Dice games are great in the classroom, since most of them only require a handful of dice, and some pencils and paper. Math dice games are the most common, but there are clever ways to use dice for a variety of subjects. Read on to find creative games to teach vocabulary, creative writing, musical rhythm, and more.
1. Going to Boston
Here’s a game that’s been around for a very long time, and is great for basic addition skills. You need three dice for this one. A player rolls all three dice at once, then sets the highest die aside. Roll the remaining two, and again set aside the highest. Roll the last die, then add all three together. Each player takes a turn doing this, with the highest score winning the round. Play a set number of rounds, or see who can get to a designated number like 100 first.
Mix up your next icebreaker activity by rolling a die to see which question each student will answer to introduce themselves. Visit Scholastic to get the free full printable version of the one shown here, or customize one for your own use.
3. Roll and Retell
Here’s a fun way to check for reading comprehension and practice summarization skills. Use this as a class or in small groups to discuss a story or book you’ve just read. See more at An Apple For the Teacher.
4. Over the Mountain
In this math game, students take turns rolling three dice, then adding or subtracting two of the dice to cross off the numbers 1 – 18 in order. Get full directions and print free game sheets to use at Zeno.
5. Shut the Box
This is another old game that focuses on addition facts. The goal is to “close” each of the numbers in the box from one to ten. To do so, a player rolls two dice and adds the total. They then may close as many open numbers in the box as they like, as long as together they add up to the total on the dice. For instance, if a player rolls 11, they may close 1, 2, 3, and 5, as these add up to 11. If no numbers are available to add up to the dice total, play passes to the next player, and continues until someone finally “shuts the box” by closing the last available number. You can play this game with a specially designed box ($11, Amazon), as it has been played for years. You don’t need the box, though; simply have kids write out the numbers 1 to 9 and cross them out as they play.
6. Roll and Write
So often when you ask kids to write a story, they say, “I don’t know what to write about!” Writing dice games like this one solve that problem in a totally cool way. Print and laminate this free printable from Where the Wild Things Learn and set it up at your writing station with some dice. There are so many possible combinations here that kids will be churning out novels in no time!
7. Block Out
You’ll need graph paper and colored pencils for this dice game about figuring areas. Player one rolls 2 dice and draws a rectangle using the numbers rolled as the length and width on graph paper, coloring it in if desired. The second player does the same, with play continuing until there is no room to draw any more rectangles. Decide the winner by figuring the area of the rectangles of each and adding them together. See more and get other math games here.
8. Dueling Narrators
Turn a writing exercise into an adventure! Partner one (or team one) plays the “good narrator” who wants to turn the story into a comedy (a story with a happy ending, not necessarily a funny one). Partner two (or team two) plays the “bad narrator” who wants to turn the story into a tragedy (one that ends in the demise of the protagonist). Players take turns writing a paragraph of 2–5 sentences, rolling a die to determine what happens next and passing to the next writer. Get more information and several more writing exercises at Crank Out Words.
9. Roll a Value
Students learn about dimes, nickels, and pennies with this simple dice game meant for younger learners. Roll two dice and add up their sum. Then, determine which coins to use to add up to that number and draw them on the worksheet. Get the free full printable worksheet at Sarah’s First Grade Snippets.
10. Roll a Word
Dice games help spice up vocabulary practice, something many kids find dull. Set a list of words, then give each kid a die to roll. Based on the number, they do one of the following for each word:
1: Give a definition
2: Give a synonym & antonym
3: Write a sentence
4: Draw a picture
5: Make a connection
6: Your choice
See more at Southern Fried Teachin’.
This is another one of those beloved math dice games that have been around a long time, and you’ll see why. The concept is simple enough. Kids roll the dice and add the sums, repeating as many times as they like on each turn. However, if they roll a one, their turn ends and they lose all the points for that turn. This element of chance makes the game exciting, so students will practice addition skills without a complaint! Get a free printable game board at Zeno.
12. Dueling Dice: A Rhythm Game
Music teachers can get in on the fun with this simple game. Have kids roll a pair of dice and add up the sum to get the target number. Then, they figure out a combination of notes that will equal that value. Make it a race between students to amp up the fun! Get a free printable for this one from Notable Music Studio.
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