The easiest way to begin making games is to use the games you already know. Bingo is a good example, since most everyone knows how to play and almost every skill can be put on a bingo game.
There are two types of cards in a bingo game. The first is the calling card. Here is the information that the caller gives the other players. It can be a math fact or review question to provide the answer to, it may be a date of a historical event, or a Roman numeral, a word written in Spanish, or a clock, or any other information the child needs drill on. The playing cards contain the matching information or answers (solutions to the math fact, answer to the review question, the historical event, the Arabic equivalent to the Roman numeral, the Spanish word's English translation, the digital time, or other.) Play is just like regular bingo. A calling card is drawn, a child needing the drill gives the answer and all players mark their cards.
Following are some ideas....the first thing listed in each set would go on the calling cards and the second would be put on the spaces of the bingo boards.
Capitals/States- on these to make it more decorative I bought some state stickers and placed a few on each bingo card to give them more color.
Any Math Facts/Answers
Pictures/Letters- the pictures are simple ones and the letters would be the beginning letter of
Name of Breed/Picture of Dogs- though this is not a necessary school skill, I have made lots of games that are for fun but we do learn in the process. I found some pictures in a book and xeroxed them and glued them on the bingo boards.
Word/Its Antonym, Synonym, or Homonym
A Date in History/The Event
A Biblical Woman/Her Husband's name
Definition of a Term/The term- This is good done by units. For example, as we studied Insects we made a game with all the new terms we learned and their meanings, this was good for drill and review.
Clocks/Digital Time- here I cut pictures of clocks out of old used math workbooks
Coins/Amounts-for this one I used coin stamps and just stamped different combinations of
coins on each calling card.
TIP-one tip for making Bingo games is to put the less known information on the calling card. Like when I made the Coin Bingo, the first time I stamped the different combinations of the coins on the spaces of the bingo playing cards. As we tried to play, I realized this was much too difficult. The children were looking at a whole page of coin combinations that they did not know how to count very well. So I remade the game with the coin combinations on the calling cards. This way we look at the calling card and figure out the amount together and then all mark our cards.
This is a good idea for a way that all family members can play also. Have the child that needs to drill the particular skill be the caller and give the correct solution or match. Then even younger brothers and sisters can be assisted in marking their cards and you will be surprised how much they learn and remember if they are included in the play often. We sometimes set up favorite stuffed animals to play the extra cards when we wanted extra players, of course we had to assist them marking their cards.....LOL
Materials: I like to use colored bristol (a heavier weight paper) to make the cards. I have drawn a blank bingo pattern on white and printed it on several different colors of bristol. I also grid out a sheet of calling cards on white paper and likewise printed it on different colors of bristol. This way when I want to make a bingo game, I do not need to take the time to draw out the grids. I simply choose the color I wish to use and add the information. I like to cover the cards with clear contact paper (before cutting them apart) to make them more durable. Another way to protect the playing cards is to insert them in plastic sleeves. The nice advantage to these is using the 3 holes punched along the edge they store easily in a notebook or pocket fold. I store the calling cards in zipper storage bags. For marking the card, the traditional corn may be used. However, we like to use dry-erase markers. Most brands work well. However, I have found some of them stain Contact paper or plastic sleeves so try them out on a sample before using on your game boards.
Since children like "pretty" games I often put some cute pictures or stickers in a corner of each playing card. If, for example the bingo game is for review of our ocean unit, I may title it Ocean Bingo (how is that for originality?) and at the top each card for a sticker or picture of a different ocean creature that was studied. Then as we play, children can have fun picking which card they want to play with (the one with the shark, dolphin, squid or jellyfish).
Bingo is fun for all ages. Learning happens while playing.