My daughter was able to complete almost every math skill at the Kindergarten level without too much effort. But there was one major skill that she struggled with – money.

Rather than frustrate her with learning something she wasn’t ready for just yet, we left the money section incomplete for the time being and moved on to Grade 1 level math. And no surprise, one of the last topics to be completed in Grade 1 was once again, money.

Learning to count nickels, dimes, and quarters or any combination of coins was going to require some visual aids. And what could be more fun than using LEGO’s!

The first step was digging through our stash of LEGO to find all the 1 pieces. If you have a LEGO sorter it makes the search process much faster.

I asked my daughter to make groups with 5 LEGO 1 pieces of the same colour in each group. Afterwards, we took 4 colours that had at least 5 groups per colour, and put the rest away.

Pretending that each piece of LEGO represented 1 cent, I showed my daughter the concept that there are 100 pennies in 1 dollar. But we can group these pennies in many different ways and turn them into different coins.

So to further help demonstrate this, I asked her to stack the LEGO’s in each group. I let her do this part by herself as I wanted her to really have it ingrained that each little stack of LEGO’s she created was made up of 5 blocks. And so each group of 5 “pennies” got changed into “5 cents” or a nickel. Nothing was added or taken away, 5 pennies was the equivalent of 1 nickel.

Learning about quarters was next. I asked my daughter to group the “nickels” by colour. Since there were 4 colours and she knows a quarter is one 4th of something, I told her each group of LEGO’s by colour represented one quarter. She knows how to count by 5’s so the next step was counting by 5’s the amount of cents in a quarter. She came up with the answer: 25¢.

I asked her questions like:

“*How many quarters are in a dollar?”* She can visually see that there are 4.

*“How many quarters would be in half a dollar?”* It’s very easy to visually divide the LEGO’s in half and see that there are 2 different colour groups.

*“How many cents are in 2 quarters?”* Counting by 5’s she arrived at her answer.

“*How many cents are in 3 quarters?….In 4?*“

*“How many nickels are in a quarter?”*

After practicing counting by quarters we were ready to tackle dimes.

The idea that 2 nickels had the same value as a dime was a concept she easily grasped with the visual aid of the LEGO. Grabbing 2 LEGO stacks at a time, we counted by 10’s to see how many dimes were in a dollar, 50 cents and even a quarter.

### Counting money

Then I would take random amounts of LEGO stacks and possible single LEGO 1 pieces and ask her to count them. I told her to group them by coins first, and to count the bigger coins first. So if there were 5 stacks in the same colour she grouped them right away as a quarter. I told her to count all quarters first, and then she could grab 2 “nickels” at a time to continue adding by 10’s, and finally any left over nickels, followed by pennies.

This simple visual aid of LEGO helped her easily understand this concept of money. I don’t think she fully understood before how 5 coins that were nickels could be equal to 1 coin that was a quarter, but now this made sense to her. And as an added benefit not only did she understand but she now easily remembered how many coins equaled another coin.

After we could put the LEGO away and begin counting real coins. The concept was the same, so actually it went pretty effortlessly. And since she conquered this math skill now, she flew right through her worksheets on money.

Kid Minds says

What a great way to learn about money. It was one of the hardest conceps for my kids too. I created our titanic money game for the same reason. They are big titanic fans, so it was the most relevant idea for them.

Kerry says

This is a great idea. We’re doing Kindergarten now and we’re going to try this 🙂

Alice @ Mums Make Lists says

Love this – lego such a powerful visual way to explore numbers

sue says

How creative and makes learning math fun! Thanks for sharing this great idea with us at #anythinggoes. I’m sure all parents will be able to try this one!

Amy says

My boys just adore Legos so I’m very excited to find this to use with my first grader! Fun way to learn:)

Lauree says

This is awesome and even grown-ups like playing with Legos! Can you find a way to use Legos to teach how to read a clock? That seems to be another difficult one for most kids.

Melanie Thomas says

You’re right Lauree, that is a difficult one. I will think on that. LEGO’s to learn how to read a clock would be a great idea.

Lori Hill-Smith says

I’m currently teaching my grandson letters and numbers. He’s not much of a pencil and paper kind of kid but he LOVES Legos! Thank you for the great ideas. We are going to try some of them out.

Erin @Nourishing My Scholar says

What a wonderful way to incorporate legos and money! This is awesome! Thanks so much for sharing at the Hip Homeschool Moms Blog Hop!

Branson says

I absolutely LOVE this idea! I am always looking for ways to work legos into school because my kiddo is a total lego fan!! Would love to have you come link up with the #ParentTeacherMeetUp as well! 🙂 http://branson365.blogspot.com/2015/09/merrill-homeschool-parentteachermeetup.html

Melanie Thomas says

Thanks for the invite, I linked up at your party and added it to my directory of link parties for a homeschooling blogger. http://www.treevalleyacademy.com/links/link-ups-pinning-parties-i-participate-in

Deanna @ Play Dough & Popsicles says

I love this idea!! I will definetly have to remember this for when my daughter is a little older! Thanks so much for sharing with #made4kids! Hope you come back and share next week too!!

http://www.playdoughandpopsicles.com/category/made-for-kids-blog-link-party/

Nicolette Springer says

I love this idea! Legos are my daughter’s favorite right now. Thanks for joining us for the Parent Teacher Meet-up this week.

Karen W says

What a nifty way to teach children about money and counting. Thanks for stopping by and sharing on Littles Learning Link Up. I hope you will stop by again this week.

Have a great day

Selena @ Look! We're Learning! says

Hi! I love this idea! We’re working with money for our second grader and this is a fabulous way to do it!

Thanks for the linking up with the Laugh and Learn Linky!

Alison says

What a great activity! Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop! 🙂