Math at Home Math Access for Teachers
and Home Child Care Providers

CME Group Community Foundation



Coin Rubbing Matching Game

Children will examine attributes of coins to identify similarities and differences.


Content Area Standard Target
  • Number and Operations
  • Algebra
  • Data Analysis and Probability
  • Understand numbers, ways of representing numbers, relationships among numbers, and number systems
  • Understand patterns, relations, and functions

  • Formulate questions that can be addressed with data, and collect and display relevant data to answer them
  • Count with understanding and recognize “how many” in sets of objects
  • Connect number words and numerals to the quantities they represent, using various physical models and representations
  • Sort, classify, and order objects by size, number, and other properties
  • Recognize, describe, and extend patterns such as sequences of sounds and shapes or simple numeric patterns and translate from one representation to another
  • Sort and classify objects according to their attributes and organize data about the objects
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Obtain materials Obtain the Materials
  • Colored pencils or crayons (Colored pencils work better than crayons because kids find it difficult to NOT push hard while coloring. Gentle shading is difficult to practice. That is why colored pencils are a perfect solution given the pressure does not affect the coin impression as much.)
  • A variety of coins (pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters)
  • Paper.  (Larger newsprint paper works well for this project.)

Note: Small parts create a choking hazard for children. Make sure that all materials you choose to use for an activity or lesson with children meet safety requirements. Small parts are not appropriate for children who are 5 years of age or younger.

Introduce the activity Introduce the Activity
  1. While showing coins (quarter, nickel, dime & penny) ask the children if they know the names of the coins you hold up.
  2. Describe the attributes of each of the coins. (Quarter is bigger, dime is the smallest, penny is a different color etc. )
  3. Explain that today they will be exploring coins further by doing rubbings of the coins and creating patterns with the coins.
Engage the children Engage the Children
  1. Provide each child with a few coins, sheets of white paper and crayons or colored pencils. Have them lay out a few coins on a sheet and cover them with another sheet of white paper. Then, make coin impressions by coloring over the coins with the colored pencils.
  2. Have the children then take the actual coins and match them with their impressions. 
  3. Make an attributes chart. Have the children notice and talk about the similarities and differences between each of the coins.  You  can help by clarifying the attributes the children are noticing by identifying the various presidents and landmarks on each of the coins. You can also connect the coins with the equivalent number amount.

Additional Extensions

  • You could lay out a few coins on the paper, cover it up with another sheet and have the children crayon rub. In this game, the children do not know what coins are under the paper. They guess and check when they rub and create a new coin impression.
  • Create coin rubbings math/money equations.
  • Create a pattern with the coins and then children can rub and create designs. Have the children create their own patterns.
  • If you end up using crayons, wash over the paper with water colors to have the crayon colors pop out. You could do the coin rubbings with a white crayon and create a “secret” money activity sheet. The children can then use water colors to reveal the coins.
Encourage vocabulary Encourage Vocabulary
  • Equal to – To be the same in number or amount (e.g., "A dime is equal to 10 cents.")
  • Similarities – Having like attributes (e.g., "What similarities do you notice between these 2 coins?")
  • Differences – Not similar in size, shape, color or other characteristic (e.g., "What differences do you notice between these 2 coins?")
  • Quarter A coin worth 25 cents (e.g., a quarter of a dollar)
  • Dime – A coin worth 10 cents (e.g., tenth of a dollar)
  • Nickel – A coin worth 5 cents (e.g., fifth of a dollar)
  • Penny – A coin worth 1 cent

Glossary of MATH vocabulary

Make adaptations Make Adaptations

Supporting Children at Different Levels

Toddlers   Pre-K

Toddlers may:

  • Need help understanding the connection between the coin rubbing and the actual coin.
  • Need help attaching a coin name to the appropriate coin.
Vertical line

Pre-K Children may:

  • Easily identify the various attributes of the coins.

Home child care providers may:

  • Point out similarities and differences between the coins. Help the children to notice the size and the pictures on each of the coins and then connect those attributes to the same coin to complete the matching of the coins.
  • Further extend the activity so that the children are using the coins in a variety of different ways.  Create a pattern with the coins and then children can rub and create designs.  Have the children create their own patterns.
  • Reinforce the names of the coins as the children are matching up the coins to the rubbings. Make a list of each coin’s various attributes. (e.g., Quarter: largest coin, eagle soaring on one side, George Washington on the other side)


Home child care providers may:

  • Introduce the number equivalences of each coin. Create coin rubbings math/money equations practice sheets or games.
  • Provide games that further solidify their knowledge. Lay out a few coins on the paper, cover it up with another sheet and have the children crayon rub. In this game, the children do not know what coins are under the paper. They guess and check when they rub and create a new coin impression.


Books Books
  • The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Lanczak Williams (New York: Charlesbridge Pub Inc., 2001)
  • Pigs will be Pigs:  Fun with Math & Money by Amy Axelrod (New York: Aladdin, 1997)
  • Alexander, Who Used to be Rich Last Sunday by Judith Viorst (New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1987)
Music and movement Music and Movement
Outdoor connections Outdoor Connections
  • Set up a General Store. Some of the children can be merchants and the other children can be buyers.  Use only the coins used in the rubbing activity (quarters, dimes, nickels & pennies).  Have the merchants price their items. You can either bring some items from the classroom outside or sell found objects, such as rocks or pinecones. The prices should be in keeping with the coins (5 cents, 25 cents) so that the children won’t need to figure out how to make change. The merchants can write up price tags or the buyers can simply ask the price of each item. Once the children have played this game through, have the merchants and buyers switch roles.

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