Picture coming soon. I'm going to have to ask
you to warm up that imagination and put it to work :)
We began homeschooling 2/3 of the way into first grade. I was naturally in a
panic about "what to buy" and "how to teach". I was
fortunate to find an egroup, now yahoo group, called GamesForLearning. I had something of a light
bulb moment and realized how many ways we can learn. I created a math game based
on a Scooby Doo theme while I worried about "what to tell the county".
I had some Scooby and shiny star stickers in the house. I also had a few manila
file folders. This was before I began buying them in color. I made a path
working from the upper left corner to the upper right corner. The first space is
the Mystery Machine and the last is a sticker that just says SCOOBY-DOO! When I
make this game for other kids I now put a sticker of the gang getting run over
as Scooby reaches for a Scooby Snack as the end space.
You'll need playing cards. You can make a set or buy the cool Scooby set
available at Target for $3.99. These are large size cards and really make the
playing more enjoyable. I've seen smaller cards at Toys R Us for $2.99.
Ok, you've got a set of cards with the face cards removed. We often use the Ace
as the number 1. Now to create the game path. I love to use "special
spaces" along the path. About every 4 spaces I have a character sticker
[one of the gang or a villian]. You can use dot stickers if you don't have
stars. When you use small stars you tend to have more spaces. Decide how long
you want the game to last before you decide the spacing of the stickers.
Special stickers help a player advance or present an obstacle. The fourth space
on the board says "You've found a clue. Move ahead 1 space." Some
other examples are:
A sticker of Fred running has as its' caption "In a hurry!! Move ahead
A sticker of Velma says "Jinkies! The Creeper scared you. Stop here one
turn to catch your breath".
Now, on to the rules of play. The most important rule is to HAVE FUN so that may
mean "deviating" from my rules. As long as it fits your family its a
game worth playing. My favorite way to play is to have each player turn up 2
cards at each turn. They must create any, TRUE mathematical sentence using those
I really believe that we tend to drill 2 + 8 too much without giving the concept
a second thought. Allowing kids to create any true sentence, IMO, is far better
at encouraging their own thinking skills. I believe it takes the stress out of
math for the math phobic AND I feel it gives you insight of what your kids are
capable of. My son once told me that 10 divided by 2 = 5. He was 6 years old.
This provided insight I may not have otherwise had.
When you play the game this way it is TRULY a family game. My daugther wasn't
2.5 when she began to join us. She'd flip two cards, let's say 2 and 6 for
example. I'd ask her "would you rather have 2 cookies or 6 cookies? Which
number is bigger?". She never got a question wrong. I recommend that mom
and dad model multiplication and division problems.
This game board is a generic board. It isn't limited to math. Our game uses pink
and blue stars. Creating a path of alternating colors is smart game making. It
allows you to declare pink stars as math problems and blue stars as spelling
questions. The possiblities are endless.
There is another way to get the maximum benefit out of a child's interest in
Scooby or horses or Blues Clues. Designate one color space to be a question
space and the other color to be an info space. The question space will provide
opportunities for review. The info space is a perfect way to introduce new
material. When any player lands on an info space s/he draws from a special deck
of cards and reads the fact on the card. This is a non-threatening way to
introduce more challenging material while building on what the child already
knows. For example, if the questions are about snakes a question card could say
"Some snakes are venemous", True or False? An info card could provide
details that you do not expect your child to have memorized or material you do
not expect them to have grasped.
When you play using the question/info format all members of the family can play.
Each player can have a set of cards especially made for them. All players will
benefit from hearing the fact cards. This is a very easy way to supplement a
unit study while allowing for each child to work at their own level of ability.
Color coding the index cards by player is handy. If the cards get mixed up they
can easily be sorted.