Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tip Tuesday #3- Felt Board Games

In a previous post I had briefly mentioned felt board games.

"Oooh, flannelgraph."
-Larry the Cucumber- Veggietales- King George and the Duckie

Can you tell, I love games? I really do when it comes to using them for educational purposes. I grew up as an only child, though I do have two half-brothers who grew up two thousand miles away with their mom. I did have cousins though. Lots of wonderful cousins. My aunt and uncle had six kids and I was at their house a lot. One of the things we did was play games. These games almost always ended up in pants-wetting glorious uncontrollable laughing. Of course if I got tired of my cousins, I could always go home (eight blocks away) and do what Jan Brady always wished she could and enjoy being an only child. I digress, the point of today's offering is to tell you about the wonderful properties of flannel board games.

The Heart Game

Ten pretty hearts in a card shop
All covered with ribbons and lace on to
Along comes Sally(or whatever your childrens' names are)
With a dollar to pay.
Sally picks (red) and (flies) away.

I have used this game with two year olds all the way up to junior high kids with just a little variation here and there and like the previously posted about "tic tac toe spelling", the general idea is adaptable to almost anything you can think of.
First off, you of course need a flannel board. I made this one with remnant flannel purchased at WalMart, a piece of large cardboard from some box, and the ever reliable duct tape. You simply wrap the flannel around the board and fasten on the back with tape. The only trick is getting the flannel good and tight. I have also done this with a new pizza box(request an unused one next time you go out for pizza) or even a shoe box with a lid. The nice thing about using a flannel board with a lid is you have automatic storage for all the felt pieces and games.
In this game you will need 10 different colored pieces of felt. All you have to do is cut out a heart stencil and then use that as a guide to cut out all the other felt hearts. I went so far as to decorate mine with puffy paint lace edges, but you really don't have to.
What I then did was to write the color name on each heart front in black sharpie. On the back I used put on a piece of masking tape and wrote a silly action for the kids to do, like "fly like an airplane" or "wiggle". For kids with sensory issues who are in OT, this may be a perfect way to introduce certain exercises your therapist has suggested. Speech sounds could be worked on this way too. I also assigned each heart a point value too. I would put that on with tape too so you can change it periodically. Kids will learn really fast which has are worth what points. With the extra green felt make little felt dollars for the kids to purchase the heart cards with.

Kids will be learning colors and color words as well the idea that money buys things.
They will also be learning about counting and partners for ten if at the top of each round you count out the remaining hearts and how many have been taken.
I have used this game after a story to check comprehension. Every time they answer a question correctly they get to buy a heart. Kids often want to keep the hearts, so if you are doing this with a group of kids not your own, you may want to use paper hearts(like valentine doilies) or let kids trade in hearts at the end of the game for a small prize.
For older kids the points are the key. Forget the rhyme. Every time a question is answered right they get the amount of points on the back of the heart. Of course some of those hearts could be worth negative points. This has been fun to do with teams in a larger class. The winning team then get the prize. Again you can work on higher math concepts here by making each heart worth more than one(skip counting and multiplication) or part of one(fractions).
You also don't have to use hearts. I have done this in all sorts of shapes that correspond to whatever we're learning about. I have used arks, fish, birds,or whatever else could be pulled out of the lesson. Since we are in Ancient Egypt right now, maybe my next incarnation will be pyramids.

1 comment:

funfelt said...

Oh we love felt board games too! Here are some to look at http://www.funfelt.com Click on the felt Toggle Books under activity books. They are like file folder games but made from felt!