Introduction: DIY GAMES

Many people ask me what are good games to play and how do I come up with them.
For the most part, I don't come up with them, I'm sure really good at searching the internet.
I started playing games to review for math club. Then, students who were coming in for tutoring became jealous and wanted to play. Wouldn't you know it! Games are good for all ability levels!
However, lately I have found what works best (for me):

Rules for SUCCESSFUL Small Group Games:

  1. Games should take 5-20 minutes to play
  2. Differentiate between 1 -4 players*
  3. Most should be done mentally or with minimal scratch paper
  4. Games should always review learned material
  5. They can have more than one answer, but usually best to have one
  6. Self correcting puzzles are the best, but be wary of cheaters
  7. Best if done in stations (centers), so that the entire class is not playing it all at once
*Some games are designed to be an entire class game, that is more of a direct teach/ large group strategy.

With that said, my favorite types of games tend to be matching games (dominoes, tarisa, clothespin, etc.), but I also love some good higher level dice games (that actually deal with the content and are not merely a mental wake up). I've bought a lot of games in my time, had students make many, and designed some myself. I prefer to design them myself, so that I can make them print in Verdana (my favorite font for math, with it's equal width and height thickness) and at a reasonable size. I also like to print them on cardstock (or laminate), but can deal with pieces getting lost more than if I actually buy a game and the students misplace those pieces. 

I hope this helps! Let me know how you handle games in your room or some of your favorites.

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