Dice games for kids

How to use dice games to help your preschooler learn numbers

Dice can be a wonderful tool to help your child learn how number relate to one another. It is important to recognize that small dice can become a choking hazard. So, choose your dice carefully and only allow your child to use them under your careful supervision.

There are several types of dice available. The easiest to find are the traditional six-sided dice with dots that range from one to six. These are great because your child can learn to recognize that the amount of the dots means the same thing as the numeral. There are also dice that have numerals from one to six. Check in your child’s games for dice that simply have dots of color for new and different games.

If you can’t find dice with numbers you can make your own from paper or card stock. Simply print out the patterns and write the numbers in the squares. Cut out the dice and fold the blue tabs. Glue the blue tabs to the inside of the dice. With this pattern, you can make dice that will fit any game you can come up with. You can even write letters in the boxes instead of numbers to encourage your child to think of letter sounds or even words that begin with the letters they roll.

Slap a Number

This is a fun number recognition game. For this game, all you will need is a die with dots that number from one to six, six note cards, a marker and two clean fly swatters. Write the numeral 1 on the first card, numeral 2 on the second and so on up to 6. Lay the cards out on the table. Let your child go first and roll the dice. As soon as you see the number, encourage your child to figure out how many dots are on the die. As soon as she figures it out, she gets to slap the numeral that matches.

As your child learns to recognize the number patterns on the die, you can play along to keep the game more interesting. Simply take a fly swatter yourself and make it a race. Both of you can slap the correct numeral. The swatter on the bottom wins a point. Whoever gets to ten points first wins the game.

Before and After Slap a Number

This is an even more advanced version. Play as above but with two more cards. Write the numerals 0 and 7 on the additional cards. When your child rolls the die, her job is to slap the numeral before the number rolled. So, if she rolled a 3, she should slap the number 2 and so on. You can do the same thing for the numeral after the number rolled.

Roll and Cover

This is a fun way to encourage your child to recognize numbers and numerals. For this activity, you will need a die, two sheets of paper, a pen and a bowl with some kind of marker such as cereal, candy or bingo markers.

On each sheet of paper, write the numerals one through six several times. Each paper should have twelve to eighteen numerals on it, repeating the numerals one through six two or three times each.

To play, take turns rolling the die. When your child rolls, he can cover the numeral that matches the number of dots on the dice. For example, if he rolls a three, he can cover the numeral 3. You do the same. When you cover all of one numeral, such as the 3, you are done with the threes. If you roll another three, you can’t cover anything. You must just turn the die over to your child. The first person to cover all the numerals on the sheet wins.

You can play with either a traditional die with dots, or with a number die. Just change your playing board accordingly. If your die has numerals, make circles on your sheet with dots.

Roll A Necklace

This is a fun game that not only helps your child learn to recognize numbers and numerals, but also prepares her to learn addition. For this activity, you will need a die, a piece of paper, a pencil, two long pieces of string and a series of large beads. Try to choose beads that are too large to choke on, but, be sure to supervise your child while playing this game for safety.

Tie a knot in one end of the string to prevent the beads from slipping off the back of the necklace. Be sure to leave enough string so you can tie the necklace around your neck, or your child’s.

Let your child roll the die first. Write down the number. If your child is able, let her write down the number herself. Help your child count out the same number of beads as the die shows. Let her thread the beads on the string. Tie a knot in the string to show the first number. Take your turn and put some beads on your own string. Tie a knot. Continue to take turns rolling, writing and threading your beads until your string is full and ready to tie around your neck. Tie a knot to keep the beads on the string. Then go through the list of numbers. Show the child each number and count the beads that match. Then try counting all of the beads to see who has the most.

The Parking Garage

If your child isn’t particularly interested in jewelry, you can play the same game with cars instead of beads. Just draw a series of “parking spaces” on a piece of paper. Take turns rolling the die and park the correct number of cars in the slot. The first one to fill his parking lot wins the game. You can mark each group of cars and “add” them together to explore addition.

Download a printable dice

games kindergarten pre kindergarten learning