Home » Craft » Learning Laboratory: Counterfeiting (guest post by Mike)

Learning Laboratory: Counterfeiting (guest post by Mike)

Hopefully this post doesn’t attract the attention of the United State Secret Service, unless they are interested in a little art project for their kids that does not violate Title 18, Section 471 of the United States Code. Emma, Johnny, and Lily have become really interested in money lately (e.g., see one of Emma’s quotes here). One of their favorite books right now is one we got from the library about the history of money. So, Emma thought it would be fun if we could make some. I cut out some Monopoly-sized pieces of paper and got out a $20 bill. All three kids got out their crayons.

Mike teaches the kids about money

Emma drew a happy face for Andrew Jackson on the front and indicated the denomination.

Emma's money

She thought the White House on the back was pretty cool. She was very interested to know that Obama lives there now.

Emma draws the White House

I’m not exactly sure what Lily drew, or whether she was doing the same art project we were…

Lily admires her artwork

but she was very proud of it!

Lily shows off her artwork

Johnny liked the $1 bills the most. He also invented some of his own currency.

Johnny shows off his currency

We then moved on to foreign currency. Here Emma is copying the 5 euro note after finishing with the Canadian $10. I told her that I got the 5 euros from my trip to Italy a month or so ago. She said, “oh, that’s when you got us the astronaut ice cream.” (It was from that trip, but I bought the ice cream when I was stuck in Dulles airport).

Emma making her own "euros"

Emma thought the watermark was pretty cool on the euros.

Emma admires a watermark

When I was little, I collected foreign currency. I thought the designs were really cool. I got many of them from my uncle, my parents, and the tooth fairy. I loved learning about the different countries and finding them on our giant map. I pulled out a binder full of currency from around the world and the kids got really excited to see how they are of all different colors, with some of them having pictures of kids on them. Johnny asked if one of them was from Argentina. I was puzzled for a moment where he got Argentina from, but then I remembered that it was one of the (many) countries he pointed to on the map in his doctor’s office a few weeks ago and asked what it was.

It was a really fun art project to do with the kids. Maybe next time we’ll see if we can do some watermarking.

learning laboratory at mama smiles

MaryAnne is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

17 thoughts on “Learning Laboratory: Counterfeiting (guest post by Mike)”

  1. Yes, this is a really cool project, fun and educational, but I have to say…What I love about this post the most are the two pictures of Lily with her money. The expressions on her face are adorable!

  2. Bravo – a great project for the kids – and the conversation was so wide-ranging! Experiences like this are priceless. Such a valuable activity. Well done!

  3. I’ve always enjoyed foreign currency as a child too. I loved that it came in more than one color. US dollar bills were just a boring green. Glad they have improved a little since then.

  4. Candace @ NaturallyEducational

    Fun! I love world currency and it is a great way to study geography and culture! My husband and I have quite a collection to share with the kids. I love your idea of having them “copy” the currency!

  5. Love how you had the kids really, really look at currency–so fun and so full of teeny treasures!!

    Great title, too–very clever, my friend!

  6. So cute! I LOVE your connection with world currency and the world map! It looks like the had so much fun!

    And what a sweet Dad!

  7. Oh, how awesome that you still have your collection. I remember my parents having some money from pre-revolutionary Russia – I was so fascinated by those bills that seemed truly prehistoric. I love Emma’s idea of a happy face on a $20 bill :)

  8. And then there’s the times I could have sworn I’d commented, but I really haven’t……

    My kids would love to do this, they’re crazy about money.

  9. That is a great idea. My 2.5yr old son has recently really gotten into coins… this would be a great way to have him observe the differences.

  10. I love the way you wrote this – it had me giggling! Another thing your youngsters might like is to look at flags from different countries. It sounds like they are at that wonderful stage of enthusiasm for and curiosity about the world, and I know my son loved linking countries to flags.

  11. My kids love playing with money also. I had some foreign currency and they loved that too. I never had them design their own…I will have to do that! :) It is a great way to teach so many lessons from math to geography.

  12. What a fun project. Hanna’s started getting into money. She’s really enjoying the coins though. I set up a paper with each coin at the top and she dumps out her piggy bank and then lines them all up in the right columns. She loves counting them and seeing how much money she has. :)

  13. Elisa | blissfulE

    Currency is a great way to learn about the world! My favourite currency (that I’ve seen) is Swiss. Their bills are just works of art! And so are Emma’s and Johnny’s! I have a feeling Lily’s bills would be accepted in many parts of the world where a smile from a cute kiddo is a ticket to all kinds of freebies. :)

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