Despite the fact that the Woolworths domino stars craze is over (hallelujah), we have an abundance of dominoes that I am determined to use! The great thing is that they can be used for traditional domino activities, which are ideal for numeracy. I figured there must be something we could do with the character side of the domino and came up with five simple activities.
The biggest lad has the memory of an elephant which makes him very good at memory games. We grabbed all our domino doubles, turned them number side up and played a memory matching game. You do need plenty of doubles for this game, I reckon about 15 pairs is an ideal number. You can of course play it with less and fewer pairs is great if your little one is starting out with memory games. A bonus of the dominoes is that they are easy to pick up, often flat cards seem tricky for little fingers to turn over.
The biggest lad and I played our own version of Guess Who. My idea for this game was to encourage him to practice asking and answering questions. I picked dominoes from the pile that I thought the biggest lad would know, kept the character hidden and he’d ask me questions to guess the character. He got the hang of the game quickly and asked questions like “Is it an animal?” or “Is it from Toy Story?”. We took turns in each role. The biggest lad was classic and insisted on giving me very helpful clues, like “Ok, this one is from Finding Nemo”.
We’ve been very informally working on letter recognition, I created a sheet with the first letter of each domino character. I asked the biggest lad to grab a domino from the pile, look at the character and its name and then place the domino on the square that matched the first letter of the character’s name. This was a simple game, while we were doing it we chatted about other words that began with the relevant letter. When there was more than one domino starting with a particular letter (Woody, Wall E), we just piled the dominoes up.
I’ve no idea what to actually call this game but basically it’s a counting, word matching and writing activity all rolled into one! There’s four steps. Pick a character domino, count the numbers, locate the character’s square and write that number in the box. I of course assumed that the biggest lad would look at the name in the first square and locate that domino. Of course, he’s more imaginative than that and just chose any domino he wanted. The trickiest part was probably writing the actual number as that’s not something we practice often.
This was a simple game of pulling out a domino, looking at the character and identifying the first letter of its name. We then chatted about the first sound in each characters name (Boo = B, Rex = R) and other words that start with that letter. We piled up the dominos of each letter. This was good to practice and cement phonics.
If you have any other domino games, please do share! I’d always love to hear from you, flick me an email if you fancy – firstname.lastname@example.org