For this learning activity, the kids and I have been working on creating and modifying our own chore charts for three summers now. The first summer, I needed the boys to work on certain skills around the house. So the first set of skills I focused on were:
1. Eating all their food for each meal
2. Water plants
3. Pick up their toys and games when done playing
4. Lessons at home
5. Mommy’s helper
At the same time, I wanted my sons to become more comfortable in counting higher than 20 and 30. At the beginning of this project, boys are about 4 and 3 years old, just about.
To create this, I went to the local dollar store, purchased some poster board and stickers, and it grew from there. The idea behind it was for them to work in increments of 40 stickers. I wanted them to understand how to count to 40. For every 40 stickers, they were able to have the buying power of a certain dollar amount to use when we went out to the store. However, there was no purchasing power until they earned an increment of 40 stickers. This was to prevent them from spending a dollar here, or five dollars there, and just focusing on buying stuff.
Every time they finished their food, or at least ate until they were really full, they would get a sticker. Each time they watered plants, they earned a sticker. Every time they picked up after themselves, they earned a sticker. The lessons were things like playing dominoes to learn adding, doing an art project, learning our shapes outside, and so on. For “mommy’s helper”, I might need help with doing something that is not on the chart. This gave me the flexibility to change that chore a bit now and then. It could be helping me put their dirty dishes in the sink, or to help me put the laundry into the dryer.
The reason behind the “mommy’s helper” was so that the chore list was not 20 items or more long. For small kids, that is intimidating. So there were about five to start with from the very beginning. The kids were also encouraged to decorate their charts. After another summer, they wanted to choose their own stickers to use. At our house, we do not use those stickers for anything else because they are considered money for our kids.
For the second summer, the 40 stickers are now worth 25 cents a piece. This helped them now with understanding money. We talked about how 4 stickers are worth $1, just like you need four quarters (25 cents) to make a dollar. We played with real money, as now it was not a choking hazard for their ages anymore. We talked about dimes and pennies and half dollars too. We still continue talking and learning about this as it comes up in our day. Then we figured out that 40 stickers are worth $10 now.
As they get closer and closer to the full amount of 40 stickers, they need to find out how many stickers they need to earn the full forty. At that time, they thought of different things they could do around the house to earn it.
Chore List for Second Summer
1. Clean up toys and games after playing
2. Mommy’s helper
3. Help with sorting laundry (math lesson)
4. Put away your dishes (plasticware)
5. Water plants 6. Lessons at home
Chore List for Third Summer: (used this during the school year too)
1. Clean up toys and games after playing
2. Laundry (folding and sorting)
3. Getting yourself dressed and brushing teeth (morning and night)
5 Mommy’s helper
6. Daddy’s helper
Since this was the third new list for chores, they boys and I discussed what was placed on there. It was not just me telling them on things to work on. They had a say and I knew that would work better, now that they wanted to become more independent.
1. We started with both boys on one poster board, now they each have their own.
2. Explain to the grandparents what stickers are worth and such, so that you do not come home with kids saying that they were promised 200 stickers for cleaning up. 🙂 (This actually happened)
3. I grouped the 40 stickers in increments of 4 stickers each by circling them. The boys were there to learn that 4 stickers/quarters equal $1 and 40 stickers/ 40 quarters equal $10. Then, the stickers were crossed out with marker.
4. I tried looking for actual stickers of quarters and thought about using a stamp that was a quarter, but that will be after the school year starts.
5. Be patient. This is a work in progress for us, still to this day. It takes a lot of communication as well.
6. Use the chart as a way to show your child the areas they might need to work on more based on showing them how many stickers they have in that area. (compare and contrast)
Where is this in the Schedule of Activities for ages 3-5?
Click to access CALENDAR3yearsto5yearsofagePDF_0.pdf
1. Tuesday-Numbers, Quantity
2. Monday-Patterns (showing them areas they do more often and less often, what pattern do they see?)
3. Not posted -Money
Something to Think About:
In looking back at all of this, one child is now making better choices in spending money. The lesson learn is not to spend for the sake of spending, but use your money wisely, especially on something that will not break after one day of use. The other son has really learned about saving money and choosing not to spend the $10 dollars just yet. He waits until he earns another increment of 40 for something that costs more and can be used for a longer period of time.
No, we are not crazy for setting up the bar for $10. It is still a work in progress for the kids, so they do not earn $10 each week or month. They also understand how much work it takes to earn their money too. There is also no exchanges after purchasing something either because we need to make things count.
You do not need to set the amount to 25 cents a sticker, nor set it to $10. You make the decision based on what works. We have also chosen projects to work for donations and such. They are reminded of how we need to share and give to others.
Their purchasing choices were more toys at the beginning. Now, the purchases go toward kits of building robots, learning games, and books. This was my goal because the main point was teaching them mathematics and also to invest in their learning. This post was a long one. If you have any questions, comment, or email me at mom at learningmathwithmom dot com.
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