Looking for an easy math lesson that your kids will love? Try this Penny Candy Store to teach kids the value of money. It’s a fun and really easy way to work math into your every day conversation. Candy is one of my favorite tools for math and we’ve done several activities that involve using candy for counting and sorting.
There’s so much nostalgia for the decade I grew up in. Everyone’s lamenting how we had it so much better in our youth. In some ways, we did, but there’s so much opportunity and potential for my kids now that didn’t exist back then.
I spend a lot of time reflecting on what made me who I am and how I developed strong character traits. I can trace a lot of it to overcoming adversity, which I might write about someday. I like to think though, that there are things I can do now, to help my kids develop the same skills without shuffling them between parents and leaving them to their own devices.
I have fond childhood memories of buying bags of sour patch kids from the drug store for a penny each every time my Mom went to the chiropractor and brought us along. So I decided to make my own penny candy store for the kids. It’s a great way to have fun with candy while working in little everyday math lessons.
How to Make Your Own Penny Candy Store
Making the penny candy store wasn’t difficult, however, actually implementing it effectively has brought up a few snags. I’ll share tips for those later in this post.
First Buy some Jars to Hold the Candy
Making a Penny Candy Store is so simple. I used a few glass vases I had sitting around and covered them with plastic wrap when not in use. You could get these adorable Anchor Hocking Glass Cookie/Candy Jars and these little ice scoopers too. So cute!
Or even this really cute Penny Candy Jar.
Next, Fill them with Candy
Make an Open/Closed Sign
I admit, I didn’t actually make the sign yet. If I think they’ve had too much candy I just arbitrarily tell them the store is closed. You could use a chalkboard- like this DIY magnetic chalk tray.
Tips for Making the Penny Candy Store Work
When my kids want some candy, they get their little sandwich baggie and bring me some change. We happen to have change all over our house because they broke into their piggy banks awhile ago. I don’t suggest this unlimited supply of change approach though. Maybe you could give them $1.00 worth of change in various types. Make sure to include pennies, dimes, nickels, and quarters.
This activity can be really simple and on the fly. You don’t actually have to sit down and have a lesson about the money, although you could. You could show them each type, explain it’s name and how many pennies make each one. Then tell them that each piece of candy costs one penny. I just bring it up in conversation and ask them what they are giving me each time.
Getting this concept takes a lot of repetition so be patient and make it fun. When they hand you a dime, don’t just dish out 10 pieces. Ask them how many pieces they would like to buy. If they don’t know you can prompt them by saying, “What type of money is this?”
￼My 3 year old always answers Nickel. Ha! It’s so cute. I just remind him of the correct answer and then he helps me count the candy into his bag.
Use this Penny Candy Store Activity to Practice Limit Setting
This activity is also really good for practicing limit setting too. Yes- your kids may eat 10 tootsie rolls and leave the wrappers all over the floor. But, the novelty of having an unlimited supply of candy will wear off. It’s like Halloween when you gorge yourself on the first day and then the interest in the candy wanes. If they bought candy 2 or 3 times in a day already and still haven’t eaten all of the candy in their bag, I tell them the store is closed. It’s been a few days now and they haven’t asked to buy more yet. When they do, we’ll practice the counting and math lessons.