The Pretend and Play Teaching Cash Register from Learning Resources is celebrating its 25th anniversary. Over the years, the toy hasn’t changed much, but to this day, it is still a great talking cash register that makes learning money math easy and accessible.
The register comes with life-sized money, which includes pretend pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters. The coins are also the same size as their real counterparts. The register has faux $1, $5, $10, and $20 bills. There is even a pretend plastic credit card and a coupon savings card.
Kids as young as 3-years-old can practice identifying money, as well as working on their addition and subtraction. However, parents of kids with special needs will appreciate that kids are rewarded with lights and sounds when conducting transactions. Kids also get positive reinforcement with voice messages. However, not to worry if your kids are sensory-sensitive: You can control the volume and remove the batteries.
Most importantly, the cash register can help kids of different abilities with social stories. It is also an opportunity to preview life events, such as grocery shopping or going to an ice cream shop or coffee shop. Caregivers and therapists can use the opportunity to work on language, communication, and eye contact, as well as the fine motor skills needed for handling money. You can swap the pretend money with real money, as it will fit within the register if you would like to progress to realistic opportunities.
So while the cash register can teach great math and money skills, it also can teach communication and real-life interactions that can help many kids with social, emotional and physical challenges.