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Teaching Preschoolers about Numbers and Coins

preschoolersKids have an instinct about money, even preschoolers. They see you counting it, hear you talk, feel your concerns. Help them get a head start on life by teaching them about numbers and coins. You’ll get them thinking about finances in an easy-to-understand, no-pressure way. Read more about it in Make Your Kid a Money Genius (Even If You’re Not).

When my son was in preschool and we had a playdate with twins who lived nearby, I was impressed that they knew the difference between a penny, a nickel, a dime, and a quarter. And I felt sort of embarrassed—me, the money writer—that I hadn’t taught my little guy.

Experiments with babies as young as five months show that they already have an intuitive number sense, which will help them understand money. If you show that you are putting two dolls behind a screen, but take it down to reveal only one doll, the baby will act surprised, just like an adult would.

When you think about it, number games are everywhere. Sorting socks after you do the laundry, counting the number of bananas you put in the shopping cart, and noting each duck on the pond at the park are examples. For older preschoolers, you can even try playing a version of “store,” using coins or paper money to have your kid “buy” items. You may have to help your kid count the money at first, but don’t be too quick to jump in and do the math for him. It’s good to give him the time to work it out himself. Also, make sure to repeat counting activities; although you might get bored, repetition is a primary component of learning.

Studies have shown that hard work pays off, even for preschoolers. Make sure to sign your little one up for the next Take Your Kids to Work Day.

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