Pocket Change is a money counting game that exercises your brain as you practice counting change quickly. This game trains mathematical and analytical ability.
To begin, click the Small, Medium, or Large link under the picture at left. This opens the game in a pop-up window. Wait for the game to load, then click the "Play" link on the game.
Drag to the table the indicated number of coins that add up to the required total. For example, you can see on the screen image that I need to drag 4 coins totaling 17 cents.
Note: This game is for practicing how to count American coins only (pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters, half-dollars).
HOW TO PLAY. Drag out currency from the bottom of the screen to match the total value and number of coins on the left. There are eight combinations on each level.
To advance to the next level, solve all eight before the timer runs out.
The first couple of levels of this money counting game are relatively easy. The required coin combinations are fairly obvious.
After that, it gets a bit harder. For instance, it's elementary that you can total 37 cents by choosing one quarter, one dime, and two pennies (4 coins).
But what if the game asks you to achieve the same total using six coins? You might have to think about that one.
COIN VALUES. In case you aren't familiar with the values of American coins, here's the list:
Penny. The penny is worth one cent.
Nickel. The nickel is worth five cents.
Dime. The dime is worth ten cents.
Quarter. The quarter is worth twenty-five cents.
Half-Dollar. The half-dollar (or fifty-cent piece) is worth fifty cents.
There are other coins, such as the Susan B. Anthony and Sacagawea dollar coins, but these are rarely used in real life and not used at all in this game. One hundred cents equals one dollar.
COIN COUNTING STRATEGIES. Here are some strategies I thought of to help you complete the challenges in this money counting game even more quickly. Remember, to move to the next level you have to finish all the challenges before the timer runs out, so speed is important.
(1) Count pennies first. Since the penny is the only coin worth one cent, drag the pennies you need onto the table first. For example, if the goal is 87 cents, you obviously need at least two pennies.
(2) Don't worry about needing large numbers of pennies. Multiples of five cents or higher are unlikely to require pennies.
While it's true that five pennies is worth five cents, there were no challenges (at least at the lower levels) where I had to use more than four pennies.
(3) If the dollar amount is relatively high but the number of coins required is low, start with the half-dollar.
(4) If you meet the required total but are off by one coin, remember that you can swap one dime for two nickels.
If you are a teacher, consider telling your students about this game. Pocket Change is an engaging way for students to gain experience with basic money counting skills.
Get really good at this Pocket Change game, then impress your friends with how quickly you can mentally calculate the change for purchases. Counting coins is a fun way to practice your math skills. And it's quite practical, too, of course.
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