Our New Board Game! A Fun Way To Get My Homeschooler To Practice Her Writing and Reading.

Emily (my now seven-year-old) and I whipped up a new game to make practicing our reading, spelling, and sentence writing more fun.  I thought that, since we already went to the trouble to create a game board and cards, I might as well share via this blog.

All you need to play the game (besides the board and cards I've provided as a PDF) is a single di and some game tokens . . . oh yes . . . and access to a color printer, of course.  (Sorry.  I am afraid you are on your own with the task of figuring out how to print the card fronts and backs on the same sheet of paper.  Luckily for me, my printer makes it easy for me to re-feed a printed sheet in for double-sided printouts.)

We made our own game tokens out of snippets of card paper and tape; but coins or plastic animals or whatever small items you have will work well too (probably better, as they won't blow away when your excited 7-year-old waves her arms around during the game).  A little modeling clay for some homemade tokens would be fun too . . . but that's another project for later.

I'm going to give you a quick and dirty account of the rules for the the game we played today; but you should make up whatever rules help you get your child to willingly and happily practice whatever skill she or he needs to work on.  (In fact, notice that I've supplied some card fronts with blanks, so you can write in whatever words you want - or leave the business side of the cards totally blank and write math problems, geography trivia questions . . . whatever!  Sky's the limit.)

We took turns rolling the di and moving however many spaces it dictated.  Moving along the board, you have a chance to land on either a "bookworm," a "notebook & pencil," or an "unhappy face" image, each of which correspond to cards decorated with matching images.  Just to get some practice with adding and subtracting in too, I assigned values to each card:  the bookworm earns 5 points, the notebook/pencil earns 7, and the unhappy face earns you -2.

We're currently working on words we find in the Ordinary Parent's Guide To Teaching Reading; so I set up the cards to task the player with making up a sentence using a supplied word and either saying it aloud, or writing it out on paper.  This particular day, we agreed to add the twist that if a player landed on a bookworm, she could add an additional 2 points to its value by writing down the sentence she composed.  My daughter chose to write out all of her bookworm card sentences!  (And this is the child who lately moans and groans that she hates writing, and claims it's too much work!)

The unhappy face cards, I tried to supply with humorous scenarios to take the sting out of having to "go back 3 spaces" or "miss one turn;" and that worked really well too.  (Be sure to leave plenty of time for giggle tangents.)

If you're in luck with the rolls of the di, as I was today, your opponent will be the one to land on most of the bookworm and notebook spots on the board; so that you can sit back and happily lose the game, while watching your child enthusiastically write and read, and write and write and write!

Happy Homeschooling!  :-)

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