Saturday, June 29, 2013

Day of Change

A summer vacation really wasn't on our radar, but guess what... we're headed to Florida in July.  With some life changes on our end and the extreme generosity of my parents, a vacay will take place.  The kids are SUPER excited, and we want this to be an enjoyable, super fun, memory-making trip for them.

Sitting at the kitchen table one day, I happened to eye the large coke bottle bank that landed there and never found a new home after the move.  I believe, Jon had this bank long before I was ever in the picture, and it has been the receptacle for a lot of our spare change over the years.  We've dipped into it from time to time, but it had been quite awhile since we counted our collection.  Insert bright idea... let's use this spare change for the kids to do something "special" of their choice on vacation.  Maybe something this Mom & Dad would usually veto due to cost.  This will truly be FUN MONEY.

Thus began our morning of change....

When we started this task, I had no idea what an educational gem it would morph into, but it turned out to be stellar.  Actually, I'm quite proud of my "in-the-moment" lesson planning.

First, we reviewed the coins and their values.  Then, sorting began.  I envisioned 4 coins & 4 people, so we each claimed one and would collect them.  Kids vetoed that option.  Instead, we each grabbed handfuls and sorted among the change among representative of my Rubbermaid stash :-)  I suppose this actually gave them each more sorting practice.

Then, it was time to count and roll.  This allowed us to count by 5's, 10's, and 2's.  We figured out how many nickels it took to equal $2, dimes to constitute $5, and quarters to comprise $10.

When we got to quarters, a brilliant idea struck me.  Geography!!!  You see one of the kiddos seemed to be having a bit of trouble sorting the quarters and nickels.  The child would flip the coins and look on the back.  However, the fact that not all quarters had the eagle on the back caused confusion.  Then, it hit me...  let's see if we have a quarter from each of the 50 states.

The kids put together a puzzle of the United States while I worked on rolling all the quarters with the eagle backs.  Once the puzzle was put together, we had a brief reminder of where we lived...  Continent, Country, State, City.  Once we were all on the same page, we set out of find quarters for each state.  I'd flip a quarter over, say the state, and then give cardinal direction clues (northeast, southwest, etc.) if needed.  For a time, we thought we wouldn't have all 50.  California, Colorado, Ohio, and Maine seemed ever elusive, but in the final coins we locked them in.  It seemed like such an accomplishment to match a quarter to each state. 

Geek alert!  I was excited by that, and the kiddos were excited by the final total of our rolled change!  I know we'll be able to do something really fun with these "found funds" while we are on vacation.

So...  do you have some change lying around your house?  How about an educational moment and then a fun treat?  Your kids will LOVE it!


Marcy Crabtree said...

this is homeschool parenting at it's finest. I love these kinds of moments.

I am curious though. what was the total?

and what will you do with it?

The Zookeeper said...

Love this kinda of teaching! I am too curious as to what your going to do with it!!??

Meg said...

Brilliant! Love when you find "teachable moments" mixed in the day!

Lisa said...

What a clever idea and an awesome hands-on learning environment for your kiddos!

Diane said...

What a great learning activity. Over the years we collected the state quarters and have a map with all of them attached. We also save spare change and dip into it periodically.