Being a parent, I am on a constant lookout for tools to do interesting playful activities with my kid. One tool that has become an all-time favorite in our household is a geoboard.
So, what is a geoboard? A geoboard is a mathematical manipulative extensively used by educators and parents to teach basic mathematical concepts to little learners.
What I love the most about this tool is that it is very simple, with no frills attached. Still, kids love to work with it as it is fun to use and highly versatile. You can use it to perform different activities. Because geoboard activities are not monotonous, they can keep kids glued to them for a long time.
A geoboard is usually made of wood and screws or nails. But as I am always keen on recycling materials available at home, I decided to make it using cardboard and push pins. If this has nudged you to use your DIY skills, let me show you how you too can make a geoboard with a few basic supplies.
Easy DIY geoboard for little learners
Things You’ll Need:
- Foam board
- Push pins
- Rubber bands
- Craft knife (Disclaimer: Adult supervision is required as a craft knife is a sharp tool. Please be vigilant if you have kids helping you in this activity or playing around you while you’re busy making the geoboard.)
Begin by cutting two pieces of cardboard measuring 20 x 20 cm using a craft knife. You can utilize cardboard delivery boxes for this purpose.
Also cut a foam board of the same size, i.e., 20 x 20 cm. If you do not have a foam board, you can also use any foam sheet you might have at home. Adding a layer of foam is crucial so that the sharp ends of push pins are not exposed on the other side of the cardboard frame.
Next, take one cardboard cut-out and apply glue all over it. Place the foam board over it and apply some pressure so it sticks well.
Now, apply glue on the foam layer and stick the second cardboard sheet over it.
This is how it will look after sticking all three pieces together. The foam board must be sandwiched between the two cardboard sheets as shown in the image above.
Now if you wish, you can color the cardboard sheets on both sides. I chose to keep it as it is because the pins looked vibrant and colorful on the brown background.
Insert pins equidistant from each other to make a lattice of push pins. I made a lattice of 7 x 6 pins. If you want to make a larger geoboard, you can increase the size of the board and use more push pins to form a bigger lattice.
When you’re done inserting all push pins, your geoboard is ready for use. Isn’t it really easy to make?
Give your kids a handful of colorful rubber bands to let them explore their creativity and make fun shapes by simply placing the bands around the push pins.
Here is a fun shape my girl made on the geoboard. Can you guess what is it? Don’t you think it’s cute!
A geoboard means hours of non-stop fun for kids. Who knew a simple board, some push pins, and rubber bands could combine play and learning seamlessly together?
Here are some basic geometrical shapes my daughter made. Kids can use multiple rubber bands to make one shape, as you can see in the image, or simply stretch out a single band across pins to make the desired shape.
How can you use a geoboard to help kids learn basic math concepts?
The best part of a geoboard is that kids right from 3 years old, all the way up to 15 years old, enjoy working with a geoboard. In classrooms, educators teach a wide range of topics through this tool. Some of them are basic shapes, patterns, symmetry, counting, addition, area, and perimeter. In the video below, I show you how you and your kids can do entertaining and engrossing activities with your handmade geoboard.
While nowadays you can find almost anything in a virtual form, I feel hands-on tools are better in some cases as kids can physically work with them. When kids use a virtual geoboard, they miss out on practicing their fine motor skills which are very essential for younger kids. A physical manipulative doubles up as a tool to refine those fine motor skills while learning something new.
It would be unfair if I wrap up this article by not mentioning the name of the person who invented a geoboard. Caleb Gattegno, an Egyptian mathematician, invented this mathematical tool somewhere in the 1950s. He was a notable and influential mathematician and educator of the 20th century. Thanks to him for giving our kids a simple yet powerful tool to explore and enjoy learning basic math concepts.
I hope you found this write-up helpful and I really wish you try out this super easy DIY activity. If your kids have never got a chance to perform geoboard activities, this is the right time to make one for them. So, what are you waiting for? Grab the supplies and get started!