Monday, February 13, 2012

Playing with Coins

L and E are 30 months old. 

I let the girls play with real coins this past weekend.  I could tell they enjoyed the heavier feel of the metal coins instead of their plastic play money.  First I gave them a mixture of water, lemon juice, and salt to wash the coins in, along with some cotton balls and paper towels for polishing them.  They didn't turn out as shiny as I expected (I think vinegar/salt is supposed to create a chemical reaction in copper pennies that will get them shiny), but it did get a layer of grime off.  The coin washing activity (like anything water-related) kept the girls occupied for quite a while.

After the coins got their baths, we explored some of the properties of coins.  I asked the girls to sort them, but they had a lot of trouble telling the difference between the various silver-colored coins:

So we compared their sizes to see the differences:
L enjoyed counting the coins and placing them on playing cards:
Putting them into a coin-bank and listening to the sound they make was a popular activity, too.  They wanted to do this over and over:
I showed the girls how to place coins underneath a piece of paper and make rubbings:
We also felt which coins were smooth around the edges, and which were grooved.  I tried stacking them to show the difference in thickness.  The girls could identify which pile was the tallest, but I'm not sure they quite understood how that's related to thickness.
Another day, we'll pull the coins back out again and weight them as well.  Sorting by the pictures on the quarters could be an interesting additional challenge for learning to look at small details. These types of explorations would be good for a President's Day activity for older kids too.

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