Counting Back Change

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I will be the first to tell you I shouldn't be the change counter at your next garage sale!

Not because I can't count, but because I get math anxiety.  Someone standing there looking over my shoulder with a line building up behind them......

I have butterflies just thinking about it.

A few nights ago we were at Target  buying school supplies. Upon approach of the register my youngest daughter realized she had money burning a hole in her pocket. So naturally the gum, so conveniently placed,  began calling her name. 

Eager to have her first "check out" experience she waited patiently in line behind me.   Plopping the Bubblicious on the counter filled with grins the clerk tells her that will be $1.03.

With only dollar bills she places $2.00 in the clerks hand.   In the meantime I begin looking in my purse for 3 pennies. 

Ah ha, alas, mom has found the pennies!

I handed the clerk the 3 pennies thinking this will be an easy exchange. But come to find out our  poor clerk also had math anxiety. 

The line was REALLY long behind us and his poor face just looked like it had seen a ghost when I gave him those pennies.  

"Math is not my thing" he nervously replies, while the $0 .97 now sat sweatily in his hand.

Poor guy, we got it all figured out and my daughter left with her gum and her dollar!  But this got me thinking.  Even as adults math can be intimidating.

I want my kids to build a  life long confidence in math.  There are so many ways to casually practice math fundamentals at home. And after out little encounter at the store I decided what better way than to practice this concept at home . 

Start by giving your kids dollar bills and change. Then set up a store with items for purchase ( just some fun things from around the house).  Next have them calculate the totals ( you could even incorporate how to figure the tax for older kids). After you figure the amount due, say $3.15, I would have them give me a 5 dollar bill.

Voila, practice in action!  Switch it up by having your kids practice being both the cashier and the shopper.

Click here for more ideas and a tutorial.