Making Money


  • To make and use written symbols for a purpose
  • To use fine motor control

Paper, crayons, shoebox
Prepare ahead of time by setting up a play store with items to "buy." Use the shoebox as a pretend cash register.

Literature Suggestion
Read Corduroy by Don Freeman, or any other book that might inspire imaginative play about money or shopping.

draw money
change     dollars
buy shopping

Talk about going shopping. Help children discuss how you select things to buy, (such as food or a toy), pay the cashier at the register, and receive change. Ask the children to mime these actions.


  • Read the book and have children describe the store (or other details about shopping).
  • Draw and display the symbol for dollars. Give the children small pieces of paper. Ask them to draw dollar symbols on the paper to make pretend money.
  • Invite them to use the money to go shopping at the "store" in their room. (You may want to mark prices on the items for sale by drawing on the item the number of dollar signs required to buy it.)
  • Collect the money and put it in the shoebox. Label the shoebox with dollar signs and have a child place it in the store to be used in future play.
At a center, place play money--both coins and paper--in containers. Ask children to sort the coins and paper money into categories. The categories would first be coins and paper money, then denominations of coins and paper money.

Observation Assessment

  • Proficient - Child comfortably makes the pretend money, understands that the symbols mean that the paper represents money, and uses the money to pretend to pay for items at the store.
  • In Process - Child is awkward making the money and/or has difficulty understanding that it can be used to pretend to pay for items at the store.
  • Not Yet Ready - Child avoids drawing or does not yet understand the concept of money.

Excerpted from School Readiness Activity Cards. The Preschool Activity Cards provide engaging and purposeful experiences that develop language, literacy, and math skills for preschool children.

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