November 21, 2008
In explaining the Pilgrim story to Lo, I've focused mainly on the Native Americans and how they lived peacefully and prosperously on the land and how they were willing to share with the Pilgrims who were struggling. Beyond that, Thanksgiving, to us, represents just that... A holiday of Giving Thanks for what we have.
This Native American game of dice fits well with the Thanksgiving themes that work for our family's yearly tradition. I discovered the game a few years ago when I spent a summer working with kindergartners at a camp. I brought the idea home to Dea and we made our first "edition" out of popsicle sticks and seashells. Now, years later, it was time to give Lo the chance to make the game and i thought it would be fun to use the more traditional materials. She loved the whole process of gathering sticks outside, stripping them of bark, drying them by the fire, sanding them and so forth. A really great tactile experience as well as a lesson in history, economics and counting! Anyway, I'd love to share this simple but engaging game.
Materials we used:
Sharpies in various colors
6 walnut shell halves(these will be your dice!)
Modeling beeswax or Sculpy
Seed beads, tiny seeds, pebbles, bits of sea shell
What we did:
We stripped the bark off the sticks and then sanded them to bring out the lighter color of the wood. You can also use a pocket knife to whittle tough bark off or even leave some bark on for interesting patterns. Make sure to sand the ends of the sticks.
Next, we carefully broke open our walnut shells with a small spreading knife. I hear an oyster shucker works great to get the nut open- leaving both halves in tact! Our method only allowed us to keep one half whole while the other side broke. We also discovered that Lo likes walnuts! Another food to add to Miss Picky's list!
We used a nut pick to dig out the nuts and scrape clean the shell.
I decided to also sand the edges of the shells.
After putting my hands through torture trying to warm up and soften the beeswax(you'd think I'd have no problem being a massage therapist!) we filled the inside of the shells with it to the brim.
Then we decorated the undersides of the shells with our seed beads.
How to play the game:
Each person starts with 10 counting sticks each. The first player tosses the 6 dice. The score depends on how the dice land.
All the flat sides of the shells up or all flat sides down=2 sticks
Half the shells up and half down=1 counting stick
All other combinations=0 sticks
The first player collects the number of sticks indicated from the second player. The second player then repeats the process. The game is over when one player has all the sticks! This game can take quite awhile, as each person's fortune rises and falls unpredictably! If your little ones have a hard time with the length of the game, they can always play with fewer counting sticks.
qiviut, snow goggles, a kayak, and a fur. I think this made the game more interesting with another dynamic! It was always a bummer to loose your horse or kayak, but you could live without goggles or qiviut. It was a challenge to get those certain valuables back! Go ahead and add your own ideas to the game, it's fairly open ended with room for imagination! Enjoy!