we’re counting–hats, cats, and pumpkins
They love our scarecrows out front, our pumpkins around the house, and the little plastic spider that hangs from a shelf in the kitchen. They sing Wee Sing Halloween songs all day long.
So I put all the objects of their affection together in a really basic grid game today and passed some time in the morning before we visited Maddy at recess.
Grid games are seriously awesome. Short, sweet, and so easy to play with very little cleanup.
The concept is the same as our last grid games, but I modified things slightly:
- Hats, Cats, and Pumpkins Grid Game: Unlike our Sunny-Rainy Grid Games, this Halloween-ish one has pictures inside boxes. I wanted to keep the grids visable so that it would be easier for Cora to use.
The premise of this game is super-simple, but the early literacy skills it reinforces are really worthwhile. The goal is just to fill your board with small objects–that’s it. The way players do that is by counting their way through each row, depending on the number rolled on a die or the number flipped on a playing card.
Today, since I couldn’t find dice to save my life, I pulled out a deck of cards and used all of the 2′s, 3′s, 4′s, and 5′s. I only chose 2 each of 6, 7, and 8, and I chose only one 9 and 10. With the lower numbers, the game lasts longer, and players can more slowly walk through the left-to-right progression through the line and return sweep to the next line.
Owen and I later played with a Joker in the mix and said that he covered all–an instant win!–and that added a new level of fun to the game for him.
We used clear glass pieces–nothing fancy but very fun for little hands–just the ones sold at craft stores that are sometimes in vases or in the bottom of fish bowls. Anything will work, though–Cheerios, marshmallows, Foamies, beads, bingo chips.
For each number rolled or flipped, that number of objects gets covered, line by line, beginning with the top left and ending bottom right–just like reading words on a page.
And that was it. Owen loved it and wanted to play a dozen times, and Cora played for a while but really just wanted to play with the game pieces. She played a few games as my partner, and then she ran off to play with a handful of game pieces and her dolls.
Grid games, as I’ve said before, are a super tool for teaching one-to-one correspondence which emergent readers need to understand that every single number and letter is important and that a group of letters is makes one word. Grid games also work on emphasizing the movement of left to right on a page and the return sweep–reading one whole line from start to finish before moving to the line below.
Math-wise, grid games work on counting–whether it’s dots on a die or a number on a card–and then translating that number to a specific amount on a page, or the number of objects that are covered by a game piece.
Like most of our games, Owen and Cora had no idea they were learning as they played. I created this game knowing that Owen is a lover of any number game and that Cora is getting to the age where she can start to learn and understand concepts of print and number counting. We’ll play it again in the next few days, maybe this time with plastic spiders or candy corn as game pieces. Yum!