Dominoes can be used for so much more than the popular games they were intended for! Turn them into new games with these ideas below and learn math skills too!
Grab Some Dominoes and Get Ready to Play
I love finding simple, educational activities I can do using supplies I already have at home. Don’t you?
I wanted to find a fun game to play with dominoes (besides the popular game of lining them up in rows and knocking them over).
So, I headed to Hands On As We Grow for some tile based inspiration.
As usual, Hands on As We Grow didn’t disappoint. I found a couple of posts that had some great ideas for dominoes.
But it was a comment someone had submitted that really intrigued me.
The comment stated, “the games we play [with dominoes] are like Go Fish…”
Well, I loved that idea!
That one comment led to the following three domino games.
And you can play these games at home, too. All you need for each of them is dominoes!
(If you don’t already have dominoes you can get some great ones on Amazon.)
Matching Activity with Dominoes
I intended to play Go Fish right away, but we have a lot of mismatched, random domino tiles in my house.
It wouldn’t be a good idea to play a game of Go Fish without pairs!
So, I started sorting through the dominoes to find pairs until it occurred to me that I didn’t need to do all the work myself. Duh!
That’s when “find the matches to the dominoes” became a game with my children.
My daughters and I got straight to work sorting and matching tiles.
We started with the small, white dominoes we had.
On a whim, I grabbed computer paper and made little tags with the numbers zero through twelve.
I explained we would add (count) the dots on both sides of the tiles.
Sneaking in some math learning and practice to my domino game!
Then, we would put the dominoes in front of the tag that had the sum (the total number of dots) written on it.
That meant the domino with two blank sides went next to the paper labeled “0”.
The domino with five dots on one side and two dots on the other side went next to the paper labeled “7”.
This activity is great for adding and counting practice!
If any of the dominoes had matches, we put them next to each other.
They could see that double fives equal ten. Double sixes equal twelve.
And bonus, I could easily see which dominoes didn’t have matches!
Go Fish Game with Dominoes for Kids
Thankfully, the small, white dominoes we had were only missing two tiles.
So, I removed the two dominoes without a pair.
Finally, it was time to play a game of Domino Go Fish with my children.
First, we set all of the tiles that had matches on the table (dots down).
Then, my kids mixed them around on the table, so we didn’t have the matches right next to each other.
Next, we each grabbed six dominoes and set them up in front of us.
We set any matches we received out on the table before taking our turns.
How to Play Go Fish with Dominoes: Game Rules
I considered playing our Go Fish game by matching the sums of the dominoes.
For example, a domino with a 4 and a 3 would match a domino with a 6 and 1 because both of their sums equal 7.
But I decided not to do that.
Instead, we only matched dominoes tiles that had the exact same number of dots on each side.
One of my daughters immediately had two matches the first time we played!
We took turns asking one person if she had a specific domino.
For example, I would ask one of my daughters specifically if she had a domino with a 2 and a 1 on it.
If she had the domino with the 2 and 1 on it, she would give it to me.
If she didn’t have the tile I asked for, she would tell me to “go fish”.
Then, I would grab a domino tile from the center of the table that was face down.
Even if we got a match, we let the next person take a turn.
We played the game until one person was out of dominoes to match.
Then, we counted who had the most pairs of dominoes. (It wasn’t me!)
My children enjoyed playing this game so much, they asked if we could play again. So we did.
Kids Memory Game with Dominoes
This may seem random, but have you ever read the children’s book series “If You Give a…” by Laura Numeroff?
Some of the books include If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Moose a Muffin, and If You Give a Pig a Pancake.
In the book series, one activity leads to the next activity which leads to the next.
Well, that’s how I felt with the dominoes games!
Playing Go Fish with the dominoes reminded me of the Memory game.
So, we played a quick game of Memory.
How to Play Memory with Dominoes: Game Rules
We didn’t use all of the tiles we had used to play Go Fish because I didn’t want the memory game to take long.
We began by making sure each of the dominoes still had a match.
Then, we separated the pairs into two piles on the table.
Next, we flipped the tiles all over so we couldn’t see the dots.
My children mixed each pile around, so the dominoes weren’t in the exact same spots.
Then, we put them in neat straight rows. (Keeping the two piles separated from each other.)
Once we were ready, we took turns flipping one domino tile from each pile to find matches.
If someone found the match, she kept the pair of dominoes and went again.
If she didn’t get a match, she flipped the dominoes back over and it was the next person’s turn.
We continued playing our memory game until all of the dominoes had their pairs.
The player with the most pairs won.
Put Away the Dominoes
Finally, it was time to put the dominoes away… after my daughter lined them up and knocked them into each other.
We couldn’t play dominoes without taking some time for the popular game of lining them up on the table in straight rows and toppling them over!
Who knew dominoes could be so entertaining!
Thank you to whoever left that comment all the way back in 2013.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ACTIVITY WITH DOMINOES?
If you have any ideas for activities to do with dominoes, please leave a comment below.
Maybe you will help someone reading the comments years from now to have a fun afternoon with their kids!