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3D Dice | Paper-Mache 3D Shapes
Creative Art Kids
Learning how to make 3D dice for kids is fun paper-mache creative art with Elliot and myABCdad Learning for kids.
Roll Math, Art and French Into One Brilliant Activity
In my years as a teacher and a dad I found learning that includes cross-curricular ingredients always achieves the greatest success. Roll math, art and French all into one brilliant activity and make dice for kids with Elliot.
Why build giant dice?
Games with dice are great at helping develop early counting and adding skills. Dots representing one to six on each side of a die can be added to a second die to make numbers seven to twelve. Within a game environment dice deliver a richer reason to count amounts again and again. The repeating part is critical in helping young brains remember. Done in isolation, however, can switch more off then on.
We have several dice in different corners of our house, but the kind that are tiny, which is fine if you know the amounts. For young children learning to count, however, it is less automatic and pointing to small dots one at a time can be confusing. And it always seems that the smaller the hands, the wilder the rolls. Large dice helps give little fingers a better chance of pointing directly on each dot and rolls tend to be less dramatic.
Why not buy them?
This is indeed definitely an option. You can find a multitude of big squishy rubber varieties and even stuffy ones that you can easily cuddle up with between turns in a game. The thing is, an absolutely amazing, rich learning experience is missed. The process of building your own dice does take time, preparation, materials and a truck load of patience. Within this though is the sense of achievement, when making your own giant dice together – instant value added dice games. And if that is not reason enough, then consider the math and art opportunities to be had. Cross-curricular magic.
The math begins by first making paper 3D cubes. To start, Elliot and I investigate the flatness of the paper nets. When finished we talk about the space within the cubes, helping make them 3D. We then dig deeper and examine the properties of the 3D shape, the number of lines (edges), points (corners) and surfaces (sides). Throughout the building process Elliot gets to practise cutting and gluing. We toss in some trial and error, patience and end up with two 3D cubes begging to be transformed. I ask Elliot, what we could we do with them and cheat a little beforehand by planting dice on the table. Sure enough Elliot makes the link and declares we should make giant dice.
The art begins by covering our cubes with papier-mâché. Although painting the structure straight away is possible, the paper tends to deform quickly. We us papier-mâché as a way to make the structure stronger, to hold up against paint. The finished product is also more likely to last longer.
Elliot and I have also learned that building the shapes on heavier, thicker card paper helps the structure retain its’ shape better under the weight of wet papier-mâché.
After having already built a 3D letter R, 3D letter M and piggy-bank using papier-mâché, Elliot now knows that running the paper strips through fingers after dipping them in the white glue and water mixture helps prevent too much glue piling up on the surfaces of the cube. He also knows that occasionally adding strips of dry paper, uses up some of the excess glue.
Drying does take a while, but can be achieved faster with a hair-dryer. Placing them in a sunny, dry place also works and is a tad more energy efficient. When dry, we paint the cubes dark blue and red. We let them dry again before adding the white dots.
Then to help add some language learning to the art and math magic, I invite Elliot to explain each step again in French.
Living in France is definitely helping Elliot’s French. He is in Grande Section (Kindergarten) and has made tremendous progress, since he began in early November after our move from Victoria, Canada. Helping take advantage of his progress, I invite Elliot to explain our steps again in French. In doing so, he profits from the chance to speak in front of an audience, while sharing his language knowledge with others. Now following our tutorial is possible in English and a little French – En fin!
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