Money Math Games & Apps for Counting Coins and Bills
Counting Coins and Bills with Interactive Money Games
Anytime I can use games for my students to practice math skills, I jump at them. I've used these beginner money games and apps in my math center rotations, and it's often difficult to tear the children away from them at the end of the rotation.
Playing interactive counting money games is a fun way to help elementary school students learn how to count coins and bills, and how make change. These games provide feedback right away, so kids learn faster. And they offer an endless amount of practice.
Money worksheets are a very blahhhhh way to learn about money, according to every child I've ever worked with. So I'm always looking for ways to do away with those curs-ed worksheets. These games definitely fit the bill.
I've also included links to several lessons that use activities with money - useful for homeschooling parents as well as classroom teachers.
Counting Bills and Coins App
In the app world, K12 offers a free download from iTunes called Counting Bills and Coins. It's a bit of a misnomer, as this app helps kids learn to do a lot more than that. In addition to counting money, kids play the role of cashiers who make change, and they calculate equivalent amounts, using different valued coins. The difficulty level ranges from the most basic counting up to $20 to more complex problems, making change up to $99. Students can see just the front or the fronts and backs of bills and coins.
This app can be run on the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. It require iOS 3.0 or later.
Peter Pig's Money Counter app
If you have a Kindle and a child age 4-7, check out the Peter Pig's Money Counter app on Amazon. Appealing graphics and sound keep young students entertained as they learn the value of coins, and learn fun facts about money from other students.
Visa, Inc., designed the app with three beginner levels. In the first, kids identify coins and their values. In the second, they calculate the value of a selection of coins. And in the third, they estimate the relative values of two groups of coins.
Illuminations Coin Box
Illuminations is the premier site for math lessons and interactives. The Coin Box provides kids with several choices. They can use it to count coins on the board, collect coins for the amount shown, exchange coins for equal amounts, calculate change from coins displayed, or calculate coins from values displayed.
When the child checks her answer, it tells her if she's done Great!, or the answer is Too much or Too little. If the answer is not right, she can adjust the amount to correct it.
She can put the coins on the workboard loosely, or switch back and forth to a value grid of the coins. This scaffolding is a visual clue to the value of each coin. (The value grid is also commonly seen on standardized math test problems.)
from Harcourt School Publishers
Harcourt's Counting Money Game takes a simple well-ordered approach to learning money values. A set of coins ordered from greatest to least appears. The child types in the total amount of the coins' value.
If he gets it wrong, the prompt tells him if the amount he picked is too much or too little. If he gets it wrong a second time, he gets more guidance, such as "Count by tens, then fives, then ones." If he gets it wrong a third time, the game counts the coins for him and shows the correct total.
After several problems, he sees a brief money cartoon and has the chance to play again.
Discovering Coin Values
from Toon University
Kids will have fun counting coins at Toon University. They pick the coins to equal the amount at the top of the screen. They can drop them in the cup, down the slide, or flick them off the thumb. If the child chooses a coin with too great a value, the narrator tells her to pick one of a lesser amount.
The cup displays the total amount in it as each coin is added. So this is a good game for kids just learning and who need lots of value clues. Please note this is a flash-based game, not compatible with iPads as of this writing.
Play Money Games Old School Style
I've used Money Bags in my 1st and 2nd grade classrooms to help kids work on their money sense. Aside from being educational, it's just a fun board game. It provides hands-on practice in counting money, particularly coins. So it's a good choice for tactile, kinesthetic learners. A player may land on a square that says "no nickels" or "no dimes" so kids learn equivalent amounts too. My students never tire of playing it.
It makes a great gift for kids ages 5-8, or as a donation to your child's K-3 classroom (especially for Teacher Appreciation Day).
Learn to Count Money
In Learn to Count Money, kids earn fish for the bowl when they get correct answers. If the child has a wrong answer, the board is wiped clean and he must try again. There are no prompts to help him count, or to tell him if he has too much or too little.
There are 3 levels. In level 1, kids pick coins to equal the money value for amounts less than a dollar. The money value of each coin is displayed on it. Level 2 uses paper money in denominations up to $100, as well as the coins. Level 3 requires more complex combinations of bills and coins.
Numbernut Money Math
NumberNut has several activities for kids to practice counting, comparing, adding and subtracting coins and money values. The activities have multiple choice or yes/no answers. Each activity has a set of 10 randomly selected questions, so kids can play it as often as they wish. There are 16 different activities.
from Armor Games
The object of Pocket Change is to pick the exact number of coins to match the number of coins and amount shown on the left. You have to pick your change correctly eight times to get to the next level. You have 50 seconds to answer all eight correctly. If you check the box for Currency Help Mode, the value of each coin along the bottom is displayed.
Each level is progressively harder. But you get more time at each level to select your coins.
Counting Money Lesson Plans
All of these coin counting lesson plans are free
- Number Cents (K-2)
Six lessons for learning the value of coins, how to count them, and how to make change. Illuminations is the premiere website for K-12 math lessons and activities. Their interactive, Coin Box, is described above.
- Primary Economics (K-2)
Lesson of a game to teach kids the different combinations of coins to make money amounts up to 25 cents. This is another Illuminations lesson.
- Changes in Change (3-5)
This lesson incorporates interactives and teaches kids a bit about the history of US currency. EconEdLink is an outstanding websites with lessons and activities to teach economics, finance, and money skills to students of all grade levels.
- To Market to Market (K-5)
Kids learn consumer and producer skills by buying and selling things in a classroom market. A connected interactive prepares students for the game. This is another EconEdLink lesson.
- Every Penny Counts (K-2)
Kids learn about consumer budgets, choices and comparison shopping (comparing amounts of money). This is another EconEdLink lesson that includes an interactive.
- Fiscal Responsibility (grade 4)
This is a project-based learning plan where students learn the power of economic choices, the value of saving money, and create brochures and presentations to encourage other students to save money. This Teach 21 PBL plan is from the West Virginia De
- Money Smart Children (grade 2)
In this unit of 5 lessons, kids learn the concepts of spend, save, invest, and donate. Younger students practice identifying and counting coins, while older students practice data and chart skills. Learning to Give is a website with educational resou