I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for ways to make school easier. I am homeschooling five kids (10th grade, 7th, 4th, 1st, and preschool), and it can be hard to keep everyone busy at the same time! This morning I grabbed a muffin tin, some cupcake liners, and our coin jar and set up this quick hands-on first grade math activity. It ended up being a big hit!

This coin counting activity would make a fabulous math center! To set up it up, simply write amounts of money on paper cupcake liners with a marker. Then set out some coins. That’s it! The photo below shows what I set up for my first grader. I also made a muffin tin for Janie (age 4) with smaller amounts. I gave her only pennies for counting, and it was perfect.

What made this coin counting activity so effective is that Jonathan could fill the muffin cups on his own. When he was finished, he brought the muffin tin to me to check. The muffin tin contained the coins nicely – no knocking down piles of coins on the table, etc. I could easily see what he had done!

All but two of his muffin cups were correct. For a few of the muffin cups, we discussed some ways that he could have made the same amount of money but used less coins. He has just recently learned to count quarters, so that was new.

This is definitely something we’ll do again!

Need more first grade math ideas? I’ve got lots!

Practice addition and subtraction facts with Math Facts Baseball!

Check out this Printable LEGO Math Pack for First Grade (free!)

Print these LEGO Math Challenge Cards – suitable for first and second grade.

Have fun with math!


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  1. Alexis Mar 17, 2020

    I really love this idea. I will be working with my granddaughter using the muffin tin. Please I need more idea for a five year old.

  2. Carol schutz Mar 28, 2020

    I definitely will use this idea.

  3. Grandma Becky Apr 5, 2021

    Awesome idea! I’ll use with our granddaughter too!


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