Imaginative, Free-Form Board Games

I just came across a fabulous idea for child-made board games that I just have to share with you!

It comes from Sally at Fairy Dust Teaching

All it involves is giving the kids access to some small objects such as buttons, glass blobs, river rocks, red/yellow counters, Froot Loops etc.

Glass Blobs

River Rocks

Once the board is set up, the kids use dice and game pieces to move from start to finish.

Here's what's so brilliant about this idea!  

It encourages imaginative play with lots of choice AND it can be used to practice almost any skill and concept. 

The most obvious ones are to practice counting with one-to-one correspondence and subitizing (to know at a glance how many dots are on the dice).

Here are some more ideas I came up with:

1) Roll several dice or roll 10 dice.

2) Count backwards, e.g., if you roll "12" then start moving forwards while counting back from 12.

3) Create a pattern with the pathway, e.g., this could easily be accomplished using the red/yellow counters, pattern tiles, distinctly coloured glass blobs, pom poms, pretty much anything.

4) Roll dice to add or subtract (your move corresponds to the sum or difference)

5) Turn over letter cards to practice beginning sounds (then roll dice and move)

6) Turn over simple word/picture cards and say a rhyming word (then roll dice and move)

7) Challenge the children to make their pathway x number of craft sticks long, then step back to see how they accomplish that. Do they make a long straight line? Do they make a pathway of segments going in different directions?

8) Lay out the pathways in groups of 2, 5 or 10 to practice skip-counting.

9) After the game is played estimate how many objects were used to create the pathway (count and check). Go around the room and estimate how many objects your classmates uses (count and check).

10) Turn over sight word cards. Read correctly, roll and move.

See what I mean?  The possibilities are endless!

Thanks, Sally. I LOVE this idea!


On another note, guess who I met yesterday?  Give up?

We met at Starbucks and had the best time! I've been following Sandi for over a year now, and this beautiful woman is just as smart, fun and gracious as I imagined she'd be.

We might be meeting up again next week with another blogger. If we do, I'll be sure to snap a picture:)

Happy blogging!

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  1. Lots of great ideas! And so simple! Kids love touching and working with simple, colorful materials like rocks and glass blobs. Thanks!
    Conversations in Literacy

    1. You're welcome. Sally has a ton of great ideas.

  2. I loved the idea when I saw it on Sally's blog and your twists make it even more fun. I already went into school and collected a bunch of little wooden shapes that we had with the idea that the kids might use mainly circles but add a heart that means skip a turn or a star that means roll again (or whatever!) The possibilities really are endless.
    Mrs. Goff's Pre-K Tales
    PS - I hope the blogger you are going to meet is me because I would LOVE to meet you. I am so excited about going to BC.

  3. That is such a great idea, thanks for sharing.


  4. Super, practical ideas! Id love to teach alongside you! I am thankful for discovering this world of blogging because it is like teaching alongside each other. The door has opened - inspired. Have a great day!

    Julie :-)
    Mrs Stowe's Kinder Cottage

  5. By the way Barbara...we had a 10km run in sydney last weekend. I usually would take no notice but this time thought of you and your running friends! (note I did not think of myself participating - lol)
    Julie :-)

  6. What a great idea! It would give the kids so much ownership in their learning. Think how much pride they would feel knowing they created the board. I love that it really lets their creativity flow in a non threatening way. Thanks for sharing, Barb!
    How fun to meet a fellow blogger! One of these days I hope to meet some of my blogging buddies!
    I'm Not Your Grandpa, I'm Your Teacher

  7. I LOVE the games kids come up with to play! (I also am a fan of Fairy Dust Teaching) I love meeting bloggers in real-life. You are only like 6/7 hours away....

    Chickadee Jubilee

  8. I love this idea. I'm starting to get the itch...and I don't think it's mosquitoes! What a wonderful opportunity for you and Sandy. I can't wait to see pictures!
    Owl Things First

  9. I love this game! It makes my heart sing to think of my besties meeting up. I wish I could have been there...some day for sure.


  10. I love open ended games. Thanks for sharing. It was fabulous to meet up with you - I owe you way more than one ice tea lemonade!



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