Thursday, September 27, 2007

Dominoes and Dice

My kids haven't quite gotten the hang of board games yet: They find them enticing, but the cherries from "Hi Ho Cherry-O" were quickly scattered throughout our apartment; the "Candyland" board got ripped in half.

The lesson, for me? Simplify.

So we've been playing little games with dominoes and dice. My kids are both growing more interested in counting and pattern recognition, and these are simple, fun ways to nurture these interests. Our games are non-competitive, because my kids remain happily ignorant of the concepts of "winning" and "losing." (They'll have far too many opportunities in life to learn these things.)

The domino game, for us, is a simple matching game; with dice, they roll and count out small objects, like mini poker chips. My daughter tends to modify the activities: She quickly decided that the dominoes were "butter," and got engrossed in building butter stacks; having recently attended the Little Red Lighthouse Festival, she stopped rolling the dice after a few minutes and started building little red lighthouses with the poker chips instead.

My son, on the other hand, is very intent on the ordering and counting and organizing. Both of them are increasing their facility with numbers and counting and patterns, in a low-key, low-budget, non-pressured way.


Kristi said...

I too have three-year old twins and after three days of preschool I just sent the school a letter letting them know my girls won't be coming back.

The time they spent there seemed pointless and after spending 30 minutes in the classroom -- to celebrate the Moon Festival -- I wanted to run from the room to escape the chaos.

So we're on our own journey of home school, unschool, don't-spend-two-and-a-half-hours-14-other-kids-school!

Wish me luck.

Anonymous said...

We were recently playing with dominoes in our classroom in a very similar fashion. Upon hearing of our match-and-count adventures a parent said, "You aren't doing much of anything in your class that I couldn't do at home." That's very true. It would take a commitment of time and resources that the parent is unwilling and/or unable to provide though, so my job is secure. Congratulations for enjoying the pre-k years in high fashion!

Leslie Kauffman said...

Bold move, Kristi -- I wish you not just much luck, but also great joy. (And continued sanity -- don't forget to give yourself breaks!)

Benny said...

this is a great idea. i must get my mum to find some dice and dominoes for me, Benny

Unknown said...

We play the penny game. Each player gets two dice (usually plain dice, but when I find my bag of mixed dice -- we bought a pound bag at a local game store -- any will do as long as the players have the same shapes). You roll two dice. You take a matching number of pennies. If you are feeling particularly complicated, you can buy bigger coins with pennies. We also have mixed coins from various nations, but we treat them as interchangeable for face value and remove everything with a value of 1 or 2, so it's just 5s, 10s, 20s, 25s, and 50s. My daughter buys them for aesthetic value, so she gets all the emus (which as I remember are PNG 10 kinas).

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