Dollar Store Delights, Big Lots Bargains, Target Treasures

*Games with a “*” were created by Kelly Nyman.




Fishy Fun*


Purchase a chip/dip container--I used one with 3 outer sections and one middle section, some plastic fish or sea shapes (I found some in the craft section at Dollar Tree--I think they were meant to be used as "rocks" in a bowl or vase), and some pompoms. Optional--purchase some fish or sea themed plates (I happen to find some fish shaped ones a few years ago but they aren't essential to the game). Label the outer sections of the chip/dip container with "1" and the center section with "3". To play students read a word/letter/etc and then throw 1-3 pompoms into the chip/dip container (I vary how many they get--ex: when we are working on CVC words and fluency they get 3 if they read the word before I put up 3 fingers, 2 if they read the word correctly but not before I get up 3 fingers, and 1 if they need some help. You will have to know your groups to know if this would be appropriate--I do it only if I think all students can get 3 pompoms most of the time). I also vary the size of the pompoms...I use a large, medium, and small one just to make it more interesting--each size reacts differently when thrown. After a student has read the word and thrown his pompoms, count up how many fish/sea shapes he gets (lots of math here) and give the students the shapes. Keep playing until one student gets 10 shapes. There are so many opportunities for squeezing in math when you play this game: adding up how many shapes, figuring out how many more they need to get to 10, modeling different strategies for both of these: combining sets (counting all), counting on, using a number line, etc. You may even consider using a tens frame for students to collect the shapes on. You can also make variations on this game by using different themed shapes.

clean out my garden

Clean Out My Garden*


Purchase a chip/dip container (I found one at Target in the Dollar section actually shaped like a flower), a few plastic bugs (Dollar Tree), and (optional) foam bugs and craft sticks. If you choose to use the foam bugs/craft sticks, sort the foam shapes by color and stick approximately the same number of each color to craft sticks (one per stick). You will need 4-6 craft sticks per player. If you don't want to purchase foam bugs, you can print and cut apart these bug cards.  Label each section of the chip/dip container with one of the colors of the foam bugs/cards. Make the center section a "wild" section. To play, give each player 4-6 craft sticks or playing cards. Children take turns reading a word/letter/etc and then try to toss 3 plastic bugs into the flower (chip/dip container). Players are able to get rid of a bug stick/card if they land on the corresponding color. Change the difficulty by placing the flower further away or (my kids' favorite) elevating it--I place it on a box in the middle of the table so that it is above their eye level. The first player to get rid of all their bugs is the winner. 

Eggs-elent Spelling* (black line master included)

Purchase miniature plastic eggs (I found an egg garland at the Dollar Tree and cut it apart). Print one letter on each egg to spell CVC words. Make several different Eggs-elent Spelling mats with different CVC pictures on each (I put 3 on each sheet). Place all letter eggs in a bucket. Provide students with small bowls to hold eggs and a scoop (plastic salad tongs or the egg dipping tongs work well). Each student takes a scoop of eggs and puts them in his bowl before passing the bucket to the next child. He then uses the eggs to spell words on his mat. When the bucket comes back to the child, he returns the unneeded eggs and takes a new scoop. Play continues until a child completes 3 words to be the winner.



Purchase plastic bugs or bug gems (I found mine at the Dollar Tree). Hide these in a bin of plastic grass. Provide each child with a bug mat with pictures of the bugs you used. To play, show each child a word (letter, number, etc.). If he correctly identifies it, he may dig in the bin for a bug. If the bug matches one on his mat, he places it there. If not, he returns it to the bin. The first player to match all bugs is the winner.



On a large plastic tablecloth or shower curtain liner (from the dollar store), print a variety of sight words. Give 2 children a fly swatter. Call out a word and have the children race to “swat” the word first. The winner chooses a new person to be the swatter.



Ants’ Picnic*


To create this game you will need:

6-8 plates (I used plastic plates from a picnic set)

Plastic ants (about 6 dozen--I found mine at Big Lots)

A blank die to program


On each plate, print the numbers 1-9.  On each side of the die print a direction (ex: take 1 ant, take 2 ants, take 3 ants, give 1 ant to a friend, switch plates, put 1 ant back). To play, children take turns reading a word/letter card. If they are correct, they roll the die and follow the direction. The winner is the first person to get 9 ants on his plate. **To make this game more appealing, I store the game pieces in a picnic basket and keep a small checkered placemat in the basket for setting up the game on.

Dominos Pizza*


Cut pizza pieces out of felt (crust, sauce, cheese, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, sausage, and pineapple). Label a spinner with each piece except for crust. To play, give each child a crust piece. Children take turns reading word/letter cards. If they are correct, they spin the spinner and collect the piece indicated. Each child may only collect one sauce and one cheese. The other pieces have no limit. The winner is the child with the most toppings on his pizza at the end of the game (must also have sauce and cheese).

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