For most children, learning about money is an area of real-life maths that they really enjoy! Here is something that makes sense and has a reason – useful maths. Children are aware of money from a young age from going shopping to pocket money to listening to adults talking about saving for holidays and cars etc. Teaching them the basics about spending and saving will give them confidence in other areas of maths and help them as they grow.
Money is all about numbers so counting is a valuable skill to teach children when introducing them to the subject of finances. Start with small coins (real or play) – have a pile of 1p coins to count. Ask them to count out different amounts. Can they add these together? You can write out the calculations on a whiteboard. When they are confident in counting in ones, move them on to counting in 2p and 5p coins. It’s a good idea to learn the different coins at a young age – they can sort them (by size, value, shape?).
A good game for recognising coins is to put a pile of coins on the table and then give them five seconds to find a certain coin. Another fun idea for learning the value of different shaped coins is coin rubbing – put coins under a piece of paper and gently rub a coloured pencil or crayon over the paper until the coin pattern comes through.
Learning about money through play is the next step in helping your child get more confident with money. Setting up a ‘shop’ is a great way for children to gain an understanding of product value. You can stock the shop (and when I say shop, I mean anything from an upturned cardboard box or dining table to an actual child wooden village shop!) with items from your cupboards.
Let your child look at the shopping receipt and find how much those items cost. They can make price tags or labels for the items in their own shop. You can play with them – be a shopper and choose some items for them to add up (they could learn some calculator skills or practice their addition if they are older).
They can be the shopper – encourage them to write a shopping list (words or pictures are fine) and have a budget. You can create some ‘deals’ so older children can work out which is better value – 3 for 2 or half price etc. Can they work out how much change they are owed from £5 / £10 / £20 etc
Role play is a lovely safe place to get to grips with tricky topics and learning about money in a variety of play situations is fabulous.
This cake stand opens up opportunities for lots of different learning (including some lovely sorting activities!). Find a cake recipe, a real one, and work out how much it would cost to make (you can use online supermarket sites for this as it encourages some great literacy skills, problem solving, IT skills etc). Can they find the coins for each ingredient? How many cakes will the recipe make? Can they work out how much one cake will cost to make?
If you have the time and inclination, make the cake (lots of maths in baking) or use one of the toy cakes on the stand. Put the cakes in the shop to sell – how much will they charge for each cake so they make a profit? (Older children love to work out how much money they have made after initial costs are taken off). You could even encourage some marketing (posters or a visual advert) – the possibilities are many!
by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds
As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment.
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