As part of a broader unit learning about money, we spent some time appreciating the artwork and design that goes into producing currency. The kids were all quite interested in looking at bills and coins from different countries. We looked at a few books, websites, and currency that we had at home to get some ideas about what countries put on the money they created for an imaginary country.

I provided cut white paper, pencils, permanent markers, and watercolors. While they worked, I asked questions about their imaginary country, about what the symbols meant, and about how easy it would be for people to use the currency.

We observed how different countries chose to place their national symbols, famous people, or everyday scenes on their money. The kids told me about their created countries while they worked. R made a country that had an ice cream cone as a national symbol. Z even created his own name for the unit of currency and drew a sketch of one of his country’s founding leaders.

We talked about how in some places all the money is the same color while other countries have it color-coded by quantity. We noted how this design feature makes it much easier to count. There are also many anti-counterfeit elements that are really interesting to look at. The kids tried to incorporate some into their own bills.

Using permanent marker with a wash of watercolor on top will get your paper to be colored or you could of course just use colored paper.

This was a really nice activity because they could all participate in their own way. R was very pleased to be practicing numbers. Z had a lot of fun with the fantasy aspect of creating his own currency. And M was just happy to be at the table with the big kids.

Check out our other post for some ideas about incorporating geography into learning about money, including a U.S. State Quarters free download. And stay tuned for more on money! We made a math game and read some really fantastic books! Share you favorite money resources down below.


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