Monday, August 29, 2011

It’s a Stick Up! (Counting Money Role Play)

Lately, my son is fascinated with money. I know, you think I mean spending it, right? Nope. He wants to know who’s on each bill and loves the ‘secret’ watermarks you see when you hold the newly designed bills up to the light.

To give him a little practice counting bills, though, I decided to make some funny money for him. (I wasn’t about to risk him losing all of our Monopoly money.) 

I printed several sheets of each denomination (1s, 5s, 10s, 20s, 50s, and 100s) on cardstock.

Once I cut the bills apart, it was time I put on my acting hat. I admit; I was pretty rusty (the last time I acted was in an 8th-grade school play). Thankfully, my son isn’t a tough critic.

Download the clown-faced funny money here.
If you’d rather add your child’s picture to the bills like I did,
e-mail me and I’ll send you the Microsoft Publisher files to adapt.

I told him to pretend he worked at a bank and gave him a (shuffled) random amount of money. He needed to sort the funny money into piles and put the piles in order from smallest to largest denomination. Next, he counted each pile.

I made three columns in his notebook. Down the first column, I wrote each denomination. Over the second column, I wrote “how many?” And under the third column I wrote “how much $?” His task was to write down the number of bills he had in each pile and figure out how much money that amounted to (essentially how much money was “in the bank”). I added all his subtotals up for him.

Then, I held a stick up with a small toy squirt gun (don’t worry, it wasn’t loaded). My son thought I was being funny until I took some bills from each of his piles; then, his jaw dropped.

Now it was time to count the money again, recording the values once more in his notebook. After counting each denomination, he’d look at the previous numbers and tell me things like, “You took three ten-dollar bills.”

After he’d recounted his money, I told him that the police had caught the crook and recovered the money; however, he needed to count it to make sure that they got all the money back.

This was SO much fun that my son never complained about all the counting and subtracting. It really put his skip-counting skills to the test, too. Success!


  1. Love it! Great chance for role play that might be a little more up a boy's alley.

  2. I LOVE this!! The money is adorable, and the 'word problem' is a fantastic idea. Way to make learning fun!! Thanks for linking up!

  3. What a great idea! Counting money has really been challenging for my second grader, this should make it fun.

  4. I' like very much the Microsoft Publisher files ;)
    Many thanks!

  5. I LOVE this idea! My boys would have so much fun! Would you please send me the Microsoft Publisher Files please!
    Thanks so much!!

  6. Hi, could you send me the publisher files to make the money?

  7. Can you please send me the file to add a child's picture to? Such a cute idea!


  8. Hi there,

    Your ideas are amazing.... thank you so much for sharing them. My kids are going to love doing these games.
    Could you kindly send me the money file when you have a chance? My e-mail add is

    Many many thanks.

  9. Can you please send me the file to add a child's picture to? Such a cute idea!


  10. ooohhhh! Could I please have the file?

    Thank you!! :)