Coin Challenge

Here is a great post from when it comes to multiplication and helping your kids count money.



Typically, the way children practice multiplication is by looking at equation cards and answering from memory. With this challenge, your child will be able to use objects to practice multiplication and counting money. Having tactile materials makes more sense and adds relevancy for children learning new concepts.

What You Need:

  • Letter envelopes
  • Index cards
  • Coins

What You Do:

  1. Insert multiple coins of the same value into each envelope. Make sure you come up with equations ahead of time, and try them to see if they would make sense to your child.
  2. Put index cards inside the envelope he can use to practice writing the equations. If you don’t have any index cards on hand, have him write the equation on the envelope.
  3. Have him pick any envelope and open it. When he takes out the coins, have him tell you the value of that coin type. Then, have him count how many coins he has.
  4. To begin creating an equation, he will have to multiply the amount of coins he has by the value of the coin. For example, if there are three quarters in the envelope, he needs to multiply 25 x 3.
  5. Repeat!

    By the end of this activity, your child will have a strong grasp of both multiplication and counting money, a useful skill as he sails out into the world.

Monday’s Mommas: Sarah Harris from Live, Laugh, and Learn

It’s Monday and that means time to meet this week’s Monday’s Momma. Sarah Harris from Live, Laugh, and Learn joins us this week.
Though she received an undergraduate degree in psychology and a Master’s in teaching, Sarah’s real education began seven years ago when she became a mom. That’s also when you can pinpoint the sharp increase in her coffee consumption. She currently spends her days building with Legos, fashioning super hero capes and Elsa gowns out of dish towels and safety pins, and dancing around the kitchen like only her kids are watching. You can find her on Twitter quoting her kids (@skh4102) and on Instagram capturing their every adorable move (@sarah.livelaughlearn).
Check out her guest post here!
Legos, Money Management and Delayed Gratification
Evan is a Lego nut. Well, a Lego seed, because…you know…nut allergy.
Anyway, he’s obsessed. And I love this obsession. I love Legos because they’re the best toy ever. But beyond that, I love that there are “story” sets of Legos, like Lego Ninjago, Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. I love that, through playing with Legos, reading Lego encyclopedias and books, and watching Lego animation on YouTube, Evan is gaining an awareness of some of these great stories and the characters in them. Because of Legos, Evan can’t wait to read The Hobbit and the Harry Potter series. I love that. And I love that he incorporates his own story-telling into his play with Legos….
…until he reaches a point in his story line that calls for a very specific, very hard-to-find Lego mini-figure that he found in one of his many “Lego catalogs.” And, because he’s savvy enough to know that the internet can make just about anything “happen,” he knows that all he needs to do is “type the name into the search bar, Daddy, you’ll find it!” And he does. Every time. Ebay is like a purgatory for all the rare and hard-to-find Lego mini-figures. Some, like random mini-figure-holding-a-briefcase will stay there for all eternity. But others, like the Lego Star Wars Elite Clone Storm Trooper, will wait patiently, knowing that someday, some desperate parent will shell out four times the actual retail value (plus shipping!) on the tiny bit of plastic to help her son finish Chapter 12 of Series 2 in Evan’s Star Wars Battle Story.
Well, not this mom, damn it.
I almost did. I almost spent ten dollars, TEN DOLLARS, on this mini-figure because I just love Legos, okay? But I didn’t. Because this will not be the only time that Evan reaches a point in his storyline which demands the introduction of a new figure or set.
So we came up with a plan.
We told Evan that he could buy this Elite Clone Storm Trooper, but that he’d have to use his own money. Our boys earn an allowance (and Molly will, too, once she realizes what we’re up to) of $2 each week. Our goal for providing allowance is for precisely this purpose, so that they will have to save up for and buy their own “extras.” However, allowing Evan to decide he “needed” this mini-figure and, that very afternoon, spend five weeks worth of his allowance on it seemed rash. Yes, technically, it’s his money and he should be allowed to do with it what he pleases…but the other goal of providing an allowance is to teach money-management skills, including delayed gratification.
So…here’s what we did:
We talked about how, when we want or need to make a big purchase (our car, for instance), we don’t rush out right away and buy it. First, we research which cars we can afford and which ones of those make the most sense for our family. When we’ve made a decision, we put the money we will need to spend on it aside (metaphorically) and think about it for a few days. The money is right there, reserved for the car we want to buy, but we want to make sure we are still happy with our decision after the excitement of finding a new “want” has worn off. Then, when we’re sure, we make the purchase.
So Evan went upstairs and took “enough” money out of his wallet. (The fact that he was willing to break his beloved $20 bill was indicative to me of his seriousness about this purchase.) We set it aside (on the fridge) and wrote down what he wanted and a date, five days from the day he decided he needed it.


During the five day “waiting period,” he mentioned several more wants and needs. Each time, we said, “Okay. Would you like to take back the money you set aside for the mini-figure and think about buying  something else instead?”
Each time, he thought about it and decided that no, he really wanted the Elite Clone Storm Trooper.
Finally, on October 6, he decided he was still happy with his choice and we made the purchase. We gave him change for his $20 (the official buying price came in lower than expected at $9.79 including shipping…a lucky bonus to our “waiting period” policy) and now we just wait for it to arrive on our doorstep.

Lesson Learned: We don’t always have all the answers, but I think this one might be a good policy for us to use from now on…as our kids, and their wants, get bigger. I mean for the kids. It’s not like I would ever need  a “waiting period” before making purchases. It’s not like I have a Zulily problem or something. [cough. cough.]

Kids Are Expensive!

Kids are not cheap. We all know that. Now we have more proof. The Agriculture Department has now broken it down for us to the tune of $245,340. That includes everything from food, shelter, clothing and healthcare. Their estimates only cover from birth to age 18, so that doesn’t count if they stick around after that! Geez, that’s a lot of cups of coffee!

Mom, I Want to be Rich

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” It’s a question we often ask kids. There’s always all kinds of answers…doctor, fireman, police officer…etc. Of course there are always some fun and quirky answers.

What would you do if your kid told you he or she just wanted to be rich? Well, that was the number one answer coming out of a survey in Britain. Famous came in number two. While we smile and giggle at these “aspirations”, I have to admit I think it’s sad.

Images of rich and famous people are obviously influencing our kids. Are we not teaching them to have real “dream” jobs that involve education and hard work?

Seventy-five percent of kids surveyed also said that money could buy happiness. If that were the case there would be a lot more happy people out there. We all know that’s not the case.

Other real jobs like doctor and veterinarian did make the list, just a little further down. The big kicker is that some kids say they don’t want to work at all! That was number ten.

I remember getting my first job at sixteen, making peanuts, but thinking I was “rich” because I now had my own money. There was a sense of accomplishment for doing a job and getting rewarded for it. I’m afraid those days are long gone.

Teaching the Value of Ten Dollars

As a parent, I hear “I want” and “Can I have?” more times than I can count. It is annoying. But, it goes along with the territory. Kids just don’t understand that I nor my wallet can give into every “I want”. I could say I want to, but honestly I don’t. Kids, mine included, need to learn that they can’t get everything they want or think they need. They don’t understand that mommy or daddy sometimes just doesn’t have the money. They don’t understand how much things really cost.

With that in mind, I decided to teach a real world lesson in money to my daughters, ages 2 1/2 and nearly 5. It all started when we went to empty their piggy banks and sort out some change. Mixed in with all the pennies and dimes, were a few dollars here and there. Of course they both asked if they could have their money. Instead of whisking it all away to their savings account, I decided to give them each ten dollars. I told them they could take that money and buy whatever they wanted when we went to Target that afternoon.

Of course our trip took us to the toy department. We started in the Barbie aisle. My older daughter was drawn to a Barbie wedding set, complete with the flower girl and all the trimmings. “Mommy, mommy, I’m gonna buy this.” I didn’t even have to look at the price tag to know that it wasn’t in her price range. At $39.99, I had to tell her no because she didn’t have enough money…that and several other items we thought we couldn’t live without.

So, we moved over to the Disney aisle. This is going to be fun, I thought. She ran over to the rather empty “Frozen” section. She just had to have the Elsa dress up costume. But, at $19.99, it wasn’t coming home with us. This went on for a good twenty minutes, with me explaining each time that there wasn’t enough money in her tiny hand to foot the bill. Sure, I could have thrown in a few bucks for the items that were close to her range, but then my little lesson would be for nothing.

My younger daughter didn’t grasp the concept of not having enough money despite the amount of times I told her. But, she did understand the idea when I said no. I watched her wait for her sister to choose something I would say yes to before she made her decision .

After going back and forth between the aisles enough times to make my head spin, I thought we were going home with a new Cinderella doll. It was under ten dollars, meaning my girls would have some money to put back in their banks. Then, my older daughter saw something she couldn’t go home without. I looked at it and shook my head. Really? You want that?

At $8.48, this was my kids' choice!

At $8.48, this was my kids’ choice!

It was a “FurReal Friends” dragon that walks. I looked at the price…$8.48 on clearance (regularly $16.99 which I thought was crazy for something so tiny!). That’s my girl, finally looking for the sale! Once I said yes, a huge smile spread across her face. Little sister chimed in with a “me too”. I explained that at that price they would still have money to put back in their piggy banks. This made them even happier.

We went to the cash register where they each paid separately, getting their own change, bag, and receipt. It truly was Christmas in July. They were happy. I was happy. I felt like I really did teach them a lesson. I doubt it will last years from now when they want cars, but I’ll savor my small victory for now.