This week, Aidyn and I have been playing with an assortment of math manipulatives. Before we actually put serious meaning to them, I wanted him to have a chance playing with them. His favorite has become the pretend money, both paper and coin. Following his lead, this week we are learning about money, in its most basic sense.
On Monday, while on an outing to the snow with friends, we stopped at Andy's Mountain Deli and Grill. After eating, Aidyn requested a lollipop, and I consented because I thought it would be a good opportunity to let Aidyn "pay" for it himself. I gave him a dollar and basic instructions on how to interact with the cashier. He plopped his lollipop on the counter, handed the dollar bill to the lady as she said, "Twenty-five cents!" When she returned his change, Aidyn grabbed his newly purchased lollipop. The first thing he said once he bought it was, "I'm going to tell Grandma that I bought a lollipop!"
That evening, when we returned home, we played with the lot of math manipulatives but spent the most time playing with the money. I gathered items for me to "sell" to Aidyn while he had all the pretend money. I would then ask him what he wanted to buy. Once he picked something, I told him the cost.
I changed up the prices on several items so he could practice different ways of paying. Even when he ran out of dollar bills, I showed him how to make a dollar using his pretend dimes. In my eyes, we didn't focus too much on the seriousness of understanding money. Instead we played. Through this playful interaction, he picked up monetary vocabulary and etiquette for purchasing goods. I would like to take him on a field trip to a store and have us pay extra attention to price tags. I may give him an amount to spend and let him figure out what he can and cannot afford by reading price tags.