Learn the ways dice can provide hours of fun and educational enrichment.
Whether creating a pair of dice for a board game or one giant die to cast for activity choices, learning how to make dice for children can provide hours of fun and educational enrichment. Paper dice are easy to make and children can use them in different ways to learn new activities, make chores fun, and practice math concepts.
According to the National Education Association, a home that encourages learning is more critical to a child's academic success than the caregiver's educational level or cultural or economic background. Dice are portable and inexpensive, making them an ideal toy for many children. Creating dice at home allows children to flex their creative muscles and personalize their dice for a number of activities. To make dice:
Children and parents can get creative with this dice craft to make new games. To get children motivated to finish their chores, draw a picture or write the name of a chore on each side of the die. Consider labeling some sides of the die "Free," "Choice" or "Trade" to let children have a day off from chores, choose their own chores for the day or trade chores with a sibling. Children can roll the dice to see who needs to do which chore. Children can also use an activity die to decide which fun activity to reward themselves with after completing their chores.
Very young children can learn colors with a dice game called Crazy Faces. Paint a different color circle on four sides of the die. On one of the remaining sides, paint a white dot (for an eye) and on the final side, paint a pair of lips. ActivityVillage offers a template for creating corresponding game pieces from paper or felt for the children to use as they play. Children take turns rolling the die, hoping for a colored "face" first and followed by a mouth and two eyes. The first child to create an entire "face" wins.
Let children practice counting by playing Farmyard. Gather a set of plastic farm animals and a small piece of poster board to use as a game board. Create a die that has two sides each of the numbers 1, 2 and 3. Have children take turns rolling the die and selecting the appropriate number of farm animals to place in his or her "field," sketched onto the poster board. The first child to collect 10 animals wins. Ask children questions to encourage counting as they play, like "How many sheep does Jack have in his field?"
The Connected Mathematics Project at Michigan State University urges parents to foster a "can do" attitude about math with their children by providing support at home and encouraging a child's natural curiosity. One way to do this is by practicing math skills with dice. Write numbers on the sides of homemade dice. Children can roll the dice and add, subtract, multiply or divide the rolled numbers. As children get older, replace whole numerals with decimals or fractions.
Homemade dice offer a fun, creative way for children to learn. This portable and inexpensive craft can double as an educational tool that offers kids and caregivers hours of fun.