For my child, the concept of 5 pennies in a nickel didn’t make any sense. Where did they go? I soon realized she was right. There are not 5 pennies in a nickel and she was right. There are however, 5 cents, the abstract meaning of the coin, within the nickel just as the penny equals 1 cent. Well, explaining cents to a young child isn’t going to happen, yet. So, why not make the abstract concept concrete with blocks. I found these awesome centimeter linking blocks, a 1000 for less than $20, which are working perfectly for learning money.
My child earns money for her schoolwork and chores. She gets paid in blocks, assembles them into 10s, 5s, and the remaining ones. Then, she converts those blocks to dollars and coins. For handwriting practice, she must write the amount on her tally when she places her money into the jar. This method of doing math turns a Long Vowel E phonics lesson into a detailed math lesson.
I hope this coin equivalency poster will help your little one out as well!