Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Thanksgiving Game For the Kiddos: Turkey Math

Soon I'll be heading again up into the mountains to spend several days over the Thanksgiving holiday with family members at our family's cabin.  With no electricity or internet/cell phone capability there, I won't be making any blog posts while there.  Hopefully I'll have some great experiences to share with you all when I return in about a week or so.

I have many fond memories of times spent there over the years celebrating our love for each other and being conscious of our many blessings.  This time the crew there will include my parents, my husband and I, daughter Rachel and her husband Eric and twin daughters Tori and Brianna, daughter Sarah and her husband Lance, and son Caleb and his weimaraner puppy Sheila.  There will be as many as 11 people there at once.

Let's just keep in mind that there is only one bathroom.  Thankfully, it is INSIDE.  Yes, I am thankful this Thanksgiving that we have indoor plumbling at the family cabin in the woods.

In looking forward to spending time with my 6-year-old-cutest-in-the-whole-world-twin granddaughters, I came up with the idea of a turkey game.

Mrs. Snyder closely resembled this.
This idea was ironically inspired by a very unlikely source - Mrs. Snyder, my third grade elementary school teacher.  Strange inspiration, for Mrs. Snyder was perhaps the worst teacher in my entire educational career.  She was witchy mean, scary, and even had a wart on the side of her nose.  Her discipline method was to assign the writing of "I will not talk" written 100, 200, or 500 times, depending on the severity of the infraction.  She did this so frequently that in any spare time we had, we would write sheets full of this sentence, and then trade them with each other as needed, almost like trading cards.  I may have traded 100 "I will not talks" for my friend's potato chips at lunch.  Sort of like a "Get Out Of Jail Free" card.

Anyway, I do remember she had this amazing Thanksgiving visual.  Somehow this gargantuan turkey poster had miraculously detachable and reattachable turkey feathers.  I have absolutely no recollection about its educational objective, but I still remember that phenomenal turkey.

So, here is my game for the kiddos, and feel free to try something similar with your kiddos for those moments when you are waiting for the turkey to land on the dining room table and nothing else is happening.  (Ha!)

I like math, and in my former life I used to teach math at our local college.  On occasion I try to find fun ways to bring the math level down to a child's view, and you can see this previous post on Booger Math as an example.  Today's game is Turkey Math.

The simple supplies I used to make this game are the following:

     - a package of dessert size turkey paper plates
     - a package of about 12 chip clips, multicolors look best
     - 2 dice (or 3 if you want a spare for those wild dice tossing moments when one mysteriously vanishes under the table)
     - scissors

Cut the paper plates into some semblance of a turkey shape, around the given picture, as follows.  Then put the numbers one to six at the spots where wings will be added.

Players take turns by tossing two dice, and placing a "feather" as appropriate.  For example, the player on the left turkey rolled a 2 and a 3.  That player can place a feather onto the 2 spot, the 3 spot, or add them and place a feather on the 5 spot.  One feather per turn.  If a feather is already on all of those spots, game play goes to the next player.  Of course, before each feather is placed, the contestant must say one item for which he/she is thankful.

Players continue taking turns until a turkey is filled.  That player wins.  

For very young children I would use only one die.  Simple number recognition would be enough of a challenge.

I'm looking forward to my time with the family.  Wonderful people, delicious food,  heavenly relaxation.  And some Turkey Math, too.

Thank you, Mrs. Snyder.  


  1. Enjoy your Thanksgiving. I sure wish I could be there with you all.

  2. Great game idea...kinda like the "Shut the Box" game I play with my cutest-in-the-whole-wide-world grandkiddos. I am going to borrow your idea. THANKS for sharing. Have a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving.
    P.S. Do you have any great game ideas for teaching algebra to a struggling high schooler?! HA HA

  3. That's a great fun game idea. One thing I am thankful for is having you as a blogger friend.

    Enjoy your vacation! Looking forward to your post about it :)