Time and money are important concepts that all kids need to learn. However, when they are young it can be hard for them to understand these abstract concepts. Making time and money more concrete will help little ones understand them better. What’s more, starting with big ideas will give your child a solid base for learning more complex math concepts later.

What You Need:

  • Analog clock
  • Digital clock
  • Calendar
  • Assorted coins and bills


What You Do:

1. Create a picture chart of your child’s daily routine. This can be easily done by printing pictures of daily tasks. These task cards can then be placed on a board, door, refrigerator, etc. Look at the chart frequently with your child and ask them questions such as, “What happened before?” and “What comes later today?” When your child becomes familiar with the routine, have him place the task cards in order each morning.
2. Show your child a calendar daily and tell them what day of the week and what month it is. Add special events to the calendar and have your child count to see how many days until the next “event.” Mark off days as they pass so that children have a visual representation of the passage of time.
3. Practice reading times on a digital clock. Explain to your child the difference between the hour and minutes.
4. Teach children what the hands mean on an analog clock. The short hand is the hour hand and the long hand is the minute hand.
5. Show your child a dollar bill and these different coins: penny, nickel, dime, quarter. Awareness of what these bills and coins are and what they are called will help when later learning their values.
6. Have your child sort various coins. Explain the values of each coin and have them start to practice counting them.

Now bring time and money together!

7. At random intervals, call your child over to an analog clock. Ask him to tell you what time it is. If he gets it right away show him a quarter and ask him how much it’s worth. If he says 25 cents, he gets to keep the coin. If not, reward him with a dime and ask him if he knows how much a dime is worth. Tell him it’s worth 10 cents if he’s drawing a blank.
8. If he can determine the hour, but not the minutes, help him figure out the minutes and then show him a dime and ask him how much it’s worth. If he says 10 cents, he gets to keep it. If not, give him with a nickel and ask him if he knows how much a nickel is worth. Tell him it’s worth 5 cents if he can’t seem to remember.
9. If he’s really stumped and say he has no idea, take him over to a digital clock and ask him if he can figure out what time it is now. If he gets it right, show him a nickel and ask him if he knows how much it’s worth. If he doesn’t remember the value of a nickel, give him a penny. Remind him that a penny is worth one cent.
10. Repeat steps 7–9 regularly and before you know it your child will be a master of time and money math. The chance to earn a little extra change is sure to keep your little one motivated!