Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Money Exchange Game

            Money is – without a doubt – an essential life skill which all children need to understand.  Unfortunately, telling a “concrete” child that a dime is equal to ten pennies, or five nickels are equal to one quarter just doesn’t make sense.  They can see that there are more pennies than dimes, so how is it possible for them to be equal?  While the child really won’t be able to understand it until he reaches the “formal” stage of thinking, around age 12, you can do some things so that your child can use money and explain it, even though they may not fully understand it.  One of these methods is using the Money Exchange Game.
            For the Money Exchange Game, you need at least 20 pennies per person, at least 10 dimes per person, 2 dice per person, and one dollar bill.  The coins should be put in two piles in the center of the playing area, and the dollar bill should be placed where everyone can see it in the center. 
            Players take turns rolling the two dice.  For each number rolled, they take one penny.  When a player has 10 pennies, they exchange them for one dime.  It makes rolling a 10 or above on the dice very exciting because they can choose a dime instead of a handful of pennies.  Of course, a roll of an 11 or 12 allows them to choose a dime and one or two pennies to match the number – which is even better.
            When a player gets 10 dimes, s/he can exchange them for the dollar bill.  This person is the winner of the game – congratulations!  It is up to you, as the parent or teacher, to decide if this child gets to keep the dollar or if s/he has to give it back. 
            This game can be very fast paced, but it’s a lot of counting.  If your child is very young or has great difficulty counting, you might want to lower it to 50 cents instead of a dollar.  It is a fabulous game which addresses many different skills and will keep the interest of children of many different ages and abilities. 
            Playing games can be fun, but they’re much better if they can learn while they are playing them.  This is not a game you want to play more than once per day, but maybe once or twice a week would provide great skill practice for counting

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