A Penny Game

This Penny Game is a winner game every time!  Returning campers remember this game and ask for it.  It’s a game that can be played to fit any language level or skill.

Common Core State Standards

NOTE:  This lesson can address the following Common Core Standards:  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.2.A, RF.1.2.A, RF.2.3.A, RI.K.2, RI.1.2 and RI.2.2.

Setting up the Game

This penny game works best for smaller groups (up to 12).  I have on hand a jar full of pennies.

Penny game pennies

The group sits in a circle on the floor.

kids play the penny game

Each child has 60 seconds to rattle off as many facts as they can about a given animal or topic OR say as many vocabulary words that we have focused on that day.

Now to play!

I pour out a pile of pennies on to the floor in front of the first student and set the timer for 1 minute on my phone.

pour the pennies to play the penny game

I say “go” and start the timer.  The first child slides a penny from the pile to him or herself every time he/she states a fact or names a vocabulary word.

one student plays the penny game  

As soon as the timer sounds, the player stops speaking and keeps the pennies he/she has earned.

Print the Instructions

Here are the game instructions for you to print and use.

Here are the instructions for a home school family.


We usually play this game on the last day of an animal or Spanish camp.  The children have had all week to learn facts about the animals or specific Spanish vocabulary so it serves as a tangible way to celebrate what they’ve learned.

We have also played it for camps where we’re learning specific vocabulary such as “Instead of Said words”, verbs ending in ED, irregular past verbs and names of countries.  

The game can be played to list rhyming words, words that begin with a specific letter or blend.  What have you!

Writing Prompts

We played the penny game after the following writing prompts:

The Penny President-Non-Fiction

Image by OpenClipart-Vectors from Pixabay

Packing–A List Poem  The kids named things to pack

All Wild Cats Writing Prompts naming facts that the students learned

Short Video

Take this game a step further and watch this short 2 minute video about 5 fun facts about the penny.

NOTE:  Every now and then, I have a child who has been taught not to receive money from people.  This child will either opt to not play, or will play by simply stating facts and not receiving the pennies.  I always respect this situation fully when it comes up.