It’s getting real folks! And the more real it gets, the more concerned I get about our littlest learners keeping things fun and developmentally appropriate while working on those essential skills. The idea of them sitting in front of a device for several hours or worksheets has me worried. So I have decided I will be posting some games and ideas that you can share with parents who are at home with their little ones over the next couple of weeks (Michigan is in a Stay Home-Stay Safe, shelter at home, situation for three more weeks). These are materials that parents might find in their own home or materials that can be adapted or traded for other items or tools.
Some of these games are things that I share when I present to teachers at professional development and teacher conferences across the country. Some are ideas that were developed from materials I gather and hand out during teacher workshops. Still, other games and activities come from my boys or my students or some from my own kindergarten teacher’s mind. Hopefully, they will be ideas that you can share with parents and students stuck at home but still needing engaging ‘work.’
The Game: Let’s Have Takeout
This is a simple game where students use their imagination to move ‘food’ to their dishes. It’s super simple. Players spin a spinner and move that many pieces of food, or in this case pompoms, to their takeout container. They take turns spinning the spinner and adding food until all the food is gone. When that happens, they count to see how many pieces they have. The player with the greatest amount of food is the winner.
Depending on which ‘spinner’ you use, this activity can actually cover a bunch of different skills, from simple counting and number recognition to adding and subtracting or working with ten frames. Using different spinners or multiple dice is what will help you differentiate this activity.
Materials You’ll Need
The beauty of this very simple game is that you don’t have to have the exact items that I have. There are so many items you can trade out and that will work just as well because, let’s face it, kindergarteners are great pretenders. (Pretend this cotton ball is a rice ball. Pretend this red pompom is a cherry. Pretend this piece of yarn is a noodle. You get the idea). So below you’ll find the materials I used plus some ideas for other items you could use instead in parenthesis.
- 1 Takeout Carton For Each Player (small dish, cup, saucer, paper plate or small bag)
- Several pompoms (Cotton balls, pieces of yarn, ribbon, rubber bands, erasers, anything small and plentiful)
- 1 Set of disposable chopsticks (tongs, tweezer, cheater chopsticks, clothespin)
- 1 Chopstick helper (You can get these sometimes at Chinese Restaurants or I order them on Amazon here.)
- Spinner cards – available below (You can use dice if you rather or even 2-10 numbered playing cards. If you have a board game that uses a spinner, you can also ‘borrow’ it for this game.)
- Plastic spinner (I use transparent spinners in class but parents can definitely use a paperclip and a pencil if they’re in a bind.)
Remember you don’t have to use the same items that I have here . . .
- You could use small paper cups instead of to-go boxes
- Or tongs, tweezers or clothespins instead of chopsticks
- Instead of spinner cards with a plastic spinner, use a paperclip and pencil
- Or even use dice or playing cards instead of the spinners.
- And remember if you do use the spinners, select the cards that allow your students to be successful by differentiating them to meet their readiness level.
If you’d like a little how-to card to go with this activity or are itching to get your hands on the spinners. You’ll find them as a free item in my store HERE. Just go in and set up an account and put it in your cart and check out. It will end up in your ‘account,’ and you can go in and download it from there.
I sure hope this helps you get some fun educational games in the hands of your students. See, it’s not difficult and you really can use whatever you have at home.