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Learning about coins

Learn about the designs on British coins – can you recognise them with your eyes shut?

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You’ll need

  • Coins or pictures of coins
Printable coins (Learning about coins)
PDF – 1.6MB

Activity summary 

This activity gives everyone the chance to get familiar with British coins. Take some time to know your coins and talk through the designs, then get stuck into play the games to help everyone get familiar with them all. 

Before you begin

  • Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Additional help to carry out your risk assessment, including examples can be found here. Don’t forget to make sure all young people and adults involved in the activity know how to take part safely.
  • Make sure you’ll have enough adult helpers. You may need some parents and carers to help if you’re short on helpers.

Getting ready to run this activity

  • Read through the information on this page and on the ‘Printable coins’ sheet to learn about the images on our coins and what they represent. 
  • You’ll need either physical coins or images of coins, depending on how you’re running the activity.
  • If you’re using physical coins, you’ll need at least two of each coin (1p, 2p, 5p, 10p 50p, £1, and £2).
  • If you’re missing a coin or two, you could use the images in the ‘Printable coins’ sheet. 
  • If you don’t have access to physical coins, you can print the ‘Printable coins’ sheet and cut out the coins.    

Step 1: Know your coins

  1. The person leading the activity should show everyone the coins (or the images of coins) and describe the designs. Focus on the 1p to 50p first, then bring the £1 and £2 coins in later.
  2. Chat about what – or who – the designs represent.
  3. Everyone should talk about what they notice about the coins, such as their shape and colour. 
  4. People should take it in turns to put the coins in order of value. 


Step 2: Play the games

It’s up to you which games you play – or if you want to find another way to get the group familiar with the coins and their value. 

  1. Everyone should come up with a fun way to remember the order of the coins.
  2. They could sing, dance, tell a story, or do something with the pattern in the designs. 
  1. Someone should choose a coin. 
  2. Everyone else should take it in turns to ask them questions to find out which coin they’ve chosen. The questions should be ones the person can answer by saying ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
  3. Everyone should keep asking questions until they can guess which coin the person chose.


  1. Someone should choose a coin and describe it. Make it trickier by describing it without using certain words like ‘round’ or ‘silver’.
  2. Everyone should guess which coin they've chosen.
  1. Everyone should close their eyes and feel each coin. They should pay attention to the size, shape, and weight.
  2. Can they recognise which coin is which?  Why might it be important to be able to tell the difference between coins without looking at them?
  3. Everyone should keep their eyes closed as they race to put the coins in value order. 
  1. Everyone should close their eyes. 
  2. The person leading the game should mix up the coins. 
  3. The person leading the game should name a coin. 
  4. Everyone should keep their eyes closed as they race to find the coin and pick it up.


Information on coins

In 2008, Matthew Dent won a competition to design the reverse side of the coin, as the other side is always the current monarch.

His design meant the 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p and 50p coins show a part of the royal shield. If you put them together in the right way, they make a full picture of the shield. The whole royal shield was on the old £1 coin, which we don’t use anymore.

There're two different images of a lion on the shield.

A lion traditionally symbolises courage, nobility, royalty, strength, stateliness and valour. Throughout history lions have been seen as the ‘King of beasts’.

A ‘lion rampant’ is a lion seen from the side, standing up with its front paws raised. You can also see a lion rampant on the Royal banner of the Royal arms of Scotland.

A ‘lion passant’ is a lion walking, with its right front paw raised and all of its other paws on the ground. This is like the dragon on the Welsh flag.

1p: The bottom of the first quarter of the shield, which shows lions passant, and the top of the third quarter of the shield, which shows the harp of Ireland.

2p: Most of the second quarter of the shield, which shows the lion rampant of Scotland.

5p: The centre of the shield, showing a little bit of each quarter as they meet in the middle. 

10p: Most of the first quarter of the shield, which shows the three lions passant of England.

20p: The bottom of the second quarter of the shield, which shows the lion rampant of Scotland, and the top of the fourth quarter of the shield, which shows the lions passant of England.

50p: The bottom point of the shield. The bottom of the third quarter, which shows the harp of Ireland, and the bottom of the fourth quarter, which shows the lions passant of England.


This activity showed how and why the different parts of British coins are different. It also gave everyone a chance to learn how to recognise them quickly.What helped people to remember the coins? Why are they different? Did anyone have a way of remembering the value order? How did it feel when there was a time limit on finding the coin? How might this activity help everyone in the future? 


All activities must be safely managed. You must complete a thorough risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Always get approval for the activity, and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

You could add time limits to the games.

Some people might find number ordering challenging – it’s OK if it takes them a little longer to put the coins in value order.

You could start by showing them the correct order, then encourage them to do it themselves.

You could also help them to find something they recognise in the coin that can help them put it into the correct order. For example remembering the colours, the shape, or the design. 

All Scout activities should be inclusive and accessible.

You could introduce combining coins to make up a larger sum, or you could use banknotes as well as coins. 

Take a look at more money skills activities.

Give young people the chance to to organise themselves into teams, and find their own ways of remembering the value order of the coins.