If you are looking for a fun way to sneak in basic number identification, counting skills and/or math facts, try using something you probably have sitting in a cupboard inside of a board game box – dice. I like to use dice because it keeps things random, requires no set up, helps build motor skills and planning and can easily be paired up with manipulatives (any item that helps represent what is being counted) to provide reinforcement. If you want to mix things up a bit beyond the basic white cube with black dots, they make lots of different kinds of dice. (Note: The dice shown in this post are from my local teacher store, Teacher Heaven and a favorite toy store of ours, Brilliant Sky Toys.)
There are dice made from foam that work great for gross motor station activities
Example station activities:
- Roll the die. Jump up and down on the mini-trampoline x times.
- Roll the die. Pass the ball back and forth x number of times.
- Roll the die. Do x jumping jacks/forward rolls/donkey kicks.
There are basic dotted dice that go up to 6 that can also be found in fun colors. I like to pair these with colored puffs to reinforce what addition facts actually represent. These work great for basic math fact practice – addition, subtraction and multiplication.
Example station activities:
- Roll two dice and add them together.
- Roll two dice and subtract the smaller number from the larger one.
- Roll two dice and multiply the numbers.
Dice that have numbers on them can be used for number identification and/0r can be paired with the gross motor activities mentioned above. They can also be used for math facts (addition, subtraction and multiplication).
More complex dice can also be found with 8 sides…
all the way up to 20 sides. These are perfect for when your child is ready for more of a challenge with number identification or if you are working on double-digit addition, subtraction and multiplication. The addition and subtraction equations can be done with manipulatives or if you are working with them so they know how to do it on paper, these help to keep things a bit more interesting.
One thing that I found very interesting when I first incorporated dice into My Obstacle Course stations was that the actual rolling was a skill that we had to work on. Andrew tended to pick up the dice and just drop them until I showed him how to make a cup with his hands, shake it back and forth so the dice would wiggle and turn and then releasing the dice without throwing them across the room. We did use a plastic cup with his hand over the top and also found a cardboard box lid which was helpful to catch the dice.
Here are some previous posts on My Obstacle Course station activities that use dice:
Engage, Encourage and Empower!