Saturday, February 10, 2018

Teaching Kids About Money

When Noah was a toddler, he was fascinated by money! He seemed to have an inherent understanding that coins were valuable. I remember him excitedly "stealing" coins from the consoles in our cars and from my husband's bedside table.
Depositing coins into his piggy bank became a big event! He would excitedly count the coins with us and then dance around singing "Money! Money! Money!" Noah got a ton of satisfaction from depositing each coin into his bank. It was so fun to watch. His grandparents would give him dollars and ask him what he would buy. Then we would all smile as he announced he was putting every dollar into his bank at home.
Despite his early fascination, I wasn't sure quite where to begin explaining money to him. How could I show him that a quarter was worth more than a nickel? How would that even make sense to a preschooler? Elly and Ada Grace don't share Noah's fascination with money, so I was even less sure how to introduce the concept of currency to them. I think we can all agree that it's an important lesson for kids, but where should we begin?
Recently, we introduced the concept of money and its value in a unique way...
The kids are fascinated by learning about different cultures and our current Mother Goose Time theme (It's A Small World) focuses on famous landmarks, geography, and world cultures. Last Wednesday's lesson focused specifically on currency. We always have so much fun with the themed activities Mother Goose Time sends in our yellow school bus box. We love sharing our journey here with you on the blog and we are grateful to receive our curriculum free of charge in exchange for telling you about our journey around the world this month!

First, we decorated our own paper wallets and filled them with pretend money! Like all good Southern girls, Ada Grace needed her wallet monogrammed.

After a short break spent pretending to buy "ice cream" with pretend money... we all gathered at the table to sort coins.  For the girls, we mostly focused on separating the coins into groups of like items.

We learned which coins are pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. We talked about how to tell them apart and practiced putting quarters with quarters, dimes with dimes, etc.
Then, I gave Noah a bit more information by showing him the value of each coin and discussing like amounts (1 dime is equal to 2 nickels, 5 pennies are equal to 1 nickel, etc,).

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Dinosaur Egg STEAM Station

One of our favorite aspects of Mother Goose Time preschool curriculum is the STEAM stations. STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, art, and math.  Each day, our lesson includes an activity that focuses on building  STEAM skills.
In the interest of full disclosure, I'd like to reiterate that we receive Mother Goose Time for free in exchange for sharing the journey with our blog readers. With that in mind, let me tell you about the latest STEAM station that my kids are begging to do again and again...
Frozen Dinosaur Eggs!

These activities do require some prep work and materials outside of what's included in our monthly subscription box.  For instance, "frozen dinosaur eggs" required me to purchase latex balloons and spend time stuffing dinosaur counters (included in our subscription box) and water into the balloons. It had to be done the night before, in order to allow time for the "eggs" to freeze. I'm not the biggest fan of activities that require advanced preparation on my part, but in fairness... how were they going to mail me frozen eggs?

With a little prep, we had these!

The kids enjoyed exploring the eggs and squirting warm water over them using some plastic condiment containers I purchased at the local dollar store. The warm water helped our eggs to "hatch." Not to mention, my kids love anything that means they get to play with water. Why is that?

Anyway, we did several eggs. The children had so much fun that we ended up repeating the activity every day that week! Those little frozen eggs led to some fun conversations about hatching eggs, melting and freezing water, and hot vs. cold.

But the best part, was the way they helped each other! More than introducing STEAM skills or all the fun spin off conversations, I am grateful for the community that activities like this foster. Mother Goose Time already includes community building activities every day and that's awesome. But what I love is how the STEAM stations, literacy activities, and math games all foster a sense of community by encouraging the children to work together and help one another learn and succeed.