How to improve financial awareness in young learners

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Money maths skills help young learners to apply basic mathematical functions such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to real-life scenarios. Money is a measurement tool comprising of coins and notes. The differing values can often be a testing concept to understand at an early age.

MyBnk, a UK charity that teaches people how to manage their money, has recognised financial education as a necessity because ‘young people engage with money from an ever earlier age but face a financially challenging future.’

Familiarising children with money can be both fun and educational, helping them to become confident in solving money problems, and contributing to a future of smart financial decisions and opportunities.

Here are five activities you can do using Learning Resources money products to provide an early introduction to money maths:


Sorting and Matching

Encouraging children to sort coins into piles based upon their size, colour or shape is a great way for them to begin recognising similarities and differences as well us understanding the variety of coins. Once children are confident that they can recognise different coins, try putting the coins into a bag and use sensory exploration to guess which coin it is.



Explore the details

Each coin has a unique design which incorporates the year of issue, the value and an illustration. Place different coins under a sheet of paper and encourage your child to create rubbings with coloured pencils. Ask them to describe what they see as the drawing takes place. This task can be extended by asking them to match the coins that have the same value.


Associating Value

Once familiar with the variety and attributes of coins, the value of each can be learnt. The value of money is a tricky concept that can be made easier by visualising how much each coin is worth. Interlocking cubes are a great way to do this; one cube can be matched with one penny, two cubes with two pence and so on. This visualisation will help when they begin to add and subtract values.


Learning Resources Cuisenaire Rods


Addition and Subtraction

Once children have a solid understanding of the coins and their values, children can begin to add and subtract simple amounts such as 5p + 2p. Children can use a variety of maths resources such as cubes, cuisenaire rods and multi-link cubes as concrete support to count on or back which will develop their skills and enable them to mentally calculate once they have become fluent with the coin values. Posing simple problems in a practical context, such as a role play shop, for children to solve involving addition and subtraction of money of the same unit, including giving change, allows them to apply the skills to real life scenarios.



Real-life scenarios

Money maths provides an insight into real-life problems. Using imaginative play to re-create real-life scenarios is a great way to help young learners understand how money is used in every-day life. Simple narratives such as posting letters at the Post Office or buying sweets at the shops encourages them to begin thinking about the value of money. Realistic play money such as Learning Resources HM Treasury approved play coins and notes encourage hands-on maths activities that develop equivalency skills.

Money games that incorporate recognisable activities are also a great way to associate money maths with real-life problems.


Learning Resources Buy It Right Shopping Game


Learning Resources recommends these best sellers…



Mathlink® Cubes (Set of 100)



Pretend & Play® Calculator Cash Register with UK Money



Pretend & Play® Post Office Set



Money Bags™ – Coin Value Game