Penny Games! Because Kids Don’t Know They Can’t Buy Anything!

games for children to play with pennies

May 23rd is Lucky Penny Day–so we’re here to put our two cents in about games that kids can play with pennies. Over the course of American History, the penny has, of course, diminished in value. The coin still counts as hard currency to kids, though. That’s why we hope they never stop making them. Pennies are plentiful and cheap…um, when they’re not too plentiful. Anyway, here are fun games that give you real value for your pennies. WARNING, though: Pennies are choking hazards, so only play these games with kids of the proper age…  [photo via pixabay]

Pitching Pennies

It started out as a harmless children’s game but it became the stuff of many an arrest during the Depression Era when it became the focal point of some simple, yet illegal, street gambling.

The object of the game is to have each contestant stand an equal distance from a line or curb and pitch a penny at it. Whoever pitches the penny that lands closest to the curb without it falling over the side (or past the line) wins. Today, it can make for a fun party game with the help of a scorekeeper as opposed to placing bets. Draw a chalk line in the driveway or on the sidewalk and use it as the “curb.”

Penny Slide

This is a game that dates back to colonial times and can be played with a variety of coins. It has been argued that this game was the basis for Shuffleboard, but that is just a rumor.

The challenge of a penny here is in its size. Two players sit on opposite ends of a table. The player with the penny puts it down on the table and then covers it with the palm of his hand and slides it across the table. The idea is to slide the penny as close to the opposite edge of the table as possible without letting it fall off the edge. Each player gets one turn per round and the player who gets closest to the edge wins.

Penny Football

This one is a little more involved but has made the rounds among the junior high set as a fun way to pass the time during lunch periods (or uninteresting classes!). One player flicks a penny from one end of the table or desk to the other, trying to reach the very edge without the coin falling off. If it doesn’t work, the other player gets to take a shot from wherever the penny comes to rest.

If successful, the player gets a point. He or she can then go for the extra point by trying for a field goal. One player rests his index finger and pinky flat against the edge of the desk creating the goalposts. The other flicks the penny from the other end of the table trying to send the penny inside the goalposts.

A popular variation includes using folded paper as the “ball” and sending it through the air for a field goal, but most teachers would catch on to that one pretty quickly. In short, you have better luck with a penny.