If your little students are like mine, you’ll know how much they enjoy games that involve moving around and throwing things, and this giant pocket dice fits the bill! From a teaching perspective, we want our kids to be engaged and motivated so that they develop a positive association with learning and (in my case) learning English.
Having a good variety of attractive, age-appropriate teaching props (or “manipulatives”, as childhood educators like to call them) adds that critical layer of interest, stimulation and fun that is so important to learning in early years.
I have been playing dice games with my little ones for a long time, and have amassed a collection of squishy foam dice, and massive inflatable dice that my kids LOVE (note: if you ever get one of those really big inflatable dice, make sure you have pump to inflate it! Blowing it up by mouth takes forEVER!). But I really wanted a dice whose sides I could change depending on the theme I was teaching or the game I wanted to play. And I wanted the dice to be BIG!
I had seen a lot of preschool teachers using the Carson Dellosa Roll & Learn Pocket Cubes, but I couldn’t find the product for sale easily in Europe. I also wanted a larger cube than the Carson so I could put my flashcards in the pockets. However, I didn’t want to spend too much money and the only other similar products I could find were rather expensive.
So I set about inventing my own DIY giant pocket dice! Mine uses transparent CD covers as the pockets, so you don’t have to mess around trying to cut sheets of plastic into perfect squares. The dice base is made out of sturdy card, coloured duct tape and electrical tape.
In fact, the easiest way to make the base would be to buy a styrofoam, foam or sponge cube and glue squares of coloured craft foam to each side. If you can find a foam cube whose sides measure about 14 cm square (no smaller) I would recommend using that, as you’ll save a lot of time cutting out and gluing the sides of the dice together. However, I couldn’t find any that were the correct size where I live, so I had to improvise with materials I had to hand or could easily buy in my local shops.
Another thing to mention is that I’ve included some calculations and instructions here to help you make the cube as perfect as possible (for those of you who are perfectionists like myself!). However, if you’re not bothered about making an absolutely perfect cube just cut all the six sides of the dice the same size and glue them together!
There are loads of fun games you can play with pocket dice! You can use your own pictures, photos or flashcards – we have a big selection of flashcards you can download here at Tea Time Monkeys!
A word of note: if the cards are smaller than the width of the dice pocket (like our pocket flashcards are), they may start to slip out when you roll the dice. If that happens, just secure them with a little bit of blu-tac and you’re good to go!
- Sturdy card from an old cardboard box
- 6 clear plastic CD pouches (make sure the plastic isn’t too thin)
- Coloured duct tape
- Coloured electrical tape
- Contact adhesive or a hot glue gun (I prefer contact adhesive as it’s less messy than a hot glue gun)
- Double sided sticky tape
- Craft knife
- Optional: Circular craft punch
How to make the DIY Giant Pocket Dice:
Measurements for a perfect cube:
To make a “perfect” cube out of cardboard, you need to take into account the thickness of the cardboard.
First, measure the thickness of your cardboard. I will refer to the thickness as “t”
Then enter that thickness into the following calculations:
Square A: Measures 14 cm by 14 cm
Square B: Measures 14 cm by 14 cm minus (2 x t)
Square C: Measures 14 cm minus (2 x t) by 14 cm minus (2 x t)
CUT TWO SQUARES FOR EACH
Here is an example if you are using cardboard that is 5 mm thick:
Square A: Measures 14 cm by 14 cm
Square B: Measures 14 cm by 13 cm (14 cm minus 1 cm)
Square C: Measures 13 cm by 13 cm
Make sure you label your squares so you know which is which. I also drew a coloured line along each of the shorter sides of Square B, to not get confused.
Measurements for an imperfect cube:
Cut six squares that measure 14 cm x 14 cm from cardboard.
Constructing the pocket dice:
- Cut out your six squares from sturdy card and label them if necessary.
2. Take one Square B. Place some glue along both of the shorter edges as shown in the photo.
3. Glue a Square C to one side and the other Square C to the other side. Allow to dry standing up, so you can make sure the corners are at 90 degrees.
4. Take the other Square B and glue it to the edges of both Square C’s, as shown in the photo.
5. Take a Square A. Put glue all four sides as shown. Stick it to the top of the cube. Then turn the cube over and glue on the other Square A to close the cube.
6. Cover the sides of the cube with coloured duct tape.
7. Use thinner coloured electrical tape to finish off the edges.
8. I used a circular craft punch to cut out a half circle on one edge of the CD pouches. This is to make removing the flashcards a bit easier once everything’s stuck down.
9. Place some strips of double sided sticky tape to the backs of the CD pouches and stick them to the sides of the dice.
10. Your DIY Giant Pocket Dice is finished and ready for fun games with your kiddos!
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