A Cents-ational holiday gift for children

Give your child a coin collection starter set this holiday to teach them to have fun learning history, math, travel, economics and research.

December 13, 2013 - Author: Barbara Duvall, Michigan State University Extension

During the holiday season newspapers seem to have endless advertisements for toys. If you are looking for a toy with educational value that has stood the test of time, consider giving your favorite youngster a coin collecting set.

According to the U.S. Mint website, “numismatics is the study and collecting of things that are used as money, including coins, tokens, paper bills and medals.” More commonly known as coin collecting, it has a very long and fascinating history dating back to Augustus Caesar, the first emperor of Rome.

Coin collecting can be exceptionally educational. It can teach youngsters about history, math, economics, travel, trivia and research. According to Michigan State University Extension, teaching youth about coin collecting may be the first step in teaching them wise money management.

When looking for a holiday gift, consider a set of the 50 State Quarters and an appropriate coin holder.  Or purchase the holder and just a few coins to encourage your child to keep an eye out for additional coins to complete the set.  It also gives you and grandparents an easy choice for future gifts.

Another good beginner set is the America the Beautiful Quarters.  The series was launched in 2010 and each year the U.S. Mint issues five new quarter designs depicting treasured national parks and other national sites.  With 56 coins in the set, the final design will be released in 2021.

A valuable online site for youth interested in coin collecting is The United States Mint H.I.P. Pocket Change™ Website.  It includes innumerable links to games, fun facts, quizzes, puzzles, mint history, news about coins and more.

Contact your local MSU Extension office to capitalize on your child’s fascination with coins. The county 4-H program coordinator can help start a 4-H coin collecting club in your neighborhood.  There’s so much for youngsters to learn and experience!  Working together, youngsters can research the value and history of the coins they have. Teach the members how to make change and let them explore the story behind Europe’s euro.  Take them on a field trip to a local coin shop or coin show.  If you live near Philadelphia, Pa. or Denver, Colo., take the club members on a free tour of a U.S. Mint facility; otherwise take a virtual tour of the coin making process.

Another way to support your children’s interest is to involve their friends by hosting a coin collecting party; who wouldn’t be intrigued to be invited to a “Numismatic Party?”  The H.I.P. Pocket Change website makes it easy with ideas for age-appropriate games and activities as well as food and decorations.

Coin collecting is a great way to start a child on a “cents-ational” lifetime hobby that has the potential to increase in value!

Contact your local MSU Extension office for additional information about financial literacy programming for youth.

Tags: msu extension, youth money management

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