Looking for some fun activities that won’t break the bank? Check out our list of free at-home activities to create, explore, and investigate different concepts using coins.
Coin Rubbing and Matching
Create colorful coins with our coin rubbing and matching activity. (Ages 3+)
Materials: different types of coins, colored pencils or crayons, pencil, white paper or the Coin Rubbing and Matching worksheet (PDF)
- Collect different types of U.S. coins.
- Place the coin under a sheet of white paper or the printed Coin Rubbing and Matching worksheet (PDF).
- Using a colored pencil or crayon, gently rub the colored tip over the coin until the coin design appears on the paper.
- Use different colors for different coins.
- Fill the sheet with different coin rubbings.
- After the sheet is filled, place the coins next to the sheet. Match the actual coin to the correct impression.
- With the help of a friend or family member, write the name of each coin and its value (1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢) next to each impression.
For additional fun, create a pattern using the coins (a circle, square, smiley face, flower). Place a blank sheet of paper over the coins and rub the coins to show the pattern.
Create your own grocery store and purchase items using coins. (Ages 4+)
Materials: different types of coins, various toys or small household items, sticky notes or index cards, marker, tape, paper, pencil, grocery bag
- Collect different types of coins and various toys or household items.
- Using a sticky note or index card, write a price for each household item (pencil = 25¢).
- Collect spare coins or create your own coins by cutting out circles and labeling them (1¢, 5¢, 10¢, 25¢, and 50¢).
- With a friend or family member, take turns shopping for household items. One person is the shopper, who selects the items they want to buy. One person is the cashier, who counts the total cost of the items.
- Use the coins to count out the correct amount to buy the items. Write the total on a piece of paper or a “receipt”.
For additional fun, give the shopper a certain amount of money before they begin. This is their “budget”, or the amount of money they can spend on items. They will have to decide which items they want to buy based on their budget. They cannot spend more than their budget.
Design Your Own Coin
Design a coin using our blank coin template. (Ages 4+)
Materials: colored pencils, crayons, paint, or pencil, paper or the Design Your Own Coin worksheet (PDF)
Did you know that the Mint makes coins with different designs? For example, as part of the America the Beautiful Quarters® Program, the Mint makes quarters with different designs of national parks and other national sites for each of the 50 states and U.S. territories.
Explore the different coin designs in our Coin Library. The next time you are on a walk in your local community, get inspired by what is around you. Brainstorm ideas for what you would want to see on a coin and then draw, sketch, or paint your design using your own paper or the Design Your Own Coin worksheet (PDF).
Coin Scavenger Hunt
Go on a scavenger hunt for coins! (Ages 5+)
Using coins you find around your house or in our online Coin Library, see if you can find the following coins:
- A coin that features a U.S. president
- A coin that shows an animal
- A coin that shows a building
- A coin that was made the year you were born
- A coin from the U.S. state or territory where you currently live
- A coin that features a national park or historical site
- A coin that shows a flag
- A coin that has either a “D” or “P” mint mark
- A coin that shows a plant
- A coin that lists two (2) different years (example: 1776-1976)
- A coin that was made this year
- What is the oldest coin you can find?
- Which coin is the most unique? Why?
- Which design is your favorite? Why?
Become a Coin Collecting Whiz
Did you know that coin collecting is one of the oldest hobbies on Earth? Become a coin expert by reading our top five coin collecting facts on the Collecting page. (Ages 7+)
Test your knowledge by taking our coin collecting quiz. Or, find a friend or family member and quiz each other.
History Trivia Challenge
Test your Mint knowledge in our Mint History Trivia quiz. (Ages 10+)
Did you know that the Mint is over 228 years old? It was created in 1792 and is one of the oldest agencies in the federal government. The Mint has a fascinating history.
State Quarter Quest
Choose your favorite state and learn about that state’s quarters. (Ages 7+)
Did you know that the Mint started featuring different U.S. states and territories on quarters over 20 years ago?
In 1999, the Mint began issuing quarters to honor the states, U.S. territories, and Washington, DC. In 2010, they began a new quarter program that features different national parks or sites in each state, territory, and the District of Columbia.
Choose one state or U.S. territory. It can be a state that you live in or the state that is your favorite. Find the two quarter designs for your state from our online coin libraries:
- 50 State Quarter Program or District of Columbia and U.S. Territories Quarters; and
- America the Beautiful Quarters Program
Answer the following questions about the quarters on your own paper or using the State Quarter Quest worksheet (PDF):
- What is featured on each design?
- Why do you think this was included in the design?
- What new facts did you learn about your state?
- If you could create a new quarter design for your state, what would you include?
Discover History in Your Pocket
Learn about what coins say about U.S. culture. (Ages 9+)
Materials: online Coin Library
Did you know that coins can last thousands of years? Every time you hold a coin, you are holding a piece of history. A lot of what we know about ancient civilizations is from coins.
The things on our coins today will tell future generations about our culture. Explore the different coins in our Coin Library. Pick your favorite U.S. coin.
Pretend you are living 100 years in the future. What would you think about U.S. culture if you found that coin?
Coin Weight Investigation
Do you know which U.S. coin weighs the most? Make predictions and explore different coin weights by creating your own coin balance scale. (Ages 7+)
Materials: different types of coins, two paper or plastic cups, string (24 inches), scissors, ruler, clothes hanger, tape
- Collect different types of coins.
- Examine each coin and notice how they are different. Some coins are bigger in size, and some are smaller. Some coins are thicker than others, and some weigh more.
- Make predictions about coin weights:
- Which coin weighs the most?
- Which coin weighs the least?
- Build a balance scale to test out your predictions.
- Poke two small holes in two cups. Make sure the holes are close to the rim and on opposite sides.
- Cut two pieces of string that are the same length (around 12 inches each).
- Tie the ends of the string through the holes in the cups to create two buckets.
- Hang the buckets on separate ends of a clothes hanger.
- Tape the string to the hanger keep it in place.
- Hang the hanger on a door handle.
- Using the different coins, test out their weights to see what coin weighs more. Check your predictions:
- Are your predictions are correct?
- What did you learn about the different coins?
- Experiment with different coin combinations. Compare the weight of two pennies with one nickel, or the weight of five dimes to two quarters.
Use the Coin Composition table to check your work.
Test Surface Tension
Have you ever noticed that when it rains, water forms as droplets on surfaces instead of spreading out? This is because of surface tension. See water surface tension in action using coins! (Ages 7+)
Materials: different types of coins, paper towels, pipette or eye dropper, cup of water, pencil and paper, soap (optional), spoon (optional)
- Collect different types of coins.
- Place each coin on a paper towel. Your goal is to see how many drops of water a coin can hold.
- Guess which coin will hold the greatest number of drops. Write down your guess on a piece of paper.
- Gather a pipette or eyedropper and a cup of water. Fill the pipette with water. Using the pipette, squeeze out the water, one drop at a time, onto the surface of a coin.
- Continue to add drops of water onto the coin. Notice how the water starts as a tiny droplet and gets bigger as more drops are added. Eventually, it forms a dome.
- Count the total number of drops on the coin until the water spills over. Write down the total number of drops for each coin.
- Repeat the process for each coin.
Check your predictions:
- Was your guess correct?
- Which coin held the highest number of drops?
- Which coin held the least?
- Why do you think this is the case?
Why didn’t the water spread out and flow over the edges of the coin? Water is made up of tiny molecules that are attracted to each other and stick together. The molecules at the surface are pulled inward by the molecules below it, which forms the dome shape. So, the surface molecules hold the droplet of water together. This is called surface tension. The higher the surface tension of the liquid, the bigger the droplet that forms.
For additional fun, add soap to the water and repeat the experiment. What happens when soap is added? Does adding soap increase or decrease the surface tension?
Explore different ways to categorize, count, and combine coins. (Ages 4+)
Materials: different types of coins, pencil, paper or Money Patterns worksheet (PDF)
Collect coins from your piggy bank or around your house. Practice categorizing the coins in different ways: quantity, value, and combinations.
Coin Quantity: Group the coins based on coin type (penny, nickel, dime, quarter). Count the different amount of each coin type. For example, you may have 10 pennies, 3 nickels, 2 dimes, and 6 quarters.
- Which type of coins do you have the most of?
- Which type of coins do you have the least?
- How many coins do you have in total?
Coin Value: Next, count the total value of each of the coins. For example, if you have 10 pennies, you have 10 cents ($0.10). If you have 10 nickels, you have fifty cents ($0.50). If you have 3 quarters, you have seventy-five cents ($0.75).
- Which coin type is worth the most?
- Which is worth the least?
- Does quantity (the total amount of each coins) or value (how much the coins are worth) matter more?
- What is the total value of your coins?
Dollar Combinations: Mix the coins together. See how many different ways you can create one dollar ($1.00) using different coins. For example, you can make a dollar using four quarters, or 10 dimes, or 100 pennies. You can also make a dollar using a 5 dimes and 10 nickels.
How many different ways can you make one dollar?
Flip Out for Coins
Did you know that coin flips are often used at sporting events to determine which team will possess the ball? They are also used to teach basic math concepts. (Ages 8+)
Materials: Coin, pencil, paper or Flip Out for Coins worksheet (PDF)
Using a spare coin or our Coin Flip game, practice flipping a coin. Record the amount of times it lands on “heads” and “tails”. Also, record the total number of times you flipped the coin on your own paper or using the Flip Out for Coins worksheet (PDF).
Write the amount of times it landed on heads over the total number of flips. If the coin landed on heads 3 times out of 10 total flips, the fraction is 3 heads/10 flips, or 3/10. If you multiply this number by 100, the percentage is 30%. So, the coin landed on heads 30% of the time. Repeat the same process for tails.
Does it land on one side more than the other?
Next, try flipping the coin for 100 times. Does this change your percentage? Most likely it does. Learn why this happens by reading our Coin Flip game guide.