Money Bags

By Activity Bank on Dec 04, 2013

This activity has been revised and was originally created by Mary Jane Clark and published in the Perkins Activity and Resource Guide (1st edition, 1992).  The second edition is available for purchase.

It’s important for students to have an understanding of coins and their values, to be able to purchase a soda from a machine or to pay bus fare. This activity uses coins to teach a number of skills in addition to coin value, including one-to-one correspondence, left/right orientation and packaging. Lessons include Math, Career Development and Independent Living Skills.


  • A four-compartment sorting tray
  • Index cards with coin values printed and brailled on each card
  • Assorted coins: pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters
  • Ziploc® plastic bags or envelopes


  • Set this activity up like an assembly task.
  • Give the student a work tray divided into four separate compartments.
    • The first compartment contains index cards with money values printed and brailled on each card, for example .10, .05, .25.
    • The second compartment contains Ziploc® plastic bags.
    • The third compartment has an assortment of coins: pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters, each in separate containers.
    • The last compartment is empty. It will be used as a “finished” box.
  • The student works from left to right:
    • Picks up one card and identifies the numeral;
    • Places the card in a Ziploc® bag;
    • Selects the coin that has that value stated on the card;
    • Places the coin in the bag; and
    • Seals the bag and places it in the last compartment.


This activity can be expanded to increase the student’s knowledge of coin value by:

  • Incorporating two coin values on each index card (.25, .05). The student must place into the bag two coins with the same values as those on the card. Ask what the total amount is in the bag.
  • Have students find other ways of reaching that same coin value: for example, .25 equals five nickels.
  • Give values that require the student to combine coins, e.g. .07, .23.

Hints: Have the student purchase small items at the store such as small snacks. He should be encouraged to use a variety of coins to reach the appropriate sum.