For Teachers

Money Activities & Games for 1st Graders

Here are fun and educational money activities and games you can play with your 1st grade students.


As a 1st-grade teacher, you know the value of engaging lessons and activities. When you teach your kids about money, you want them to grasp the essential concepts they should learn and have fun doing it. According to the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, 1st-graders should understand specific crucial topics by the end of the school year: resources, bartering, money, earning, spending, and saving. You can find top-notch lessons to cover these concepts on our 1st-grade money lesson plans, where you can download ready-to-teach plans instantly. 

Supplementing your core instruction with games and activities to reinforce vital ideas is always a good idea and keeps your little learners excited about money. Many focus on counting coins, giving priceless hands-on experience for your 1st-graders. Below, check out these fun interactive activities and resources to mix into your financial education toolkit! 

Online Activities

There are many online resources, letting students advance their skills in technology and financial knowledge. 


MinyanLand is an immersive and interactive virtual city where kids learn about money. Your students get a place to live and a set amount of cash to spend, save, or invest, giving them real-life skills to manage their money.

U.S. Mint Coins

This site lets kids browse the many types of coins the U.S. Mint produces, from standard versions to commemorative items. They can see how coins are made and go on a virtual tour of the mint.

Piggy Bank

Students catch falling coins, but only those that add up to the designated amount. Their piggy banks get fuller as they get the correct totals, showing them how savings can grow and the gratification they feel when their money accumulates.

The One Dollar Store

1st-graders love toys, and this game capitalizes on that interest, as they need to select the right coins to get to the specific total for the toy they choose. This game reinforces the idea of consumer choice, counting, and money’s ability to meet wants and needs.

Interactive Count Money Activity

This activity is like a money sandbox for children. It lets them play around with different denominations of coins to see totals or reach pre-determined amounts by dragging money around the screen. Your kids will feel independent and gain valuable money awareness with this activity.

Change Maker

In this game, it is up to the kiddos to make the correct change, and you can use it in various currencies depending on where you are in the world. They choose pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from the cash register to provide exact change, giving students valuable practice in a realistic situation.

Using Money

Students work with both bills and coins to get to pre-set amounts in this interactive online game. The repetition of this game and the challenge of varying the amounts that kids should add up to make it a good tool for downtime or supplementing your instruction.

Counting Money

In this activity, students total various coins and input the amount into a section on the screen. The good thing about this activity is it combines money awareness and arithmetic, keeping kids accountable to find totals themselves instead of guessing between answers.

Cash Out

This game involves your 1st-graders clicking on various bills and coins to make exact change for customers. Students will see how the transaction process works, where the consumers pay a specific amount and the store gives them their change.

Hands-On Activities

With money education for 1st-graders, it is hard to top hands-on activities. They can get the feel of exchanging and counting money in realistic situations, getting them ready for life. You can find many of these resources ready to print, or you can create and modify them to fit your classes’ needs.


Students look at different coins and record what they notice in this activity. They may jot down symbols, words, phrases, and numbers that they see on pennies, nickels, and other currency, building their knowledge of American money (or you can adapt to use other countries’ cash).

Coin Sorting Mats

These simple worksheets allow students to get creative by sorting different coins into quadrants, placing pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters into various spots. There are multiple ways to sort, building their fundamental organizational skills as well as money comprehension. 

Grab, Sort, and Count

Teachers set out a pile of coins in front of kids, and then the children grasp a handful at a time. They record how many of each denomination they grabbed, providing a meaningful and essential activity to identify the type and number of various coins quickly.

Vocabulary Strips

As you build background knowledge for your 1st-graders, you can cover the essential vocabulary of U.S. coins and bills, like the names of coins, their worth, and unique aspects. These strips give students visual support, letting them group items by picture, terminology, and value.

Classroom Posters

You can display large posters around the room showing essential information about different coins, including what each face looks like, their value in numbers and words, and the name vividly presented for learners to see. Posters are a proven strategy to keep the knowledge fresh and reinforce student learning.

Count and Cover Coins

Learners choose a card from a stack of cards with random coins and amounts, count how many coins are on it, and cover the amount. This activity is excellent for students to count, add up coins, and make it an engaging and dynamic game to keep kids’ attention. 

BINGO with Coins

Many people love BINGO, and a money version makes it practical for the classroom and your financial education curriculum. Kids get a unique card and try to fill up three boxes in a row of specific values to win the game, making learning fun while hammering money education home.

Build It 3 Ways

In this activity, teachers give kids different amounts of money, telling them to find three unique ways to total their amount – such as two dimes and a nickel or only one quarter to reach 25 cents. This exercise improves creativity and math skills to combine coins to get the exact totals.

Spin and Cover

Teachers provide students with pictures of coins, showing both heads and tails sides of the money. They spin the included spinner, match the displayed amount with the proper currency, and cover it on their sheet, increasing denomination awareness and promoting a healthy competition with their classmates.

Roll and Cover

This activity is similar to Spin and Cover, except students roll dice instead of using a spinner. This exercise is a bit more challenging, as they need to combine different values (from two dice: for example, a 6 and a 3 would give nine cents, meaning they need a nickel and four pennies) and figure out multiple squares to cover on their worksheets.

Grab, Count, and Compare

Students work on “greater than” and “less than” skills in this game, as they grab two handfuls of coins, count them up, list the totals on the sheet, and identify which is a larger amount. Thanks to its combination of arithmetic and comparison, it benefits students, improving their addition, subtraction, and equivalency skills.

Roll, Count, and Write

Students receive a worksheet that shows various coins, such as dimes and nickels. This game combines the proven board game model with reinforcement of what you have taught them about money. They roll a die, move around the board, and write the value of their coin in the piggy banks in the center of the worksheet. 

Coin Puzzle

Teachers hand out different pictures to kids with the name of coins, values, and images of the two faces of the coins. Kids need to form a puzzle bringing it all together on a card, which is excellent for critical thinking and sorting.

Target Amount

This hands-on activity has a designated “target amount” in the center of the page and requires kids to provide a smaller amount in the “less than” column and “more than” section. It helps kids be accurate counters and quickly compare different coins and values, showing them which coins are worth the most and which are less valuable.

Don’t Go Bankrupt!

This partner activity is fun for kids, involves quick addition and subtraction, and reinforces the value of different coins. Students get a sheet to store their coins, and they choose cards that either add to their value or subtract from it – the one with the highest at the end of the stack of cards wins.

Spin and Add

Students flick the spinner twice in this multi-faceted game and see where it lands each time. They create equations adding up the corresponding coins, learning about equivalency and different ways to total the same amount.

Show Me the Money

1st-grade students will love playing this interactive game, where they draw cards and show how to reach the amounts using coins in two different ways. Teachers will love unlocking student ingenuity, watching them come up with multiple solutions.

About the Author

Peter Brown

Peter Brown is a National Board Certified teacher with over two decades of experience in the classroom. He loves working with students of all ages in many subjects, but particularly in practical areas like money education, to help kids achieve their goals. When he is not teaching or writing about financial literacy, you can find him surfing, hiking, skiing, or traveling to new places.

Last updated on: September 4, 2023