By Deb Chitwood from Living Montessori Now
I’ve wanted to see what water beads are really like, so I found an excuse to check them out! For the Dinosaur Roll and Graph, children can roll the dice and color in the graph, but you can also create a fun hands-on game that’s perfect for fine-motor coordination.
To make the cube, I printed and laminated the cardstock before assembling. It was very difficult to fold the cube after it was laminated. I ended up using clear packing tape to hold it together properly. I think it would work best to just print the page for the cube on cardstock, cut it out, and put it together with clear packing tape, using the tape both as a laminate and a way to seal the cube.
Water beads are awesome for the pincer grasp. I added a bowl of water beads covered with water to the activity. If you have the cardstock laminated and leave a laminate edge, it’s fine for it to get wet from the water beads. I wouldn’t recommend using water beads for this particular activity for a child who has difficulty with fine-motor coordination and becomes frustrated easily. The water beads require fairly good fine-motor coordination skills and tend to move around easily. For children who have fairly good coordination and would enjoy a challenge, I think the water beads are a fun addition. I sure had fun with them!
I’m a fan of cooperative games, and this could be made into a cooperative game where each child takes a turn rolling the dice and placing a water bead on the graph for the appropriate dinosaur. I like the cooperative aspect of having the children work together to add water beads to the graph until one of the dinosaurs reaches 10. Even though the game is cooperative, you can still use it to teach sportsmanship. At the end of the game, the children could shake hands with each other and say, “Good game!” It’s helpful for children to learn the social etiquette for games without the emotions involved in winning and losing. Hopefully, that will make it easier for them to remember to show good sportsmanship during an actual competitive game.