Coin Sort

It’s never too early to begin encouraging coin recognition, and this coin sort activity is such a fun and simple way to do that with young learners.

Young Girl Sorting Coins

This easy-to-setup coin sorting math activity can be helpful for preschoolers who are curious about coins but it can also be perfect for older students who are struggling with coin recognition, the value of different coins, decision-making skills, critical thinking skills, and more.


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Young Student Sorting Coin Money

Over the years, we’ve set this activity up using a variety of different resources.

It all depends on what you already have on hand – no need to buy anything new to make this hands-on math experience happen for your student.

Setting Up this Math Activity

  • Spaces for Sorting – Do you have some large paper coins, All About Coins books, or even four different colored pieces of construction paper (like we used here for the Lego Sort and Food Sort Ideas) – each one labeled with penny, nickel, dime, or quarter? Want to include the half dollar? Go for it! Peek into the batch of learning resources you already own and grab something that might work!
  • Real Coins or Play Money – There was a time when I thought play money was a must-have for educating my children at home. I eventually realized that if I’m regularly exposing them to the value/use of actual money, play money was unnecessary for us. This was a part of our decluttering/minimizing journey – but I realize that others may choose to approach this differently.
Learning Resources Set Up for Math Activity

Now it’s time to sort coins!

There are lots of different ways you can use this activity to meet the needs of your student.

Sure, we have used this as a way to separate pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters from one another – naming them, describing them, discussing the historical significance of what is on the front and back of each coin, learning the value of each coin, etc.

Young Girl Sorting Coins

However, this has also been a fantastic way to spend a little extra time working on differentiating nickels from quarters.

For some kiddos, this two coins can be an especially tricky part of learning about US coins.

To little eyes and hands, nickels and quarters can look so similar.

Sorting by category is such an important skill for young learners to work on, and when the set-up offers them a hands-on learning experience, it is so engaging for them!

Have some coin wrappers on hand?

Your learner might enjoy wrapping the coins they’ve sorted!

Young Girl Sorting Coins

Activities like this have been especially helpful for my oldest daughter who has special needs.

It has been a perfect category sort activity for her, but if you’re a special education teacher looking for ways to work on life skills with your students, this is also great for that.

I also love the fine motor work that manipulating coins on the hand has provided her as well!

This has me thinking about how my girls have always loved helping me sort clothes when it’s time to put laundry away – but I should maybe save that idea for a different sorting skills post.

Level Up

Are you planning to use this activity with an older student?

Bonus points if they can not only recognize the value of coin but can tell you how much money ends up in each sorted space!

What is the grand total?

We definitely don’t want to make this money skills activity frustrating – we want students to feel successful, but this would be a great way to make this experience more challenging for more advanced students!

Another Fun Sorting Idea

If you like this idea, you might also want to try this animal sort idea!

More Water Play Ideas

Another fun coin activity my kids have enjoyed is seeing how many drops of water they can get on the head of a coin.

Money Games:

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