It’s that time to teach your little ones about money! The earlier that children learn about money, the easier they’ll adjust to handling it in their future. A fun way to teach them the basic concepts of money is with a toy cash register. These registers are available from various companies and help kids to learn about the American monetary system, bolster their math skills and engage in pretend play. To help guide you, we have selected the top-rated products that parents are raving about to help make your selection easier.
When teaching your child about the concepts of money, your child will learn about cash and payment with cards, basic counting, adding and subtracting, making change, sorting and organizing. These are all wonderful fine-motor skills and take plenty of practice for young children to develop. Even some grade-school kids today don’t know the names or denominations of American money, but it’s never too early to introduce these concepts to your child to give them the best possible start in this particular subject.
These cash registers have various abilities, features, and accessories that come with them. This is why we also took great care and time in highlighting the best and the worst points of each of these toys, plus what they can offer your child when it comes to learning. Whether it’s paper bills, plastic coins, credit cards, these little registers have it all. Most of the registers on our list are age-appropriate for 3 year olds or older as some accessories, like plastic coins, could be a choking hazard. Each product makes sounds, and all have functional parts such as scanners, microphones, and conveyor belts which all help make learning more fun.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Fisher-Price Cash Register
- No Batteries Required
- Best Choice Cash Register
- Realistic Actions & Sounds
- Learning Resources Cash Register
- 73 Pieces + Calculator
The whirlwind experience of the developing child
Children grow up and develop so quickly through the toddler and “little kid” years, it can make a parent’s head spin. They learn new skills regularly, learning how to think and communicate with their family, then suddenly they have friends and, whoosh!, they are in school. It can seem like quite a whirlwind trip.
As much as many parents would like their babies to stay little, that could grow old after awhile. So, babies do grow up. And in their youngest years and throughout childhood, they develop and improve in four key areas of growth: social and emotional, communication, thinking and problem-solving, and physical strength and movement.
As kids progress through growth in each of these areas, they mature emotionally, moving from being maybe very friendly to having tantrums to becoming more reasonable as they learn how to solve problems on their own and become more independent. And, as parents, you do want your child to become independent of you eventually. If they don’t, they won’t be able to be functional when they reach adulthood.
Physically, little ones start out just lying in one spot. But that changes as their muscles firm up and become stronger. They start crawling, then walking and getting into everything as they learn not only by moving through their world but by tasting and touching. They handle everything and put everything in their mouths.
Language and communication in children improve as their relationships become stronger. They feel safe with parents, then safe with family, then safe with friends. Fears can be alleviated as kids grow and learn and become more self-confident.
Criteria Used to Evaluate the Best Cash Registers for Kids
Any child that wants to learn about American money would enjoy these cash registers and money sets because they are highly functional and well-designed. However, the intended age for use starts at 3 years old because kids this young can perform the skills necessary to enjoy the toys.
After the age of 7 or 8 years old, kids will probably have their own money from chores or allowances, so they will have real money to count, sort, and organize. The earlier parents introduce toy cash and registers to a child, the quicker they will progress with the abilities to spend and save their money wisely.
Of the many skills that are exercised and developed with play money and cash registers, these are the most important: counting, subtracting, adding, sorting, pattern recognition, and organizing, just from the coins and bills alone. With the cash register and equipment, they will build their gross- and fine-motor skills by operating the various parts, role-playing talents, and imaginative abilities.
These toys seem simple and child-like, but they have so much to offer kids because of the thought and ingenuity that the manufacturers built into them. Not only are they beneficial, but they are also fun and interactive. Learning should be very enjoyable, especially at the toddler stage of life.
Gender- or Handedness-Specific
There is no preference for toy cash registers for boys or girls because all kids need to learn the necessary financial skills to be a functional part of our society. Children who cannot handle coins and bills will soon get lost in the way our monetary system functions. All children must gain some hands-on knowledge of the bill denominations, their names, and how they are interchanged to purchase items.
Being left-handed or right-handed should not pose a problem either way in operating or enjoying the cash registers and money set drawers. The placement of the scanner, microphone, or conveyor belt may be on a side that would be a bit uncomfortable for some children, but overall it should not be a big concern.
Each toy, no matter how different, comes with some accessories. They all have some form of cash or credit cards, but some of them include grocery items or restaurant products to ring up on the register. The extra items are noted in the name of the product and our summary section for each. Not all of the toys come with items to use for grocery products, such as the Little Tikes Count ‘n Play, which only comes with colorful coins.
The money sets do not come with any accessories either, as they are to be used mainly for counting, adding, and subtracting and recognizing the various denominations of the bills and coins. No matter the age of the child you are buying for, there is a cash register or money drawer perfect for their age and intelligence.
What Determined the Top 10 Kids Cash Registers on Our List
While we thought of including super-realistic cash registers in our selection, we remembered that pretend play sets should leave something to the imagination. By creating a gap between what is a toy and what the real object is, we are able to encourage children to use their minds in filling the gap through their sense of imagination. As such, we chose products that provide some form motivation for kids to use their cognitive abilities in conjuring images of a real money management machine.
Additionally, since our goal is to provide the correct tools for children to enjoy their pretend-play activities, we had to make sure that the recommended age of these toys are appropriate. Simply put, the toy cash register must be developmentally appropriate to the kid’s age. This is crucial as getting a toy that is simpler than the child’s developmental age can create boredom while something that is more advanced than the developmental level of the child can bring about frustrations. Striking a balance was thus, very important.
The overall construction of the toy was also evaluated. This included the safety and quality of the materials used. Harmful chemicals had to be ascertained to be absent from the manufacturing process as the presence of these substances can significantly undermine any developmental gains achieved by children so far. The integrity of the different components was also ascertained especially if the toy is geared for younger users.
Tips to Help Kids Understand Basic Money Management
You don’t need to wait until your kids reach high school before you even start considering teaching kids about money. As early as one year of age, you can already start integrating simpler concepts in money management in their playtime activities. There are plenty of money lessons to teach kids even before they reach the age of 10. Here are some tips to help your child understand the basics of money management.
- Make saving money a very fun activity. Use colorful character jars to place a part of our kid’s weekly allowance. Be as creative as you can be in the choice of a piggy bank to help entice your kid to save.
- Help your kid to set a goal that he or she wants to achieve. Then help him or her devise a budget plan on how much he or she needs to save every day to achieve the goal within the set time frame. Make sure the goal is workable and is something that your kid really wants.
- Contribute to your kid’s savings. Children will be more enticed to save if they know that you’ll match everything they save. For instance, if they were able to save $10 in a week, then you also need to add $10 to their piggy bank. You can look at it as a form of incentive for kids to really save.
- Be a good role model. If you’re teaching your kid to save or to have a goal, then you yourself must also be able to exhibit such attributes. Children learn best when they see a congruence between what we are saying and what we are doing.
The Bottom Line
These may only look like ordinary props in role-play activities but the 10 best kids cash registers are excellent tools for helping kids develop an understanding of simple money-management principles. It’s also great for enhancing children’s number and problem-solving skills
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do any of the cash register make sounds when they are being used? What are the sounds and what activates them, if so?
A: All of the cash registers make some sound. Usually, it is the cha-ching of the drawer opening or the beeping of the buttons when pushed. The scanners make sounds as well as light up when operating. Pressing buttons on the cash register triggers the sounds and lights. Conveyor belts are operated by the cash register functions or by hand with a handle to move the belt.
Q: Are these toys more for girls or boys? Are any in particular for one gender or the other?
A: Boys and girls alike love these cash registers and money sets. There is no gender preference when it comes to money-–everybody loves it! All of the products highlighted on this page are for either sex. The only ones that may be viewed as primarily for girls are the pink electronic cash register and the pink Learning Resources Pretend & Play Register. Just because they are pink does not mean they are exclusively for girls. The manufacturer makes no such statement regarding gender preference, so the pink cash registers, like all of the others, are for any child that would like to have one.
Q: How old does a child have to be to play with these cash registers? Are there some for very young kids, such as 3 years old?
A: Most of the products are for ages 3 and older, but the Little Tikes Count n’ Play Cash Register can be used as early as 2 years old. This determination is strictly up to the parents because every child develops differently than all others. Two year olds may be ready for the other cash registers as well, but this is left for the parent to decide. It certainly would not hurt to introduce the concepts and toys early just to get the child used to seeing money and feeling it. Most of the registers have enticing sounds, tunes, and lights that would engage a child in playing with it.
Q: Are there any options or choices with these toys, such as color selection or size? Are the dollar bills and coins the same size for all of the products? Would the extra money items fit in these cash registers?
A: The Learning Resources Pretend & Play Register is available in red or pink, but that is the only one that has a color choice. There is no option for size for any of the registers. The coins and bills will vary with each toy because of the manufacturers. They even vary in materials used, as some are plastic replicas of coins and others are more realistic. The two money sets in the list can be used with the registers, but the dimensions of the money and the register compartments were not given in the product information. It would be hard to say into which registers the bills and coins would fit the best.
Q: Do all of the cash registers come with money that fits in the drawers? Do any of them come with extras, such as toy items to ring up for a sale? Is the money in dollars, euros, or pounds?
A: Yes, all of the registers come with either just coins, as the Little Tikes Count ‘n Play does, or they have both bills and coins in their drawers. Almost all of them come with food or grocery items to ring up on the cash register. A few come with a shopping basket for the grocery items, and one has pots and pans for a restaurant. All of the money included with the registers is in American dollars and coins. The Little Tikes coins are just numbered and not replicas of real money.
Q: Do any of the cash register talk or speak to tell the child what buttons they are pressing on the registers, or what they should be pressing to do it correctly?
A: The LeapFrog Count Along Register talks and sings to kids when the buttons are pressed. The other toys make sounds and light up when the buttons are pushed, but they do not speak.
Q: What do these toys run on for power – batteries, electricity, or other?
A: All of the cash registers run on battery power, except the few that are specified as solar-powered. Only two types were solar-powered in this list. Most of the toys have batteries included, but sometimes they are only to show the operation of the toy. Fresh batteries are required for full functionality during play. None of the toys plug into electricity for safety, storage, and travel reasons.
Q: A few of these items have microphones. Do they really work or are they just a toy for show?
A: If a register has a microphone, they are fully functional. Kids can speak loudly with the microphone to announce store specials in pretend play.