have to keep this one going for another week.
Lemonade in Winter
One Cent, Two Cents, Old Cents, New Cents
Pigs will be Pigs
The Penny Pot
The Berenstein Bears’ Trouble with Money
Eyewitness Book: Money
The above books are a just a few we’ve read so far. They range from stories around adding money to responsibility to facts and history of currency. You can find more listed here: 110 Math Lit Books for Early Elementary Grades. As I’ve said, we like variety!
YouTube Kindergarten Money Playlist Watch out, the songs are catchy!
Reading Rainbow Classics: Lemonade for Sale, Season 1 Episode 21
LeVar explores way that young people can earn money before they’re old enough for official jobs in this show. Andrea McArdle reads the feature story of a group of kids who decide to run a lemonade drink stand to raise money to make repairs to their clubhouse, and how a new neighbor helps them drum up business.
Biz Kid$ Series: 3 Seasons on Prime
From the producers of Bill Nye The Science Guy comes Biz Kid$, the fun, fast-paced series where kids teach kids about personal finance and business.
Episodes include: What is Money? How Do You Get Money? What Can You Do with Money?
Popular Mechanics for Kids: Money, Season 1 Episode 20
Money Co-hosts Elisha and Jay show us what makes the world go round – money. Elisha acts as a stockbroker for a day; Jay works the floor of the Stock Exchange (where he wears platform shoes to ensure that he will be seen). Later he visits the mint where he pours a million dollars worth of gold bars and he is given the chance to keep a bar worth $150,000 – if he can pick it up!
Sesame Street, A New Helper At Hoopers Store, Season 38 Episode 1
Gordon and Susan’s nephew, Chris Robinson, just moved to Sesame Street. He is looking for a job in the Help Wanted section of the newspaper because he needs money to buy books for school.
If your kid has some money, s/he might want to spend it on media. Talk about how much an app costs. How much is a movie? Will you rent it for the weekend or buy it forever? Would you rather request it from the library or borrow it from a friend? Is it worth the money or the wait?
Playing store is the easiest way to introduce the concept of money. Want to buy a dinosaur? You gotta give you sister three purple coins. A register may have passed through your house in the toddler years. Well, haul that puppy back out because it’s the perfect little prop for imaginary play.
The oldest became interested in the presidents on our currency after working on our Election Unit. This week he designed his own bills and set up a farmer’s market stand. His specialty item is a $300 bunch of bananas. That’s a pricey picnic!
He cut the bills out of green construction paper that had been folded into eighths. I used full sheet labels to make amounts and ovals for the president’s portraits. He copied the presidents’ portraits from the back of See How They Run.
His running commentary about the looks of Washington, Lincoln, and Hamilton were hilarious. He did have to correct me more than once – Benjamin Franklin was NOT a president. Hamilton either! Geez Mom.
The little stick figure president heads are my favorite.
Naturally, the farmer’s market was outside. His store was called Food Shop. We practiced skip counting with the bills, counting money from large bills to small, making change a little, and mental addition with the various bill values.
This was a suggestion from my virtual mom friend’s Occupational Therapist. Hello fine motor practice. Rubbing the coins can help develop a delicate touch on the fragile paper and practice applying more or less pressure with the crayon.
This age of digital banking seldom leads us inside the walls of an actual bank. Go ahead and show them where your money/virtual money is kept. Some banks will show you around, especially if you’re setting up an account for your child – something we aren’t quite ready for at age 5. Soon enough.
Check out some of the pamphlets up front. Fill out a withdrawal or deposit form together. Meet a teller and practice your socialization.
No, my kids don’t have regular income yet (I wish), but from time to time they do have money coming in. Birthdays, holidays, and random gifts from generous grandparents. I snake the big amounts for their savings, but they choose how to spend the rest.
My hope is that this helps them understand the value of money. What they can buy with what they have, and what it feels like when it’s gone.
Stores on My List
- Comparison shopping at the thrift store vs. buying new vs. shopping online
- Estimating totals at the grocery and drug stores
- App Store
- The mall – because after all this money work mama needs a new purse.
The first place we went to learn about money was the Dollar Tree. I know, I know – you don’t want more dollar store junk coming into your home. I get it. Neither do I!
However, it’s a decent place to start to learn the value of a dollar. One dollar.
Oh and of course, the extra six cents started a whole ‘nother discussion about taxes. Or is it Texas? Kid quasi-puns are hilarious.
When we visited the dollar store The Oldest was in charge of his $1.06. He held it tight in his hot, little fist the whole time. It was a loooooong time. Up and down the aisles. What will he choose? A puzzle? A toy? Handsoap with a new smell? A bag of blue rocks? I didn’t know what to expect.
After an excruciating length of time, he finally chose a toy monster truck. One. Toy. Truck. He learned that one dollar doesn’t go very far. Especially when the wheels fell off the very next day. I wouldn’t say he was crushed, but he hasn’t asked to go back to the dollar store.
Within some boundaries, I let the oldest choose what he wants when he receives a gift. He recently was gifted $30. Big money for a little kid! He knew exactly where he wanted to take it.
We went straight to the bookstore to the Magic Tree House books. I pointed out the prices on the back of the books, and he really enjoyed comparison shopping. Extensively comparison shopping. He was thrilled with this purchase. A much better buying experience than the dollar store junky-junk.