Sunday, April 8, 2012

Duck Pond - A Place Value Game

Recognizing the value of digits by their place can be so much fun with a game. Here is an easy-to-make game that the boys enjoyed playing.

  The darling ducks and pond were cut from a child's workbook...the type you can buy at many stores. Yes, I do buy books to cut. I find that many are better cut up and made into games that the children will play over and over. Some times the children will do the pages and then I cut them up. I also get some great deals on books for my cutting box at garage sales...even in FREE boxes. Workbooks that are used often still have a few great pictures to use.
 The spaces are 3/4" stickers that can be purchased at most office stores or in office supply departments at stores like WalMart. A friend of mine and I were doing some scrapbooking and she showed me some new punches she had got a great package deal on at a garage sale. I went nuts when I saw one that was a 3/4" circle punch. Eileen was so generous, she gave me the punch. Now I can make perfect sized circles from any of my colored scrap paper. Now I have seen these punches at many crafting stores and I would certainly recommend getting one. You would save the price quickly by not having to purchase these circle stickers anymore...and have the great versatility being able to use all your colored paper scraps. 

 The spaces are labelled with a variety of numbers from one-digit numbers to four-digit numbers. (You could add more digit numbers to the circles for more advanced play. You would also add greater values to the spinner if you did this.)

The game needs a simple spinner. Here I made a square one, then divided it into 4 segments. Label the segments with the appropriate place values being drilled. Now that I have the wonderful clear plastic spinners, I no longer have to attach an arrow to each spinner I make. This spinner was made before I found these great plastic spinners, so I simply removed the arrow I had attached. (These arrows often get bent and often do not spin well.) I now can use the clear plastic one, simply attaching it with a paper fastener before we start the game. (Now we have perfect working spinners every time.)

 Now to play:

Players place their selected game piece on the first numbered space. Then they spin the spinner and find out what place value they are to identify. 

Notice that 602 is the number on our first space. SO...if the player spins "hundreds," he would state that the "6" is in the hundreds place and he would get to move his game piece six spaces. If he were to spin "tens," he would not get to move as there is a zero in the tens place. He also would not get to move this turn if he were to spin "thousands" as there is no digit in the thousands place. 

NOTE: When you are writing the numbers on the spaces, be sure to use a variety of numbers. Including several zeros also adds to the fun of the play. I didn't use too many larger digits (using mostly 1, 2, and 3) so to keep the number of spaces a player moves to a minimum. But putting a few larger digits in adds to the excitement. One of the children's favorite spaces is the "900" one. It is hard to get off this space as you have to spin "hundreds." But, when you finally do, you get to move NINE spaces.

 While Douglas, 8, does not need the drill of this game, he still loves to play it with Charles because knowledge and skill have nothing to do with winning the game. It is all a matter of the "luck of the spin." The fun spaces with zeros, missing digits, and the few higher digits make the game fun to play.

I love games that the boys can enjoy playing together and does not need my input. Since Douglas knows place values well, no answer key is needed. But Charles likes playing with Douglas because he still has an equal chance of winning the game.


  1. This is adorable. I love playing games with my girls to reinforce their skills.

    I am passing on the Versatile Blogger Award to you. You can pick it up at

  2. How do you use the punch without hurting your hand? I'm all for being frugal, but using the stamps starts to get painful. I'd love some tips!! Love this game! Thank you!!

    1. Willow, I do several different things: One, I punch while I am watching a movie or the children play. I keep punches handy and a pile of scrap paper. Then I can punch whenever I have even a few minutes and do a few at a time. The grandchildren always want to help when they see me start a fun project like punching, so I let them. They usually have to add some weight behind the punches (as some punches are harder to use than others). I am fortunate that my circle punch works very smoothly as I use that the most. However, I have lots of shape punches and have done others on gameboards (like little ducks which would have been very cute on this board, but I needed a larger space).

  3. What a fun way to practice math skills. Playing a game is always great way to sneak in some learning and practice. My kiddos would enjoy helping me make the game!

    jeannine @ waddleeahchaa

    1. Jeannine, Including your children in the making of a game is a great way to get them interested. They also like to play games they have made or had a part in.