Coin Identification

By Activity Bank on May 31, 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.

This hands-on activity teaches students who are blind or visually impaired to identify and discriminate between different coins, and to understand their value. Lessons include Math and Independent Living.


A large assortment of coins (be sure you do not have any foreign coins in your collection).


  • Give the student a container of various coins, and have him sort the coins into four separate compartments. Initially, start with two grossly different coins and work up to coins that are more alike. For example, start with a quarter and a penny, then introduce a new coin. Once all three coins are sorted correctly, add the next coin. Always state the value of each coin when it is introduced.
  • Familiarize the student with each new coin as it is introduced. For example, identify a penny by its color, size and smooth edge, and the sound it makes when dropped on the table. Identify a dime by checking for the ridges on its side, its sound and size. Be consistent in the way you identify each coin. Allow the student to discover differences in each one.
  • Compare the various coins: how are they alike or different? Note that dimes and quarters have ridges and that pennies and nickels have smooth edges.
  • Give the student four pennies and three quarters and have him find all the pennies. This activity can be done as a type of game: give the student a container of coins and play a game like Go Fish. Have the student select and identify the coin. Then ask another player for the coin that has just been identifies (e.g. “Give me all of your dimes.”). The student must check to be sure all coins received are dimes.
  • Give the student nine pennies and one different coin. Have him find the one that is not a penny.
  • Give the student one of each coin he is able to identify, then have him find the coin that is worth 5 cents, 10 cents, 1 cent, 25 cents.


  • Have the student count out and roll coins using paper money rolls. For students who cannot identify or count consistently, use a coin sorter (available in many toy stores).
  • This activity could be done as a classroom job. For example, after the student fills the school soda machine, he must empty the change holder, then sort and roll all the money.



Read more about: Math, Independent Living, STEM, Transition