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Sorting Coins (& U.S. Coin 3-Part Cards)

Sweet Pea is 5 years old.



From: Sweet Pea is very interested in putting money into her piggy bank so I thought she would like to learn more about coins.  I found this coin sorting activity at the Activity Mom.


  • A variety of different coins.
  • Coin cards.  (I created my coin cards in the style of Montessori 3-part cards, in case you also want to use them as traditional nomenclature cards.  All cards are in the single file.)

  • Trays (optional).


  • Cut out the coin cards and spread out the ones you wish to use (or put them on separate trays).
  • Place all of the coins in one pile.
  • Sit next to your child and explain that you are going to sort the coins.  Read the names of the coins as you point to the picture on each card.  Comment on the pictures on each coin and its size.
  • Pick up one coin from the pile and show your child how to decide which card to place it on.  Model your thinking by talking out loud about where it should go.  (“Does this coin go on this card?   No… it isn’t a quarter.  This coin is smaller than the one pictured on the quarter card.”)


  • After you have placed at least 1 coin on each card, let your tot try.

  •  Invite your child to continue sorting through the pile of coins until she runs out of coins or grows tired of it.

Observations:   Sorting activities don’t always keep Sweet Pea’s attention and I worried that this activity might be too easy for her, so I was hugely surprised by how much difficulty she had with it.    


She struggled to figure out where each coin went and often asked me where it would go.  I would try to direct her by asking questions such as, “Well, what size is it?  Does it match the size of the other coins on that tray?”  And I had to sit on my hands a few times to keep myself from correcting her when she chose incorrectly and put a coin on the wrong tray.  I am fascinated when I discover something  like this that an adult does everyday without even thinking about it, but is surprisingly confusing to learn.


 This activity wasn’t exactly “fun” for Sweet Pea, but she was engaged for quite a while and did finish sorting almost all of the coins before she got tired of it.   

 I would only recommend it for kids (kindergarten and older) who are starting to show an interest in money.

Notes from the Trenches:   When we did this activity, we used a version of the cards from Counting Coconuts, which were good because the coins are the correct color (instead of mine which are just black and white).  However, the coins on her cards were much larger than actual size and  I think that may have contributed to some of Sweet Pea’s difficulty.  I tried to make the coins on my cards reflect the actual size of the coins.

Rating: 3 Stars * (Easy, Independent, Frugal)

4 comments to Sorting Coins (& U.S. Coin 3-Part Cards)

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