Make and Play a Loteria Board Game
In Mexico, children and adults enjoy playing loteria, a game similar to bingo. Not only can your family learn how to play it, everyone can pitch in and to help make it! Older kids can help adults draw the game boards and cards and younger kids can get in on the fun when it’s time to play. This game of chance will build your child's vocabulary and teach her a little bit about Mexican culture.
What You Need:
- 8 blank sheets of paper (or more, if there are more players)
- 54 index cards
- Pencils and markers
- Craft foam or recycled sheets of cardboard or wood
What You Do:
- Here is how you play the game: Loteria is different from bingo in that it uses a deck of 54 cards with pictures on them instead of balls with numbers printed on them. Every player has at least one board, each board containing 16 images from the deck of cards. The caller randomly selects a card from the deck and either announces it to the players or provides a clue or riddle as to what it is. Players who have the matching pictogram on their board cover it with a marker of some sort, such as a bean. The first person to get four in a horizontal, vertical or diagonal row or all four corners wins the game.
- To make the boards, lay out a 4 x 4 grid on each sheet of paper.
- You can find a list of the 54 original loteria images along with commonly used riddles on-line. Have your older children draw 16 different pictures per grid, making sure to mix up and keep things random. Keep the drawings simple so that younger children can easily identify what the images are. Label them clearly in English. Or, if your child is learning Spanish, you can write the words in Spanish.
- Next, have your children make the deck of cards using 54 index cards. Be sure that each card has an image and a corresponding riddle or clue on it, so that there are 54 different images total—one for each index card.
- Now it’s time to round up the whole family and play! Give each player one or two boards and a cupful of beans.
- Ask the caller to mix in some fun, fact-filled clues along with his calls. For example, instead of saying the word “fish,” the caller could give a hint such as: “These cold-blooded animals live in the water and breathe oxygen through their gills.” Keep it simple enough so that the youngest player knows the answers.
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