Introducing Money to Preschoolers

Money is one of my favourite math topics.  It is easy to relate to real life contexts in the childrens' lives such as excursion fees, trips to the shops and visits from the tooth fairy.


I particularly enjoy introducing money through exploring pirates.

My two year old son loves, "I'd like to be a Pirate" book.  It's a bit uneventful in my opinion, but who am I to judge?  Anyways, it features treasure!  Therefore reading it leads nicely into pirate treasure hunting......

treasure hunting on the beach

Treasure hunting is easy to set up.  All you need is some gold coins (I got a supply from the local 100 yen shop) and the beach / sand box / sensory table.  We're luckily enough to live opposite the beach so we tend to go there a lot.  

Depending on the level of your students, you can have a lot of great math discussions following treasure hunts:

"Where did you find the coins?" (focusing on prepositional language)
"How many coins do you think X found?" (look and estimate)
"Who found the most coins, Y or Z?" (look and compare)

Shopping Event

We attend a local mother/toddler group most mornings which is located on the second floor of a daycare facility.  Last week the daycare staff invited us to attend their special shopping event.   

We managed to bag all of the above for a handful of notes and coins!  Bargain!  

Each child at the daycare was allocated a "stall" in the classroom "supermarket".  The stalls simply consisted of tables, signs and goods.  Goods included food, mobile phones and jewellery.  I pulled out my camera to take pictures (the children looked super cute in their little shop uniforms) only to discover that I'd left the memory card in my laptop at home!  ARGH! Sorry about that.  As customers we were allocated shopping bags and toy money.  

The daycare children loved working in their shops and as customers we got to keep our purchases!  A definite win win situation!  

Here are some close up photos of our purchases....

This mobile phone is simply made from a milk carton.  My son loves playing with this and pointing out the individual numbers on the keypad.  The picture is of Currypan Man (curry bread man) a famous character here in Japan.

our food purchases

jewellery purchases - bracelets, rings and a necklace.

The teachers and children worked hard all week making their goods for sale.  In the process they did a LOT of fine motor work (placing stickers, twisting pipe cleaners and wool, tying knots....).   I think they did an awesome job!  

The children definitely got a lot out of the event.  Being a typical teacher I made a point of observing everyone (even though I don't work there!) and even the tiniest of preschoolers understood what was going on - exchanging money for goods.  It was funny to note that children often received more change than the money they tendered in the first place - but that was all part of the fun!


Please share your ideas for introducing money in the comments section below.

Best wishes,

OkinawanGirl Lisa


  1. Hi Lisa! I am so glad you found my blog- and I found yours! I loved your post about preschoolers and money. It is amazing what they can learn so young! I loved the supermarket idea. What fun! Your pirate book made me think of the "gold" I make for the kids to use for their treasure when they play at free choice- I just spray paint stones gold and it is instant treasure! :) The kids probably wonder why I am still working with all that gold right at my fingertips! ;)
    I am your newest follower!
    Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together

    1. Thank you so much Carolyn!

      I'm new to blogging and still finding my way. I'm so glad I joined this collaborative blog, it has made the whole blog learning experience much easier as we contact each other with ideas or to ask for advice. The other ladies are great and I'm learning a lot!

      I love your idea of making treasure using spray paint and stones, I imagine it will make your sand box area extremely popular.

      Thanks for following us!

      I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts over on Kindergarten: Holding Hands and Sticking Together.

      Best wishes,

      OkinawanGirl Lisa


Your comments are always appreciated! Thank you!!