Presidents’ Day is a perfect time to put together a few simple activities teaching about money and presidents for your preschooler. Activities involving money and presidents are great throughout Presidents’ Day week or anytime you want to study money and/or presidents. The photo is a Montessori-inspired science experiment using pennies, salt, lemon juice, and a cloth to polish the pennies.
The photo is based on an activity described in Jocelyn Scotty’s article at suite101.com: President’s Day Montessori Activities: Using Money to Introduce Young Children to the Presidents. The acidity of the lemon juice combined with the abrasiveness of the salt is used to polish pennies, making the activity both a science experiment and a practical life activity. When presenting the activity, you can point out Abraham Lincoln’s image on the penny, making it a history lesson as well.
Because of young children’s natural interest in money, Jocelyn Scotty recommends using coins and currency to create hands-on activities introducing presidents. In addition to the “Penny Polishing Science Experiment,” Jocelyn has ideas for “Practical Life With a Piggy Bank,” “Creative Art With Coin Rubbings,” and “Dollar Bill Activity.”
For the “Dollar Bill Activity,” you just need a tray containing a dollar bill and a magnifying glass. You could add a small dish containing a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, and half dollar for your child to study with the magnifying glass as well.
I also think it would be interesting to prepare a tray with an activity for matching pictures of the presidents to the corresponding coins: Abraham Lincoln – penny, Thomas Jefferson – nickel, Franklin D. Roosevelt – dime, George Washington – quarter, and John F. Kennedy– half dollar. I’ve linked each president to a copyright-free image from Wikimedia Commons.
You could create 3-part cards for each president. Or you could just download and print out the presidents’ photos on 4×6 photo paper and print each president’s name on the back for a quick Presidents’ Day coin-and-photo-matching activity.
For more ideas with a presidents theme, be sure to check out all the links to Presidents’ Day activities and videos (including three embedded videos) at the Living Montessori Now Community. The sites in the links aren’t Montessori sites, but there are LOTS of great ideas that can be applied to any school or homeschool. I have links appropriate for all ages of children.
If you live in the U.S., enjoy creating activities focusing on money and presidents! If you live in another country, you could create activities similar to the ones in this post using your country’s currency.