Game Token Gnomes

We are delighted to team up with the lovely people at SewMamaSew. The free tutorial for Gnome Game Tokens is posted here.

I love to share a little behind-the-scenes :)

The entire project inspired us! I used to make these games and tokens with my second grade students. We drew a game-board and sewed gnomes to travel through the game. I adore the creativity that children bring to game-making.

Even younger children love making gnomes. We decided to use paint this time around. It worked really well. We used regular watercolor paints. Ian chose the wee size gnomes. Of course he chose orange, orange, orange.

Anika is a unicorn-and-rainbow-girl these days, so her game featured a forest and garden where the unicorns could play. We drew the boards, then decided paint would be great, too. This project kept us busy for awhile :)

Our neighbor-friend came over and made a couple of gnomes, too. Here is the finished family! Our paint had a tinge of sparkle in the watercolor which gives them a shine. You could add a little glue and glitter after the paint dries for a similar effect.

We had to talk Ian into one red hat. He wanted orange, orange, orange, until we explained that we needed to tell the gnomes apart. 

The gnomes ended up traveling on a few trips with us. I didn't worry about losing them since the process was so fun and we can easily make more. Every once in awhile, a craft becomes a treasure and I don't want it to be lost at the park or on a far-flung adventure. These were perfect pocket-pals.

Afterwards, Anika decided that her game needed cards with specific instructions. Their games kept growing as they thought of new fun additions. We used dice from another game box. The finished activitiy was just as fun as creating the games. We are all inspired to create new ones :)

We hope that everyone enjoys the tutorial! Thanks again to SewMamaSew for the opportunity! What fun :)

Math Sculpture Game

In my class, we love playing games to learn. A big skill is learning addition so it isn't a chore- with 'automoticity' as we teachers like to say. We want addition to be easy like 1+1. Which means lots of practice. I created this game to encourage practice while having fun.

The Math Scultpure Game goes beyond the game where children roll to cover all of the numbers. This time, use a material that can build: pattern blocks, little flat stones, Legos, whatever can make a tower. For this game, keep adding an item to a number with every roll of the dice. See which tower grows the tallest!

What fascinated me with the game were a few fun effects. One, children kept building even after covering their numbers. They wanted to keep growing the sculptures. We called them towns and we called them glaciers and we called them coral reefs. You can make the building match whatever thematic idea you like. This was an unending game (which I loved). And very cooperative. 

Second, the children noticed a pattern. The buildings in the middle grew the tallest. 2 and 12 were usually the shortest. This led to early observations about probability and the many ways that you can make 5 with two dice vs. 12 (only 6+6). These mathematical and scientific deductions were fun to facilitate.

Finally, this was an engaging game for single or paired children. Originally, I had students take turns by passing the dice, rolling, and adding. Then they realized they could each roll a dice and add the results together. Turns every turn! Which is real invested learning- hurrah!

As a bonus, I created a board with 1-6 for my early learners who are still practicing number recognition. For this game, they used one dice and stacked to match the number of dots to the written number.  This game was more straighforward and gave excellent practice for a necessary skill.

The game boards are free to download for personal and classroom use. Enjoy!

Click to Download the Math Sculpture Gameboard PDF

Click to Download the Number Recognition Gameboard PDF 

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