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How to Make Dice

Learn the ways dice can provide hours of fun and educational enrichment.

Children and parents can get creative with dice crafts. [©Jupiter Images, 2009]
©Jupiter Images, 2009
Children and parents can get creative with dice crafts.

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.

Draw and Assemble the Dice

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:

  • Use regular paper or construction paper for smaller sized dice. Use poster board to create a large die that will be easy to read and hard to lose.
  • Children can draw their own dice template or print one from the Internet. Cut Out and Keep has a printable template available with activity pictures already drawn. Children and parents can use this to make the dice or see step-by-step pictures of dice assembly. 
  • Draw four boxes of the same size in a vertical line on the paper. Draw another box on either side of the second box. This shape will resemble a lower-case "t." Use a ruler and pencil to make this as accurate as possible. Small children may need an adult's help.
  • Draw tabs on the outside edges of each box, with the tabs being the length of the box. These will aid in the final construction of the dice.
  • Write words or numbers or draw images on each side of the die for particular games or activities. For a traditional die, draw a dot on one box, two dots on the second box and so on.
  • Cut out the template and fold the template along each line. Practice putting the box together to understand how the finished product will look.
  • Apply a thin line of glue along each tab and press them on the backside of the adjoining box. Pinch each edge together and allow the die to dry. Repeat steps to make as many dice as desired.

Make Chores Fun

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.

Teach Colors with Dice

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.

Teach Counting with Dice

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?"

Learn Math Skills with Dice

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.

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