Monday, November 16, 2009

Counting Money

I have to admit we use a lot of plastic in front of our kids - "money" is something they find lying on the floor in the form of coins, to stuff into the slots in the coffee table.

It occurred to me the other day that maybe Ezra didn't know the denominations of coins (which he would, if we ever used them - he goes everywhere with us). He did not know the value of a nickel or a dime. I think I told him how much they were, but I'm sure he forgot because he wasn't interested - it was my question, not his.

But then the boy across the street told him he'd gotten a $3 cap gun at Walmart (oh joy!) and it occurred to Ezra that maybe all those pennies and random, valueless coins might add up to $3.

It was sad for me to be witnessing his exuberance for learning about money with the twin shadows of weaponry and Wal-Mart hanging over us. But whatever, right? He stacked up all his quarters and declared that he actually had SIX dollars. I pointed out that he actually had more (how I wish I hadn't felt compelled to do this!). So he asked me how much dimes and nickels are, and then we made stacks of those. He did all the addition in his own head, and figured out he had $7.95, plus eight extra pennies. After a while he figured out how to add the pennies in, too, and triumphantly shouted, "I have eight dollars and three cents!"

That was pretty exciting, and I didn't do anything but answer his questions. I did offer to get a pen and paper for him to add, but he didn't want it. I don't know where he learned how to add in his head anyway - but somehow he figures it out when he really wants to know the answer.

What could be more inspirational than knowing that you could actually almost buy THREE cap guns??