Why are Parents Gluing Pennies to the Bottoms of their Kids’ Shoes?

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There’s always a new phase and trend when it comes to parenting, but the current trend of parents gluing pennies to the bottoms of their kids’ shoes seems a little nonsensical. 

In reality, it’s pretty brilliant. In an attempt to keep her kids entertained during all the extra time at home, one mom found some spare change and created a new phenomenon: do-it-yourself tap shoes!

This at-home version of the noise-making dance shoes is a resourceful alternative to spending money on tap shoes that your kids will soon outgrow.

The Benefits

Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of benefits to jumping on board the penny-shoe bandwagon. 

Get ‘Em Moving

Kids today are spending less time moving and grooving and more time sitting and staring. 

While we can embrace technology all we want, it’s a fact that getting up and moving around regularly throughout the day is a critical component of physical and mental health. 

It’s especially crucial for young kids, as physical activity builds muscle strength, encourages growth and development, and improves overall gross motor coordination. 

But it’s not always easy to entice your child to move. However, most kids love to make a little noise and will enjoy experimenting with sounds and movements. They might not even miss their devices!


Dance classes and supplies are expensive, and you really have no way of knowing if your little one is going to enjoy it. While socks or bare feet can easily work for little at-home ballerinas, tap dancers need a little more. 

With the value of the penny decreasing, this is a great way to put your spare change to use and get a little extra bang for your buck, or sound for your cent. 

It’s Fun

Let’s be real; parents have had to dig deep for new ideas when it comes to entertainment these days and necessity is the mother of invention! 

Penny tap shoes open up the door to hours of fun that is limited only by your child’s imagination and your tolerance for noise. 

Kids can throw on their tap shoes, find a favorite dress-up costume, and create new dance routines to perform for family “recitals.” Less particular children might just enjoy making a lot of noise, and that’s okay too! Send them outside or grab some earplugs and let them tap away!

If they’re really into the idea of dance and want to learn the basics, there are many video lessons available for free on YouTube geared toward beginner dancers. From shorter videos to thirty-minute lessons, there’s something for every level of learner!


So are there any secrets to turning a pair of your child’s shoes into DIY tap shoes? The short answer is no, it’s a pretty easy craft, but I put together some tips to help you on your way. 

The Right Shoes

This is up to you, but I suggest choosing a pair of shoes that your child doesn’t often wear, perhaps even one that is almost too small. 

Choose shoes that are going to stay firmly on their feet. Anything that can be kicked off with an overzealous tap becomes a potential hazard, so choose wisely! 

You will also want shoes that have a reasonably even tread on the bottom, but it doesn’t have to be smooth. You can glue over grooves without any issues. 

Pennies – How Many And Where?

First, you’ll need to gather your pennies. Depending on the size of the shoes, (smaller shoes will likely need fewer pennies), you will want anywhere from 10-20 pennies. 

Flip the shoes over and use a pen or pencil to mark your proposed placement spots. You will want 3-6 pennies on the toe and ball of each foot, and then 1-4 pennies on the heel area for maximum sound. 

Ideal Glue

In reality, these aren’t going to last forever, but your glue choice might dictate how often you have to make repairs to the shoes!

Superglue works well on both metal and leather and is the overall best choice. Hot glue comes in at second place because you’re more likely to have it on hand than the third option, which is contact cement. 

Before you glue, make sure to wipe the bottoms of the shoes with a wet cloth. This will help remove any of the excess dirt and ensure better adhesion of the pennies to the soles. 

What about the Floor?

If you’re concerned about the effect of penny-shoes on your floors, then join the rest of us. Noise isn’t the only thing you have to worry about!

The pennies work well on tile and stamped concrete inside the house, but steer clear of wood floors to prevent any scratching. If you’re like me and have a house with only wood floors, consider putting down a thin mat or rug on top of the floor. This will help protect your floors and dampen the sound (a plus for you, but a minus for the kids!

Of course, you can always just send your kids outside to tap to their heart’s content. They will get great sound on a deck, patio, or the driveway. 


If you’re not wild about turning a pair of shoes into tap machines permanently, you can use an alternative method for making your own tap shoes. 

Drill holes in bottle caps and loop with a string. Tie the string around the top of the shoe, and then another around the back for a make-shift tap shoe that is almost as noisy and removable!

Worth It?

So is it worth it to join the other parents who are willingly giving their children new ways to make noise? 

In my opinion, absolutely. Anything that gets kids up, moving, and having fun is worth it. But your ears may struggle with the solution, so it’s ok to have designated tap time at your house and then store the shoes away. On a high shelf. Hidden behind the extra pillows. Until you need them again.

Emily is a former language arts teacher, turned professional stylist and freelance writer. She and her husband are high school sweethearts, raising their three boys in the same neighborhood where they grew up. In her free time, Emily enjoys running, baking, and singing along to Broadway soundtracks.