Sweet Pea is 30 months old.
From: I read about a grid game on Amy’s great blog Teach Mama, where she stated that she originally got the idea from this Explorations blog. I modified her idea because I happened to have a jumbo sized die that I thought would make a fun addition to the game. Later my husband was watching Sweet Pea struggle with counting the dots on the die and brilliantly suggested having her actually place a Post-It Note on each dot before then moving it over to her game board.
- 2 identical game boards (Teach Mama’s has sunny and rainy boards or use Explorations’s rabbit board).
- 1 die (preferably jumbo sized). Oriental Trading company sells jumbo dice or if you are crafty, you can make your own.
- A laminator or press and seal lamination pockets (optional).
- Enough Post-It Notes to cover up all of the pictures on both game boards. (I preferred Post-Its, but you could also use poker chips, pennies, or even scraps of paper.)
- Print 2 identical game boards or make your own.
- Laminate the game boards if desired.
- Gather up your materials and sit next to your tot.
- Tell him or her that you are going to practice rolling the die. Demonstrate rolling the die and emphasize that the die must be left in the position it lands while you count the dots on top. Review your house rules regarding dice rolling (i.e. Not overhand and aimed at the dog) and let your tot practice several times before starting the game.
- Next say, “We are going to take turns rolling the die to figure out how many pictures we get to cover up on our game boards. I am going to go first and then you will get your turn.”
- Roll the die and again remind your tot to leave it in the position where it landed. (You may have to be quick with these reminders.)
- Place one Post-It Note on each of the dots, counting as you go. (“One on this dot, Two… Three… Four. All the dots are covered so we have 4 dots!”)
- Take one Post-It Note off of the die and place it over one of the pictures on your grid. Continue removing Post-It Notes from the die and placing them on your game board one at a time. Count each Post-It Note out-loud as you move it from the die to the grid. (“We get to cover up one of my suns, now two… Three… Four. We got to cover up four of my suns!”)
- Next let your tot take his or her turn. Have your tot roll the die and help them stick the correct number of Post-It Notes to it, counting as you go. Then, help them move the Post-It Notes to their game board as you count with them.
- Continue taking turns until one of your game boards is entirely covered by Post-It Notes.
Observations: Sweet Pea was not quite numerically ready for this game, but she had lots of fun and has requested to play it several times since I first showed it to her.
She also loved peeling the Post-It Notes off of the pad, which I believe is excellent pincer grasp practice.
Notes from the Trenches: I gathered up my materials the night before I wanted to play and told Dad about the “Number Game” we were going to play the next day. When Sweet Pea saw the jumbo die and heard me talking about a game she went a little out of her mind. She begged me to “play number game now” incessently. You have been warned.
I wish that I had used a die with less than three dots on each side because Sweet Pea didn’t have the patience for the larger numbers. The numbers five and six are beyond her reasoning right now and even with Dad’s Post-It Note transfer idea, I felt like she was a little lost. I often found myself thinking, “Doh! Not another six!”
Speaking of rolling dice, I was totally unprepared for how complicated a task this would be for Sweet Pea. Apparently dice rolling is not an innate skill. Sweet Pea had a terrible time with the concept that we wanted information from the top face of the die. At first, as soon we rolled the die, Sweet Pea would run after it and immediately roll it again. She liked rolling the die a lot more than figuring out what number we had rolled.
Rating: 3 Stars * (Fun, Easy, Frugal if you make your own dice.)