Category Archives: money

Montessori Jar: Cleaning Pennies

Boo and I have been a slacking in doing our Montessori Jar since we moved in December (OK, truth be told we had been slacking WAY before our move, and most of the activities that were in her jar mysteriously disappeared only to be found smushed in her plastic vanity drawer where they are at this very moment). Needless to say, I am excited to be back in the Montessori activity game!
I found the cleaning penny idea at The Science Explorer. We set to work gathering the materials- 20 dull and dirty pennies, 1/4 cup vinegar, 1 teaspoon salt, clear shallow bowl, and 2 paper towels labeled “Rinsed” and “Not Rinsed” (the website suggests doing activities with nails and bolts- we just stuck to the pennies).

Gather your materials. I just love the little Rudolph face in the background! She was our little cheerleader during the activity:)
Stir salt in the vinegar until its dissolved. This was a great time to discuss with Boo what “dissolves” means.

Take a penny and dip it halfway into the vinegar and salt mixture. Count to 10 and…

Half of your penny is clean! So cool!!

After doing this a couple times (since it was super exciting for both of us), dump all your pennies into the vinegar/salt mixture.

After 5 minutes, take half your pennies and put them on the “Not Rinsed” paper towel.

 Take the other half of your pennies and rinse them well. Place these on the “Rinsed” paper towel. And now it’s time to wait.

After one hour, the “Not Rinsed” pennies will have a nice blue tint to them! The reason is that the copper atoms are joining with oxygen atoms and chlorine atoms from the salt.

This was a super easy science experiment that Boo and I both enjoyed. We just love science around here!!:)
Happy Teaching!

Advent Calendar Idea: Coin Recognition

The time for advent calendars is here! Can you believe it? Where does the time go! I was getting our advent calendar ready with treats and had an idea to easily incorporate coin recognition over the 25 day advent calendar time period. The total cost for this activity? A mere 25 cents. Objective? To learn the coins: penny, nickel, dime, quarter.
Inside each little cubby in our advent calendar (and next to our little treat of course!) I will place a penny. If you don’t have an advent with cubbies, you can just give your child one penny every day in December until Christmas. The penny will be placed in a little canvas wallet that I will have my daughter decorate with fabric markers, but any wallet/purse/baggie will work to hold the coins. Every morning we will open the advent cubby, take out the penny, add it with any previous coins, and stamp how much money we have so far in the “My Christmas Money” book. (This book is just a stack of index cards connected with a book ring! Simple but efficient!!)

After we have counted and stamped our daily total, I will have my daughter write the number. This might take a bit since we have NEVER written numbers (and she can write just a handful of letters) but I know she will be OK. On day #5 we will introduce a nickel and she will be able to trade in her pennies for one nickel; Day #10 She will trade in five pennies for a nickel, and then the two nickels for a dime; etc. We will finish the activity by eating the advent treat. 🙂 I am hoping the treat will act as a little motivation for her money work!
Happy Teaching and COUNTING down to Christmas!

Happy PENNY Day!!!

If you don’t know it yet, I LOVE to celebrate holidays including the weird and mostly unknown ones! And if I can tie in some teaching for my little Boo, all the better! 🙂 May 23 is National Penny Day. Here are some ideas that you can use to celebrate this “cent”sational day! (SO cheezy I just had to throw it in!)

  1. make golden penny pancakes for breakfast (yummy!)
  2. visit a candy store and indulge in your favorite penny candy
  3. for your scientific child try some penny science experiments: how many drops of water fit on a penny, will it float or sink?, and magnetic pennies.
  4. toss a penny in a wishing well or fountain while making a wish
  5. count them
  6. read books such as Henny Penny, Angelina’s Lucky Penny, or my favorite- Penny: the Forgotten Coin.
  7. see how many you can stack in a penny tower
  8. learn some penny verses such as :
    Penny, penny,
    Easily spent.
    Copper brown
    and worth one cent
  9. give someone a penny for their thoughts
  10. take the pennies from your change jar, count them, roll them, and go do something fun with the money.
  11. practice fine motor skills by putting pennies in various slots/ containers such as piggie banks, shoe boxes with cut out slits, and toilet paper rolls.
  12. purposely place “heads up” pennies in various locations for strangers to find so that others can have good luck!
  13. make a penny necklace
  14. do crayon rubbings of both sides of the penny
  15. talk about the importance and the historical significance of the penny
  16. penny worksheets from
  17. put pennies in empty plastic easter eggs and shake ’em while you dance!
  18. visit the HIP Pocket Change Website (History In your Pocket) Its a great resource from the US mint- with the history of the penny, to how coins are made, a scout corner with ideas to earn merit badges with coins, as well as some cartoons and games… A few of my favorite are the Coin Memory Game, an online wishing well, and a lot of different downloads of coins to print and color!

Another reason you should celebrate this holiday that I just learned while typing this post- This year is not only the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, but the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln cent that first appeared in 1909!!! So celebrate Penny Day and part of US history!

Happy Teaching and may the learning and FUN never end!!!

Many thanks to eHOW, Saving, PBS Kids,, All, HIP Pocket Change and Science for their great ideas.

Toddler + Pennies = Captivating Learning Game

My daughter is fascinated with her piggie bank. She can sit for a very long time picking up coins and individually placing them in the bank’s slot. I was watching her do this (I wouldn’t leave a toddler alone with small coins because of a choking hazard) and was just amazed to watch her do something so intricately!

This is an easy way to work on fine motor skills, hand eye coordination, as well as early concepts of coin identification. Use “money words” as your child picks up a coin “That is a quarter.” and eventually you can add the coin’s value. Even the littlest of tots WILL benefit from a language-rich environment! You can sort the coins based on size, color, value, etc. and even learn about a circle, too! There are learning moments all around us- so keep your eyes open!

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