DIY play money with a printer and used-up gift cards

Tracy's always got good ideas:

In our house we have one of those electronic toy cash registers. I have to say they come with the flimsiest paper money ever (in addition to the fact that I have a 2-yr old that likes to tear paper). I found with my particular brand that the little drawer is wide enough to accommodate a credit card. So, I printed my own money on the computer (also put family faces on the bills to make it more fun and personal) and taped the newly printed money on all those used-up plastic gift cards. I used book tape, as it was wide enough and strong enough to withstand my 2-yr old's chewing. They really enjoy the pictures and can also use them as pretend credit cards.

We also saved a few old gift cards that have character pictures on them (ie Princesses, Cars, etc) and just written a dollar amount on them. In the past, I've also printed my own Monopoly money. Now I'm looking for ideas for all those little plastic coins that seem to disappear!

Printing your own Monopoly money? LOVE IT. Replacement coin ideas: bottlecaps (metal from soda and beer bottles, or plastic from juice and milk cartons), buttons, or homemade coins stamped out of Sculpey? Wrapped in foil? Other ideas, Parenthackers?

Related: Introducing money management to preschoolers


  1. says

    You can make that flimsy money sturdier by covering it with clear contact paper. Just cut the contact paper to twice the size of the money, put the money on the sticky side and fold over the contact paper.

    This makes it durable and, if it happens to get wet (don’t ask me how) it’s still protected.

  2. shannon says

    Another idea for sturdier play money — use tyvek! (it’s often used for mailing envelopes; you can cut one up from old mail, or they’re often available for free from the post office)

  3. says

    Thanks so much for this great tip + for your PDF. My kids lose the money that came with the register all the time, and it didn’t come with much – my 2 DD’s have to share this. So they will love it that I can re-print some more. And they will make use of the register again, too.

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