By now, you’ve probably realized that buying a toy cash register for money lessons isn’t enough. You also have to find some way to keep your kid engaged with the toy long enough to actually learn something. We can’t blame them for not flocking to a cash register when they have the option of video games, action figures, clothes, and a lot more stuff that is naturally more exciting to kids. That’s why we’ve put together not just the best cash register toys but also games you can play with your kid that will make them want to learn more. Let’s get started!
Learning Resource Cash Register
Learning Resource is, at the very least, one of the more reputable brands in children’s educational toys. And for a good reason. One of the biggest reasons we recommend their cash register toy is the fact that it has a calculator. That seems small, but it means the toy goes beyond just the cash register aspect. Your kid may realize it’s fun to put in different numbers and get different outcomes. It’s ideal for children that prefer a less is better approach to their toys since there aren’t many items to keep track of.
Bettina Smart Play Cash Register
The Bettina Smart Play Cash Register is more than just a register. We mean that more literally than figuratively. For example, it comes with play grocery items, a debit card, a debit card reader, and play money. The winning combination of this register means you’ll already have the tools needed to play quite a few of the cash register games below. It’s perfect for toddlers and preschoolers.
Battet Cash Register Playset
The Battet Cash Register offers all of the same accessories as the Bettina Register above. But its own unique spin also includes a mini microphone and a working conveyor belt for an extra layer of realism. Plus, it’s a little smaller, which makes it great for littler little ones.
Best Cash Register Games to Play
Change Maker is great for kids still dealing with small coins and bills. The goal is for them to give you the least amount of coins and bills possible for the change you requested. Hand them a 10 and see if they give you 2 fives or 10 ones. They get extra points for using the least amount of bills. You can fill the register with coins to really test their ability to sort through money. Plus, it’s a dynamic game, so every round is different.
Best for ages: 3-7
Rules: Give change in as few bills as possible.
Extra Challenge: Add a 1-minute timer.
Let your kid purchase predetermined items around the house with a set budget. A good option for items is candy, comics, shoelaces, and other small things that get their gears turning to what’s most important to them. Then run their charges in the till and see if they can afford their purchase. Much like Change Maker, one of the primary goals is to have them pay in as few bills as possible. For an added layer of role play, you can accompany them around the house like their designated shopper to carry items for them. It’ll help immerse them in the game and keep their mind free for adding and subtracting as best they can.
Best for ages: 5-13
Rules: Must have a predetermined spending limit. Items must have different prices.
Extra Challenge: Add coupons to get your kid interested in percentages.
Lemonade is essentially just a lemonade stand where the kids work the till. There are more complex versions of this game, but keeping it to just selling lemonade can help prevent your kid from getting overwhelmed. Create 2 or 3 differently priced lemonades like classic lemonade, sweet lemonade, and strawberry lemonade. Bonus points if you actually make the lemonade together. Then pretend to be different people buying different types of lemonade. If your kid is artsy, then let them design their own lemonade poster with prices on the side.
Best for ages: 8-13
Rules: Must offer a variety of lemonade.
Extra Challenge: Have them balance the till at the end.
Grocery Store Sweep
Inspired by a classic 80’s tv show, Grocery Store Sweep helps your kid understand the value of everyday items just by looking at them. Choose an item, write the exact price on an index card, and put that index card inside the register. Then ask your kid how much the item is. Once they’ve guessed, have them open the register and discover the actual value. The closer they are to the price, the more money you add to their till. It’s great for family night for kids that are all roughly the same age.
Best for ages: 8 and up
Rules: Items must have different prices. When your kid guesses the approx price, within the $1.00 range, add a dollar to their till. If they’re off more than a dollar, take a dollar from their till. The game ends when they either run out of money or correctly guess the prices.
Extra Challenge: Add a timer. Have them bid on items using money from their till, but they can only bid on items they can afford. The more correct bids, the more money they’ll have to buy other items.
Store Front is our absolute favorite cash register game of all time. While it may have different names, the premise is always the same. Find items, set prices, and let your kid run their own little business. This game encompasses all of the important money math classics like giving change, running a business, balancing a till (I.E., money tracking), and so much more. Don’t be afraid to make prices for Store Front anything other than round numbers. For example, a soda that costs $1.23 or a box of cereal that costs $3.07, then let them run each transaction. Store Front is best played with real coins because you want to add a level of complexity that requires more money than most play-money sets.
Once your kids have a firm grasp on Store Front, then it’s time to take it up a notch and introduce them to the complexities of entrepreneurship.
Best for ages: 8 and up.
Rules: Items must have different prizes. A majority of items must have non-whole number pricing, aka non-integers. Must balance the till at the end.
Extra Challenge: Add in Profit Margin as described below.
Set prices on the items your kid sells and explain that you’re a manufacturer. To get the items your kid sells, they’ll need to buy them from you first. Do they want a bushel of bananas? Sell them for $1.00 and explain to your kid that for their business to make a profit, they’ll need to sell a bushel of bananas for at least $1.01. This game can be played with or without Store Front.
Best for ages: 8 and up.
Rules: The store owner must turn a profit. Till must be balanced at the end.
Extra Challenge: Play in tandem with Store Front.
Pick any combination of cash register and game on this list to get your kid interested in money management. Remember to be patient as they learn the rules of the game! For parents with more than one kid, any of these games can be played as a group. Other kids can be customers, manufacturers, and employees. Or, if you have more than one register, they can be co-owners or even rival businesses. Imagination is key to early childhood learning, so don’t be afraid to add role-playing to any money math game. Give your kid a leg up on money management and get them started today!