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
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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?
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