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Do you need a fresh way to engage your kids while you work? Customized learning cubes to the rescue!
Paper cubes are so versatile. Once you have the template, you can change the contents whenever you want. You just need a Sharpie or another marker to add content after your print a cube.
After customizing each side of each dice, it’s time to put them together. If you grab my template (below) you’ll need to cut on the solid lines. Then, fold on the dotted lines. The cubed shape will start coming together. Use a bit of tape or a glue stick to put each one together.
Once your kids know how to assemble them, it’s something many can do on their own.
Then you’ll always have an engaging tool ready to meet the needs of your kids.
Here are six different ways your kids can use the cubes while you work. For the best success, remember to take time to get your child started with the learning cubes before you start working.
Explain how they work, and the purpose of the activity. Play a round or two together.
Then let your child play independently while you work nearby. You’ll be close enough to answer any questions if they arise.
Encourage your kids to make up their own activity with the cubes after they’ve finished the game you demonstrated. Kids are so creative, I’m sure they’ll be able to come up with something fun.
You’ll need two learning cubes for this game. You want them to be identical, with matching shapes on each cube. On each, draw one:
Then, have your child roll both dice. Each time the dice land, have them say the name of the shapes that are showing. See if they can roll a match.
Have them keep rolling several times, practicing their shapes.
You can use this same concept to make any number of matching games. Try:
- Mommy letters and baby letters (capital & lowercase 😀 )
- Animal mommies and animal babies (cow/calf, owl/owlet, cat/kitten, etc.)
- Colors and color words
- Numerals and number words
- Family member pictures and names
There are so many possibilities!
2. PE Time
This is a fun way to help your child get a little extra movement into the day. You’ll need two learning cubes.
On the first one, write a number on each side. You know your child best, so pick numbers that are appropriate. Older kids will probably enjoy the challenge of bigger numbers (10-20) while younger ones could be discouraged by them. I typically stick to 1-10 for my crew.
For the other cube, either write words or draw a quick picture to show different exercises. You could have:
- Jumping jacks
- Sit ups
- Wall push ups (or real ones)
- Line hop (put a strip of masking tape on the floor so the child can hop over it)
- Leg lifts
You can also go with more fun movements, like these:
- Crab walk (just be sure to give them a starting and ending point!)
- Frog jumps
- Line balance (walking along a strip of masking tape)
- Somersaults (depending on how much space you have available and the safety of your space of course)
- Princess twirls
- “Wing” flaps (moving arms up and down)
Some of these might even be good candidates for larger numbers!
Once the dice are ready, have your child roll both. After looking at them, they do the exercise shown, the number of times showing.
So they might do five leg lifts. Or 15 princess twirls.
Then they roll again.
Let them keep going. Then see if they can come up with new movements to try the next time.
3. Real or Nonsense?
This is a fun game for beginning readers. Reading nonsense words is a great way to practice decoding skills.
You’re going to need three dice. If you grab my templates (below) there are three letter dice already prepared for you!
Each die is numbered. You’ll want to have your child roll them in order. Then, have your child put the dice in order from 1-3, with the letter rolled up.
This will create a word.
Have your child sound out the letters to read the word. Then, ask your child if it’s a real word or a nonsense word. You may need to help with this part until your child gets the hang of it!
Then, she can roll and write while you work. See if she can get ten real words rolled and written down on a piece of paper. What about ten nonsense words?
4. Silly Sentence
This game features words on paper cubes instead of letters. It’s a fun way to practice reading sight words and improve reading fluency.
You’ll need seven templates. Here’s how to get them ready:
Die 1 :
Die 2 (Adjectives):
Die 3 (Nouns):
Die 4 (Verbs):
Die 5 (Prepositions):
Die 7 (Nouns):
Now, have your child roll each die. Then, put them in order into a silly sentence. Have your child write down the sentences he rolls. Then, when you’re finished working, he can read them to you!
As a variation, you can also have your child draw a picture to illustrate each sentence.
Feel free to substitute harder words if your child is a better reader!
5. Drawing Mesh Dice
This is a fun one if your children enjoy drawing. Some of my kids enjoy doing drawing meshes, some of my other ones get too frustrated.
You’ll need three learning cubes. You’ll also need to brainstorm six different things your children can draw. Each item should have a basic head, body, and leg component. Here are some ideas:
Now for the prep.
On another cube, draw the middle section.
And on the final one, draw feet.
When everything is ready, your child begins rolling all three. Then, they make a mesh drawing of one creature with the three parts. So they may have a cat head, a dragon body, and horse legs/feet.
These are often fun pictures to have the kids color as well. Or make up a back story for. Lots of possibilities for extending this game!
6. Multiplication & Addition Practice
You can practice any kind of math with paper cubes! This example is for upper elementary students who are working on memorizing multiplication tables. The addition is thrown in to help them remember to look at the sign before doing math. But, feel free to mix it up to meet your child’s needs:
You’ll need three cubes. Here’s how to prepare them:
On die 1, write the numbers that your child is working on memorizing. For a beginning multiplier, it might look like this:
On die 2, you’ll be adding the multiplication symbol (X) on three sides, and the addition symbol (+) on three.
Die 3 will feature six more numbers. You can use any numbers 0-12 that you’d like.
Have your child roll each one. Then, have her arrange them into a number sentence. She’ll then read the sentence aloud:
4 Times 5
And then, have her fill in the answer:
Have your child roll and write down thirty facts while you’re working. Then, be sure to check the answers together.
Need a Template for Learning Cubes?
If you need a template for paper learning cubes, here you go. The first page is blank, and the other three go together for the real or nonsense game mentioned above.
Get your letter cube templates!
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If you create any additional games, I’d love to have you share them in the comments. Which game do you think your child will like the best?
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.