Time Era

Historic time period: 1968-present

Make it Count with Coins and Money

Although many Americans are turning more and more to credit cards to buy the things they want, most Americans still handle paper money and coins on a regular basis.  It is important for children (and adults!) to be comfortable counting and handling money and to think about the people and ideas that sit in our wallets.  But we wouldn’t need money if there weren’t things we wanted to buy and sell! To get the most for our money, it is always helpful to learn more about how businesses work and how advertising can help a business-owner bring in customers.

The National Museum of American History has a broad collection of different kinds of coins and paper money dating from throughout American history.  The pictures and words that have been used to decorate these items of great value can tell wonderful stories about what American found important at different times in national history.  For more information, and to explore this fascinating collection, visit the online exhibition Legendary Coins and Currency.

Lemonade in Winter: a Book About Two Kids Counting Money tells the story of Pauline and John-John, who decide to spend a snowy winter’s day setting up a lemonade stand and selling cups to their friends and neighbors.  As the siblings spend and make money, you will learn how to count coins into dollars and think about how businesses can attract customers – even when it’s cold outside! Check out some of the additional activities to learn more about the history of money and business in the United States and to try making some history of your own!

Read This Book

You can learn more about money and business by exploring these books.

Lemonade in Winter bookcover

Featured Book

Lemonade in Winter: a Book about Two Kids Counting Money

by Emily Jenkins

LEMONADE IN WINTER: A Book About Two Kids Counting Money Text copyright (c) 2012 by Emily Jenkins Illustrations copyright (c) 2012 by G. Brian Karas. Used by permission of Schwartz & Wade Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved.


  • Image of a man behind a counter

    Local Business, Big Reach

    Take a Trip

    Visit a local business to meet the business-owner and find the strategies they use to help sell their goods.

    Download the PDF »
  • Image of part of the Great Seal of the United States

    Designing Money

    Play and Create

    Explore the pictures and words on U.S. money and think about what kinds of images are important to you. Use them when you make your own money!

    Download the PDF »
  • Image of a figure on an island

    Escape from Barter Islands

    Use Technology

    Shipwrecked! But you don't have any money. How will you get home? Barter with the islanders to make it home safe!

    Download the PDF »
  • Image of Santa Cluas drinking a Coca-Cola

    Santa Sells Soda

    Learn from Objects

    Why does Santa Claus wear red and white? And how did he help sell Coca-Cola?

    Download the PDF»

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Smithsonian's History Explorer