Teaching Colours and Numbers : A Game for Younger Learners

This game for younger learners aims to consolidate the numbers 1-6 and the colours. if you are a class teacher you can play it with the children working in groups, and if you're a home-schooling parent you can play it yourself with your child. For each group of players you will need : two dice – one with numbers and the other with colours; a counter for each child; and a playing board. The playing board should have the same colours as those on the dice and is easy to make using Word and clipart. If you don’t have a colour printer, just leave the circles blank and then colour them by hand. The number of circles you use will depend on the age and attention span of the children. There are also various ways the game can be played – choose depending on which you think your learners would take to best.

Version One : Each player places his or her counter on the first circle of a different line on the board and then takes a turn at throwing the colour dice and saying the colour which comes up in the foreign language. If it’s the same as the colour of their “path”, they can then throw the number dice, say the number that comes up, and move their counter forward the same number of circles. The first one to reach their house is the winner.

Version Two : The first player throws the dice, but this time the player on his/her left calls the colour and the number. If either of those two players has the correct colour, s/he can move her counter the appropriate number of places. This makes the game up a bit quicker, as there’s a one in three chance of someone moving, instead of only one in six.

Version Three : One child in each group is the dicemaster but does not play. The dicemaster throws the dice and calls the colour and number that come up. The player on that colour moves their counter forward the appropriate number of circles. At the end, the winner becomes the dicemaster, and the old dicemaster joins the game. This way the game speeds up considerably, as someone moves on each throw.

The obvious problem with any game of this sort is that it’s quite possible to play without saying anything – which defeats the object of the activity in an foreign language classroom. On way to get round this with Version Three is if the dicemaster throws the dice behind a barrier (such as a large book. This means the group can't see the result and have to listen to what is said. Another option would be for the teacher to throw the dice and call the colour and numbers to the whole class. Obviously, in this case there should be a winner in each group at the same moment. This is only useful for consolidating the children’s receptive knowledge of the language items, but can be a good way of introducing Version Three and making sure the children understand the game before they continue playing in groups.

Further Reading ...