I don’t know about you, but in our house it takes just about three weeks after opening a new board game that the game becomes virtually useless as my kids find the pieces far more interesting than the game itself. The game pieces are used as characters to reenact stories, the play money is used to pay off siblings to do chores for each other, and don’t even get me started on spinners. But the main game piece that is always the first thing to get separated from the box – the dice. And it’s truly amazing the odd places those orphaned dice manage to show up. The fun thing about that is, at any moment, anywhere, your kids can suddenly come upon this alluring cube – in a couch cushion, under a rug, in a junk drawer – and immediately their imagination goes to work coming up with a new way to put it to use.
The other day, my youngest son found one in a sock drawer. He ran to get my daughter and explained that they could use the tiled foyer and hallway as a large gameboard – each square foot tile would count as a space. They would think of a number from 1 to 6, role the dice, and if that number came up then they would get to move ahead that many tile spaces. The first one to make it from the front door to the kitchen would win.
Being a visual person, I love oversized dice. I just show them to the kids and they get excited. I like to use them to disguise math practice as a dice game. They could add up numbers on multiple dice or have to move ahead by the amount on one dice and move back the number of the smaller dice in order to practice subtraction. And as often as possible I like to have the kids play the part of the game pieces themselves. It gets them up and moving, and active participation keeps their interest more.
The uses for this often misplaced set of twins is endless. Making any chore into a game is always more palatable for younger kids, and besides as a game of chance, when you have multiple children sometimes the outcome is accepted more easily than just because mommy said so. So, you can declare whoever rolls “snake eyes” has to take out the trash, roll one die for the number of days in the week they have to make their bed, or state that whoever gets an even number has to help with the dishes.
You can use them to get your kids off the couch and moving. I use this set of large, soft dice to throw around outside in the yard and have the kids take that number of giant steps, jumping jacks, laps around the house, or long jumps.
But the best way to use an odd pair of dice is to let your kids just happen upon them and then encourage them to put their own imagination to work.