Pentominoes are a tiling puzzle used in recreational mathematics. Each of the twelve (12) pieces are made with 5 equal squares that are meant to resemble the Latin alphabet. These pieces can be put together in thousands of ways in order to fill in a variety of areas in puzzle-like ways such as: 3×3, 4×4, 5×3, 3×20, etc..
How these Pentominoes fit into the real world is not very puzzling at all! They can be used to calculate: Volume, surface area, and perimeter. Use them to practice: Symmetry and tessellations. They build: Spacial awareness, problem-solving skills, deductive reasoning, and creative thinking skills. They also offer an introduction to elementary number theory.
Below, you will find links for information about pentominoes, activities that can be done with them, puzzles that can be played online, puzzle pieces that can be made and printed, and instructions for making your own set.
What are Pentominoes?
Wikipedia: Pentomino – Offers an explanation of what pentominoes are, how they originated, and how they are used.
Andrews.edu: Pentominoes – Talks about the origins of the puzzle, benefits, and offers game ideas.
Universal Class: What are Pentominoes? – Explains what pentominoes are, their benefits in the world of geometry, how to use them, and games that can be played with them.
This Think Quick Challenge makes learning, and using, the alphabet much more fun and interesting. Plus it keeps you on your mental toes! You will need: A plain set of alphabet cards, tiles, dice, blocks, etc., and a container
Letters can be written on index cards or printed from Activity Village. Optional: Timer, pencil, and paper Place all the letters in the container and have a player choose one to start the game, after you decide which version you would like to play. Here are the challenge choices…
Have a player choose a letter and then say 5 words that start with that letter as quickly as possible (set fair time limits for the players that need extra time). Set the letter aside when the player’s turn is over. The next player will choose a new letter and say 5 words in a the time allowed them. The play continues until all the letters have been used. Alternately, one player can choose a letter and all the players can take turns saying a word that begins with that letter as quickly as possible until someone gets stumped. Offer a time limit of 3-5 seconds.
One player can choose a letter and all the players can write or draw 5 things that begin with that letter within 30 seconds or a predetermined time. Optional Challenge: Players can cancel out duplicate words as they share what they wrote or drew. Decide on a scoring system.
Choose a letter and find 2-5 objects around the house that begin with that letter as quickly as possible. Decide on a time limit and a point system.
Start with a category such as an animal, something that flies, a story, movie, song, country, etc. and say 2-5 things that begin with the letter chosen. Write, draw or take turns saying answers.\
Make up your own fun and challenging version and write down the rules so you can play it again later. Come up with a time limit and a scoring system to make the game more interesting.
Peg Solitaire has been around for hundreds of years and with good reason, it is an addictively fun puzzle-game to play! Below you will find an online version, and a way to make or print your own board. Compact Fun has an a multiversion peg solitaire that can be played online. Aunt Annie’s Craftshas instructions to help you make your own, and a printable version can be played with pennies or cereal. Wikipediahas some information about the history of the game and instructions for how to play it. Look for the game app in your favorite app store as well. If you like the game, a solid board can be purchased in many stores under the names: Hi-Q or Peg Solitaire. Many dollar stores carry a version too, check the toy section.
A really creative and fun way to play with language is to use pictures to communicate an opinion, thought or story. Comics can be used to do this, and the great thing about them is that they can be as short as one box, fill a strip of boxes, or an entire book!
What would you like to say using pictures and maybe some words? There’s no end to how creative you can be while making one of your own comics!
To make your own comic you will need…
A ruler, plain paper, a sharpened pencil or fine tipped pen/marker
Optional items: Colored pencils, colored makers
What to do…
Use a ruler to make a box or a series of boxes on plain paper. Then draw your comic with a sharpened pencil, a fine tipped pen or marker, and color in your picture with colored pencils or markers if you want to.
If you need some inspiration, look for comics in the newspapers, or comic books and graphic novels in book stores or the library.
Tim Hunkin used comics to show how to do a variety of science experiments.
There are all kinds of comic book heroes that may inspire you into making your own as well. Read some comics through before you begin your own if you need to.
Comic Book + has a large collection of Golden and Silver Age comics that are legal and FREE to read online, although registration is required to download them. They also have comic strips, pulp fiction, pamphlets and other publications.
Famous Funnies – American’s first comic. Preview old copies online or download digital copies.
There have been many famous comics over the years!
Marvel Comics offers visitors the chance to design a comic strip or book right on their site, and provides heroes and villains to place in the comic. Registration is required if you want to use the save option.
Tic-Tac-Toe (Crosses & Naughts) Strategy games have been around for centuries and were often made with or from natural items. Strategy games are great for building critical thinking skills because players need to observe the game so they can block the other players and take advantage of moves in order to win the game. They’re also good for thinking ahead and deductive reasoning.
Tic-Tac-Toe is often played as a pencil and paper game, but creating a one-of-a-kind board to play on over and over can be fun to make and use. Tic-Tac-Toe is simple to learn how to play and can be enjoyed by any age!
To make a tic-tac-toe board, you will need… A 6 inch cardboard square, ruler, pencil, markers, 10 bottle caps – 5 of one color and 5 of another color. Optional: Two different types of coins can be used to play, as well as shapes made from cardboard. What to do… Using a ruler and a pencil, draw lines on the cardboard square like a number sign # as evenly as possible, then trace over them with a marker. To play… This is a two player game where players take turns placing their pieces on the board. The object of the game is for one player to get 3 playing pieces in a row vertically, horizontally, or diagonally to win the game. More suggestions…
Decorate the board – Cut a construction paper square the size of the cardboard, glue it to the board, draw even lines in the middle to play the game, then decorate around the edges with markers or stickers. – Use a picture from a magazine for a border and glue a game board to the middle.
Tic-tac-toe game board
– For an extra challenge, make a frame out of construction paper. Measure the center opening, and when you cut a piece of construction paper to fit the middle, add an extra half an inch around so it can be glued to the back of the frame. Glue the whole thing to the cardboard. Use a pencil and a ruler to make even lines for the game, then trace them with a marker. Use the picture as a guide if needed. Game Pieces
Make game pieces out of cardboard and construction paper. Glue an envelope to the back of the game board to hold game pieces. If you use bottle caps, tape a clean, recycled zip-top bag to the back to hold them. Add stickers if desired. Score Board Extend the game board to include a score board and make tally markers from cardboard. History of Tic-Tac-Toe
Tic-Tac-Toe has a very long history! Learn about it here. Making a permanent board will allow you to take it with you when you travel. When you’re on vacation, and the weather is uncooperative, recycled items can help pass the time.
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