If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll know how much importance I place on using games and fun, engaging activities when teaching little ones. Over the years I’ve accumulated a wide variety of appealing, age-appropriate props that have become essentials in my classroom. The most recent addition has been a giant pocket dice that I can use with my own flashcards, which has really opened up the possibilities for all sorts of fun new games I can play with my students! If you want to make one too you can see my tutorial here.
In this post I want to share some really simple, fun ideas for pocket dice games you can play with your young students. You can, of course, use it as you would a normal dice – the fact that it’s a giant dice means your kids will already be way more excited about using it! But it can also be a fantastic TPR (Total Physical Response) tool that you can use for warm-ups, circle time activities and incorporate into other flashcard games. While you can certainly play these games without the pocket dice, the physical aspect of throwing something and the element of surprise and chance just makes these games so much more engaging for kids when you use it.
So here are 5 of my favourite pocket dice games to play in class! Don’t forget that we have loads of great flashcards you can download for free to use with the dice!
1. Bring Me
Put some number cards in the dice. Invite a child to throw the dice, and then ask all the children to find and bring you that amount of crayons, or bricks, or teddies, or books etc. If you don’t have many children in your group, or you’re playing with numbers 1 to 6, you might like to ask each child to bring the amount shown on the dice. However, if you have lots of children, or if you’re using higher numbers, you might like to have them work as a team to find that amount of objects. For example, if they throw a 12 on the dice, ask them to bring you 12 teddies in total (not each).
It helps to use boxes or baskets to play this game. You can give each child their own box to collect smaller objects (6 crayons, or 4 pencils, for example). Or you can place a large box next to you and ask them to place larger objects there (teddies, books etc).
Make sure to count the objects out loud once the children have found them. It’s amazing how long little kids can play this game without getting bored, and they get loads of practice with counting at the same time!
2. Actions Circle
Place some cards showing different actions in the pocket dice, for example; jump, hop, walk, skip, crawl, and run. Ask the kids to stand in a large circle. Invite one child to throw the dice, then ask him or her to swap places with another child in the circle while doing that action. For example, if Sam throws “jump”, you might say “Sam and Maria, jump!” Sam and Maria must then change places in the circle by jumping there! Repeat until all the children have had a turn at throwing the dice.
3. Animal Actions
Place flashcards of different animals into each pocket of the dice. Invite each child to throw the dice and encourage all the children to do an action or sound for the animal that is thrown. The animal sounds are generally obvious, but here are some ideas of actions you can do for different animals:
- cow (put fingers on head to make horns)
- horse (make trotting action with feet and hands)
- pig (roll on back, as if rolling in mud)
- duck (waddle)
- sheep (chewing grass)
- chicken (flap wings and move head backwards and forwards)
- elephant (use arm to make a trunk)
- giraffe (stretch neck and make yourself tall)
- lion (open mouth wide in a roar)
- monkey (swing arms)
- parrot (flap wings)
- snake (put both hands together and move arms in an “S” motion”)
- crocodile (use arms as snapping jaws)
- frog (crouch and hop)
- eagle (stretch arms out as if gliding)
4. How do I feel?
The pocket dice is great for practising emotions words with kids. Choose 6 feelings flashcards to put in the dice. As before, invite each child to throw the dice and have all the children to act out the emotion that is thrown. Encourage them to say “I’m happy” or “I’m angry!” while acting out the emotions.
5. Addition and Subtraction
For 5 – 7 year olds, you can practice additions and subtractions with the pocket dice! Make some cards with simple additions and/or subtractions to put in the dice. You can make the game more interactive by giving your kids some number cards each, or sticking different number flashcards on the walls. In turn, kids roll the dice and try to solve the addition or subtraction. They then either hold up the correct number card, or run and point to the correct number flashcard on the wall.
I hope you enjoy these pocket dice games! I’m sure you can come up with even more, and I’d love for you to share your ideas in the comments section!
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