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Free Printable Play Money Template for the Classroom

One of my very favorite math skills to teach is how to count money. Kids really enjoy learning it too because it's one of the math concepts that has a clear, real-world application.

One way to make this topic extra fun and relevant is to provide students with hands-on math activities that let them experience counting actual money. This is so much more effective than practicing with the pictures in a textbook and your students will actually have a great time learning!

But handing out stacks of real money to a classroom full of seven year olds just isn't practical, is it? Talk about pandemonium!

boy holding handful of money

A great way to solve this problem is to use realistic pretend money. Some math curriculums come with pretend play money in their manipulatives kit. But if you aren't so lucky, you will need to provide your own.

Monopoly money or the fake cash that's included with other board games is an option - but it looks so fake with the bright colors and cartoon pictures. That really isn't the best way to teach kids about money.

So how else can students learn about the value of money without using the real thing? The answer is printing your own play paper money.

Fake Money Printables for the Classroom or Homeschool

Whether you're a classroom teacher or a homeschool mom, you will want to have different denominations, just like real money, when incorporating pretend cash into your lesson plan.

I like printable dollar bills that are as close to the actual size as possible without wasting a bunch of paper. I also like the colors to be realistic too (like printing on green paper rather than hot pink). This help students transfer their new money math skills from the classroom to the real world without a lot of confusion.

Luckily, you don't have to create your own classroom money. I have done the work for you!

This is a free set of printable dollars that you can use for educational purposes. It includes $1, $5, $10, $20, $50 and $100 bills that are perfect for to use with math games or role-play activities or as an instructional aid.

You can either print just the front side, or you can use the back sides too by printing front-to-back.

printable money dollar bills

What about coins, you ask? If you are working with your own child or a single student, real coins are definitely preferable. They really help kids see and feel the difference in size and weight between the different coins. But just like with dollars, using real coins probably is not the best choice for a whole classroom.

The alternative is to print pretend coins. This isn't as easy and straight-forward as printing paper dollars. Cutting out a bunch of tiny circles is time consuming to say the least and paper coins are very different from metal ones. But in teaching, we have to make-do.

So this file also includes a set of printable coins in PDF format that you can download and use with your students. You can leave the white square around each coin if you don't want to spend the time cutting out each circle. They are still a fun way for kids to learn about money!

printable money coins

To download both sets of printable money (dollars and coins) to use with your students, just click here to get the PDF file:

Free Printable Play Money Template for the Classroom

If you want to customize your play money, this printable money template is what you need. Print on bright, colorful paper to make it extra fun! Astrobrights is my favorite! (affiliate link)

This is a Powerpoint file that will allow you to edit the text while keeping the rest of the graphics and formatting intact. This is helpful if you want to use the money for other purposes in the classroom (keep on reading for some ideas).

This free printable classroom money template is for personal use with your own students or child. Click here to download the free file for personal or individual classroom use.

free printable money template dollar bills

Ways to Use Printable Money in Your Math Lessons

There are so many educational uses for play money in the classroom. Here are some ways I use it with my own students:

  • as a visual aid when teaching students to identify money

  • as a math manipulative alongside counting money worksheets

  • paired with a printable math board game (such as The Grocery Game)

  • to set up a pretend store or pretend bank to practice counting money and making change

Incorporating different types of activities like these into your math lessons is the best way for kids to learn about money and give students multiple opportunities to practice their money skills - and that translates into a deeper understanding.

➡️ For more ideas on how to teach this math skill see this blog post: Fun Activities to Teach Counting Money and Coins to Kids

Using Printable Dollars for Other Classroom Activities

Besides math lessons, there are other times you might want to use money in the classroom. For these activities, play money designs with fun colors are totally appropriate.

Here are some different ways you might use printable money with your students:

Classroom Reward System

Some teachers like to forgo a behavior chart and use pretend money in the classroom as a way to reward good behavior. When students accumulate enough cash, they can use it to buy a prize. This might be something from the treasure box or getting to do something fun. For this, printable one-dollar bills are really all you need.

➡️ Here are some ideas that pair well with money based reward systems:

Classroom Jobs

Like most elementary teachers, you probably have some sort of job chart in your classroom. If you teach older kids (3rd grade and up), you might consider "hiring" your classroom helpers. This is a great alternative to randomly assigning jobs and tasks to your students.

A lot of teachers who use this type of system set up an entire classroom economy using pretend money. Students get paid a certain salary to perform their assigned jobs, just like in the real world, and can spend the money they earn on special privileges or in a class store. It is a very fun way to teach responsibility and work ethic. This idea can easily be adapted for use with a chore chart at home with your own kids.

➡️ For more information on how to hire helpers in your own classroom, see the end of this blog post: 50 Great Classroom Jobs and Helper Ideas For Students


One of my students' favorite ways to practice counting money is with The Grocery Game! It's an excellent hands-on activity for your math centers that pairs perfectly with the free printable money in this blog post. Check it out:

I hope these free printables make planning your math lessons easier! For more teaching ideas and freebies like delivered right to you, be sure to sign up for my Teaching Tips Newsletter!

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