How to Teach Counting with Coins

How to teach counting with coins. Four hands-on math activities for preschool and kindergarten kiddos. Make math fun again!

Have you ever thought about using coins to teach your preschoolers to count? It’s easy! And kids have a fascination with money!

how-to-teach-counting-with-coins How to Teach Counting with Coins

How to Teach Counting with Coins

Count with Pennies

Start teaching kids how to count with pennies. Pennies are worth one cent making the process is simple.

First, pull out three pennies and have your child count to three.

Once three is easy, pull out five pennies, and then ten pennies. 

Personally, I like to lay the pennies in a line for the kids to count, but you can also group the pennies.

If you want, stop here for a time to practice simple addition and subtraction.

You have 3 pennies. You buy a gumball for 1 penny. How many pennies do you have now?

Or you have 3 pennies. You find 2 more pennies. How many pennies do you have now?

When your child is able to count to ten, teach counting to 20 and then 100. 

After all, there are 100 pennies in a dollar!

Counting with Dimes

Now, I don’t wait until my kids are able to count to one hundred before I begin teaching them to count by 10’s. Instead, I begin once they’re confident counting to twenty. Counting by 10’s actually helps kids learn to count to 100. 

This time lay out the dimes and let your child know there are 10 pennies in each dime. 

Have your child practice counting out ten pennies and trading them for a dime. It’s a great way to cement the idea that dimes are worth ten into your child’s head. 

Now lay out ten dimes and practice skip counting by 10’s to 100. 

10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100

I’ve found it takes some time before kids can count by 10’s reliably. Like everything else it takes repetition, so practice counting every day.

As your child becomes comfortable counting by 10’s, start mixing up dimes and pennies. For instance, have your child counting 4 dimes and 3 pennies.

10, 20, 30, 40, 41, 42, 43.

Mix up the dimes and pennies until you have your child easily counting to 99!

how-to-teach-counting How to Teach Counting with Coins

Counting with Nickels

Once your child is comfortable counting with dimes and pennies, it’s time to add nickels.

Begin with the concept that a nickel is worth 5 pennies and 2 nickels are worth 1 dime. Have your child practice switching out pennies for nickels and nickels for dimes.

Next, begin to count by 5’s up to 50.

5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50

You’ll want to keep practicing this skill daily until your child is comfortable counting by 5’s.

Then let your child count groups of coins. Toss down 3 dimes, 5 nickels, and 2 pennies and help your child count.

10, 20, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 55, 56, 57

With practice, your child will be soon be counting pennies, nickels, and dimes!

Counting by Quarters

Once your child can easily count pennies, dimes, and nickels, it’s time to add quarters into the mix!

Here you’re going to want to start by teaching your child to count by 25’s.

25, 50, 75, 100 (a dollar)

My kids usually say a dollar instead of 100. But they know there are 100 pennies in a dollar, so it works out in the end.

Again, when your child is comfortable counting by 25’s, start giving your child small piles of coins to count.


As I mentioned before, kids are fascinated by money. They love counting money which makes it the perfect manipulative to teach kids math.

You’ll be surprised how quickly your kids learn to count!

Have you used coins to teach your children to count?

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