Dice are a main feature of lots of “grownup” games, but guess what? They’re a big part of kindergarten, too, and they can be great for learning. In early grades, kids often use dice as they learn both to count and to read number words. The dots on each side of the die give a clear visual picture of what each number represents, and kids can easily see the “one to one correspondence” between abstract numbers and the concrete things they show. At the same time, kids also need to match numbers to words, so that if they see “one,” or “two,” they can instantly recognize what they’re seeing. Here’s a great activity to put it all together—and create a marvelous game piece for outdoor play while you’re at it.
What You Need:
- Clean, empty ½ gallon milk cartons
- Hobby knife, such as an X-Acto knife
- Round white stickers (available at office supply stores)
- Black permanent marker
- Craft glue
- Clear contact paper
- Construction paper
What You Do:
- First, use the knife to cut off the bottom of your milk carton to create a cube that is exactly as high as it is wide.
- Cut the slanted top off the remaining part of the milk carton, and cut a slit in one corner of the four-sided column that remains. Flatten the sides, and cut a long strip.
- Wrap the strip around the open top of your milk carton, and tape it securely on all exposed sides.
- Now measure and cut your construction paper into two strips that are three “squares” long and one square high.
- Glue the strips onto the cubes.
- Now, you have a blank die. Have your kindergartener help you write the word for each number along a corresponding side of the die, from “one” to “six.” Then have her paste on the corresponding number of stickers.
- Cover the whole cube with clear contact paper, and make sure you reinforce all seams. You will have an all-weather, all-fun die that you can use for all sorts of games, and all sorts of math and reading, too.
Julie Williams, M.A. Education, taught middle and high school History and English for seventeen years. Since then, she has volunteered in elementary classrooms while raising her two sons and earning a master's in school administration. She has also been a leader in her local PTA.