Anyone who knows me knows I love to make, build, craft and create. I could spend hours with scissors and glue, pencils and markers, photos and a collage app or just put me in front of a computer and I’ll find something to create. This past weekend as I checked off every item on my what to do to keep an 8-year-old engaged (not busy) during a quarantine list, I had one final idea. Let’s make a board game! A Gracie board game! Why? Well, why not? This would surely keep us busy for at least an hour…hopefully!
We collected all the materials we thought we might need and got to planning. We brainstormed ideas for our game and decided to group together a bunch of ideas and rules from a few of our favourite games. We drew a few different versions of a game board before we settled on our final design. I can’t turn off the teacher in me, so I used this opportunity to talk all things measurement, probability, numeracy and geometry. I posed a million and one What Ifs and I watched as she solved every problem we encountered. So much learning came from this activity. Beyond the game itself, we needed to figure out how to create game pieces that stood up by themselves. That took a few tries before we found a successful solution. We had to test the game every time we added a new rule. We had to make sure the game made sense. We talked through game play. We had a grand conversation about the ages of children who might play the game. Spinner or dice? Why? 4 players or 6? Why? Who goes first? Etc. Etc. Etc.
What I thought would take an hour took almost the entire day (when you factor in snack breaks…there were a lot of snack breaks). By the time we were done, we had created this amazing game that we could now play together! Add that to the engaged – not busy list. More importantly though, we had a full day of learning and engagement. And that’s a good day!
If you’d like to make your own Gracie board game, we’ve made a digital version you can print out and build yourself! Click here to find everything you need to make your own Discover Gracie: The Board Game.
As a child and young adult, Daphne was focused on becoming an educator with purpose, to improve the lives of her students and make an impact on their educational journey. As an educator for the past 14 years, she has created opportunity for children in her classroom to explore learning in innovative ways. Using STEM to support children as young as kindergarten age in discovering learning through coding, she assists them in developing numeracy, literacy and computational thinking skills through creative exploration. She credits interactive technologies for offering learning experiences that encourage growth-mindset, develop problem-solving skills and build perseverance. Her experience in the classroom has proven to support even the most hesitant learners in building confidence in their abilities and engaging in the learning process. Her forward thinking and creative experiences have been shared with many through informal networking, as well as cultivated opportunities to coach and support other educators in building their own technological competency at various educational levels. Most recently, she published a children’s book, Gracie, about a little girl whose learning is brought to life when her teacher introduces her to coding and new way of thinking. Daphne is committed to supporting student success, meeting students where they are, appreciating each individual, and finding opportunity to engage and motivate students in creative, innovative ways.