One of the teaching tools I really enjoyed using at preschool was a giant dice. Customized to fit the activity, a big dice can be useful to teach your little one not just counting and number sense, but can be used to encourage gross motor development, colour recognition, and even as a conversation starter for small groups of kids (think Circle Time or Sunday School).
Since I don’t have Circle Time at home, I wracked my brains trying to figure out how to use a giant dice at home to engage the little mister. Last year I found a great physical activity dice idea where I drew a different gross motor skill on each side of the dice. Ty and L love it. I used short word directives, but I also (poorly) drew a picture on each side so even Ty can tell what action he should do!
I usually make my dice out of recycled cracker boxes, and last week I happened to have another one. This time I made a more traditional dice, with dots representing one to six on each side, but in different colours. I can use it for counting games with Ty, for colour scavenger hunts (we roll the dice, look for things all around the house that are that colour, and see how many we can find), or whatever else I can think of at the moment. Since I really like making these (almost as much as I love knitting scarves!), I thought I’d share the instructions with you so you can make your own.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this is only appropriate for toddlers/preschoolers. The big kids in my house are constantly playing with the giant dice. I just had a thought – doesn’t a life-sized board game outside in the summer sound fun?
What you need:
- cracker box (I usually use a big Goldfish crackers one), or any box that can easily be made into a square. Or you could go buy a new tea kettle and keep that box, like I did on the weekend!)
- utility knife (if your box is not square)
- packing/duck tape
- paper to cover the box
- markers/crayons/bingo daubers or whatever you would like to decorate the outside
- (If you have a square box, skip to step 2.) Remove box flaps on top of box. Measure at each corner to a point that you will cut to to make new flaps (to make the box a cube). Draw a score line on each side from corner to corner to make folding easier; fold flaps down.
- Fill box loosely with crumpled newspaper to make the dice roll evenly. Secure flaps closed with tape.
- Cover box with paper (or paint). I also cover the edges of the box with tape, but that’s the perfectionist coming out in me. I don’t like the unfinished paper edges. You can skip that if you want.
- Decorate box. If you’re simply putting dots on, bingo daubers work well, although you need to let one side dry before you flip it over to do the other side. I learned the hard way.
- Have fun!