Teaching children about money is not a one time thing. It will take years to instill all the lessons we want them to learn, my husband is a banker and you better believe that this is but the very tip of the iceberg but we will leave lessons about investing, interest rates and such for another year or 5 ! Today we focused on learning the names and denominations of the coins and dollar bills while playing bakery.
- Gather your materials. We are using a few props for our bakery, play cookies, an apron for our baker, a cake stand and place mat, a magna doodle, real money and a little change purse.
- Start by setting your prices. I kept it simple so that we could focus on our lesson which was identifying the coins and amounts. If you wanted to focus on addition I would make the cookies cost amounts that would facilitate addition ( $1.25, 75cents etc..) but if your goal is the same as mine make them for exact coin amounts. I did make other cookies $2 but that was easy for him with the dollar bills.
- Set up your bakery. I find that when I set up the pretend play props he plays more, but some children will want to be a part of this and by all means let them.
- Take some time to go over the basics of the coins or a quick refresher.
- Put the apron on and start playing.
- We didn’t use any amounts that required him giving me the customer change but for a child who is more advanced with money than my 3 year old, that is an awesome math lesson. We did count out some pennies though.
- For younger kids you can make is simpler like I did here almost a year ago .
- When you play pretend with your child let them go off on tangents and tell you about their “character” ask them questions , and play the part. I know for some parents this can be really silly but it helps , the kids get into the lesson and forget they are even learning.
* A great follow up to this would be to go to your local bakery and continue this lesson buy buying a cookie, having your child find the right coins to do so and enjoying it together. Or make some fun Letter C cookies .
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff is a contemporary classic, and if you have ever read it to a group of children you will know why. The story builds as one thing leads to the next when you give into the whims of a silly little mouse! This is a great book to recall and recount with your child, after reading have them retell you what happened by asking “What happened next?” this is a really easy and important tool in early literacy!
Mr. Cookie Baker was an instant hit at our house. The book is about who else, Mr. Cookie Baker and it shows the reader how he makes cookies from scratch, ices them and sells them. It’s a great book to explain baking and bakeries. My son loves the part where Mr. Cookie Baker eats a cookie after a long hard day and then says goodnight. I like the illustrations, they are bold and detailed without being cluttered and can almost tell the story all by themselves. Be warned though reading this will almost definitely make you crave a cookie or two.