National Dice Day.

National Dice Day was on December 4, but fear not, we’ve been using them all school year!

While the origin of dice is uncertain, it is known that they have been around for thousands of years. According to Britannica.com, “Dice and their forerunners are the oldest gaming implements known to man.”

I love playing dice games with kids since it’s fun. And, when they are engaged, they are active learners. And, I love that the kids absolutely do not equate playing dice games with learning!

Before playing any dice games, I read You Can’t Win Them All, Rainbow Fish (Marcus Pfister). It’s a nice reminder about being a good sport when playing games. Conversations about winning and losing are important in Kindergarten. We are open and honest about our desire to win and the realities of losing. So, we discuss strategies for handling our feelings before, during and after playing.

Here is a progression of dice “work” with my Kinder kids….

  • Beginning of year – Roll a die and practice subitizing (the ability to instantly recognize the amount of dots without actually counting them).
  • Then – Roll two dice. Which number is greater? Which number is less?
  • Next – Roll two dice and add numbers together. Start with larger number and add smaller number to it.
  • Then – Roll two dice. Write an addition equation with the two numbers rolled and find the sum.
  • Next – Roll two dice until you get doubles (a good introduction to probabllity). Write addition equations for the doubles and find the sums.
  • Then – Play Addition Bump Game (Teachers Pay Teachers).
  • Repeat this sequence when they’re ready to begin subtraction.

And, dice aren’t just for math. I use them with my read-alouds and sight word practice, too. Here are some FREE resources from Teachers Pay Teachers that I use in my classroom:

  • Roll & Chat: Reading Comprehension Dice Game
  • Roll-A-Question
  • Space – Sight Word Dice Game
  • Time to Rhyme Game Board

My kinder kids love to hear about random days to celebrate. I’ll let them know that we missed celebrating National Dice Day ON December 4 but we’ll still celebrate. I’ll sneak in some 3-D review — we’ll build cubes with marshmallows (cylinders) and toothpicks.

The learning opportunities with dice are endless. It makes sense that they are believed to be our oldest gaming implements.