It’s the 25th anniversary of our best-selling Cash Register and we’re celebrating with 10 great games to play with pretend money, from coin counting and matching to making and tallying coin-a-pillars, Easter egg money counts, and more!
Sort It Out
This one’s for the littlest learners! Jumble up the coins and bills from the Cash Register and challenge your little ones to sort them out into the divided compartments in the Register. Point out that the different types of coins are different shapes and colors and that the bills have different numbers on them. Tell your child the value and name of each coin and bill as they put them away.
This fast-action learning game combines physical and mental fun! Give each child a handful of random play coins and a large plastic bowl. Place the bowls on the ground with the kids standing behind them and have each child take 5 big steps backward. Then ready, set, toss! Tossing one coin at a time, see how many each child can get into their bowl. Then challenge them to count the value of the coins inside.
Find It Fun
Hide your play coins and bills around the house (remember to track how many you’ve hidden!), then let your little ones loose. When you think all the coins have been found, have each child count the value of their stash. The seeker who found the most money wins!
Buy It Back
Using printer labels or tie-on tags, gather a few of your child’s toys, and put a price on them (round numbers are easier for little kids, dollars and cents work well for older kids). Give each child a bank of dollars and coins and have them “pay” you for the toys they want. Older elementary-school-aged kids can play cashier while YOU buy with bills, making your change from the register.
Turn money math into a sensory experience by placing your play coins in a batch of slime or a bin of Playfoam Pluffle™. Sneak in some fine motor skill practice by having your kids extract the coins using play tweezers – and total them up.
Turning a sheet of printer paper sideways, draw a bunch of balloons tied with a string and let your little ones color them in. Then use a marker to write a random amount of dollars and cents on each balloon. Open your register and see if your child can remove the correct amount and place it on the matching balloon. Hint – keep your totals low so your kids can complete all the balloons without having to restock the register.
Put those empty plastic Easter eggs to use! Fill each egg with a tiny surprise – a bit of chocolate, piece of chewing gum, etc. – then use a Sharpie to write a price on the outside of the egg. If your child can give you the correct amount of money, they win the prize inside!
Practice matching and coin value by creating your own Bingo cards! Start by dividing a sheet of paper (card stock works well) into nine boxes. Write a coin value (1, 5, 10, or 25) in each, then give each child a handful of play coins. Reaching into your own pile, pull out a coin and call out its value. If the player has a matching coin and an open space with that value on their card, they place it there. The first player to complete a row, column, or diagonal wins the game!
Turning a sheet of printer paper sideways, have your kids draw a caterpillar head (don’t forget the antennae) at one end, five or six empty circles with lines beneath each, a few fuzzy feet, and a line at the end. Color them in if you like. Then, with their eyes closed, have them pick five or six play coins out of a bowl and place them in their caterpillar’s circles. Using a pencil, have them write the value of each coin beneath it and total up the value on the line at the end. Remove the coins, erase the numbers, and begin again!
Give each child a stack of random play bills and call out a number. The first player to find the bills that add up to that number and slap them down on the table wins the round. The first player to win five rounds wins the game! Start with simple numbers like $1 or $6 and work your way up to tougher addition, like $9 or $14. Older kids can add coins to their stash and learn to build a dollar out of dimes and quarters.
Save it for later!