Money Matters

About the Activity

In this activity, kids will practice beginning skills in counting money and how to apply those skills by pretending to buy groceries.


Topic: Cooking, Financial Literacy
Grades: Pre-K-2
Estimated Time: 30 minutes


Brought to you by Utah State University Extension

kid learning about money and finances at virtual 4-H camp


  • Pennies
  • Nickels
  • Dimes
  • Quarters
  • Dollar Bills or play money
  • Play food (op substitute with real food from your pantry)
  • Play cash register – Box, drawer, etc.
  • Grocery bags or toy cart or basket
  • Paper
  • Pen
  • Poster board or paper
supply list icon

Activity Steps

Counting and Matching

  1. Place pennies on one side of the table in different rows. For example, put a row of five pennies, a row of eight pennies, and a row of ten pennies.
  2. On the other side of the table put the matching amount using different coins. Continuing the example above, place a nickel, a nickel and three pennies, and a dime.
  3. Count the coins and match them to the correct number of pennies.

“Visit” the Grocery Store

  1. Have fun and get creative staging a grocery store using whatever you have on hand! Be sure to include a checkout lane and “cash register“ and put your coins and dollars in the register.
  2. Price the items using some of the same sums you added up in the first counting activity.
  3. Select one child/adult to be the cashier, and the other to be a shopper.
  4. Give the shopper a sum of money – ask them to count how much they have.
  5. Give the shopper time to select their items, keeping in mind their budget.
  6. The cashier will check out the customers, adding up the price of the items, and collect the correct amount of money.


Continue the fun: Teach kids about earning money by “paying” them after their turn being the cashier so they can use that money to take another turn as a shopper.

stacks of coins

Reflection Questions
Questions for your kids and teens.


  • What kinds of things do you have to save for in order to buy?
  • What is the difference between needs and wants?


  • Why are money management skills important?
  • What are some ways that you could save and earn money?
  • In what ways can money management skills help you in the future?
lightbulb icon

Shop 4-H Curriculum and Products

Shop 4-H offers university-backed curriculum, educational kits, and products to expand your interest in financial literacy and more!

SmartCents digital download

Smart Cents Digital Download

Youth make decisions about how to use money every day and develop financial skills.  Each unit includes 1 digital access code.



SmartCents student workbook

Smart Cents Student Workbook

This Smart Cents Activity Guide Workbook & accompanying playbook (available above) teach youth about how to use money every day financial skills.



financial literacy bundle

Financial Literacy Bundle

These financial literacy resources guide educators through curricula that helps youth build the skills and behaviors they need to achieve financial health.



My Financial Future curriculum bundle

My Financial Future

Grades: 7-12


Middle and high schoolers will develop money management skills from organizing finances to risk management.



Mi Futuro Económico curriculum

Mi Futuro Económico

Grados: 7-12


Incluye el Nivel Principiante, el Nivel Avanzado, y La Guía para el Facilitador de Mi Futuro Económico.



Reading Makes Cents digital download

Reading Makes Cents

Grades: 3-5


Includes 53 activities about money saving, spending and more. Each unit includes 1 digital access code.



Brought to you by:

No endorsement of these supporters' products or services is granted or implied by 4‑H.

Help 4-H Provide Equal #Opportunity4All Kids