Coin Rubbings

This activity will teach children/students how to make super cool coin rubbings! They can be used to create cool art, or even as a fun way to practice counting money. Here's how:

Start by gathering coins of all different shapes and sizes. Choose one of the coins to make your rubbing with, and set it on a flat table or desk. You can have the child choose which side of the coin is facing up or down – the side of the coin that is facing up will be the impression you will get on your paper.

Set a white piece of paper on top of the coin where you would like the coin's impression to be. Hold the paper down firmly with your hand. You want to make sure it is still and stays in the same position the whole time you are creating the rubbing. This way, the impression will be clear, and not blurred.

Using either the side of a pencil or a colourful crayon, rub back and forth across the surface of the coin as it sits underneath the paper. An impression of the coin will begin to appear. Make sure you rub carefully, as you don't want to tear the paper.

Continue rubbing until the entire impression of the coin is showing up on the paper. You can rub lightly for a soft image, or rub a bit longer for a darker image. You can repeat with the other side of the coin using another part of the paper. Then try it with all of the other coins you gathered!

After you've taught your students how to create a coin rubbing, here are some fun math activities your child/students can do:

  • Using the supermarket flier from the newspaper and any coupons you have, find two items whose prices add up to exactly $1.00. Have the student create a work of art for each of the items they chose, by rubbing enough coins to add up to one dollar!
  • Clip out enough coupons from a newspaper so the total savings they represent equals $1.00. Do a coin rubbing to represent the dollar value of each coupon!
  • Assign a value to each letter of the alphabet (i.e., A=1¢, B=2¢, and so on). Ask the children to find the value of their first name (…first and last name, …first, middle and last names). For this activity, have the children do coin rubbings that add up to the dollar value of their names. Ask if anyone has a name that adds up to $1.00. Then ask if they combined their names with a friend's can they make $1.00? Next ask the children to try to find other words that equal $1.00. The children could keep a class list of words that equal one dollar.

This activity will reinforce the child's ability to distinguish between quantity and value with respect to coins, and about combinations of coins (such as 25 pennies, 2 dimes and 5 pennies, 5 nickels, or 1 quarter), an important concept in composing and decomposing numbers.