How to Make & Play with a Geo-Board
Geo = Geometry, So as you may already know Geo Boards are a hands on way to learn about shapes & Math. I made this for my son & it will eventually be accompanied by a water wall, they both will one day be part of an Awesome tree house.
How to make a Geo-Board:
You will need a large wooden board or similar, we found this piece stored in the shed & it is suitable for outdoor use but if you were using it inside you could really use any type of ply or chip board, This piece we have is a thick & sturdy rectangle that can get wet, as it is very thick I imagine it to last a while.
Make sure it is thick enough to hold nails firmly, they need to go in til they're at the back of the board so they don't bend or get flung out with the pressure of the bands & kids pulling at them.
You also of course need nails, a hammer (& if you want to do it properly a ruler & a pencil to mark where you will put your nails evenly, I didn't do this & i should of, I just did it from eye sight & some are a little of centre).
Get your board & rule where you want your nails, put a dot & rule the same length for the next dot, continue until you have a graph of evenly spaced and evenly distant dots & start hammering. Nail in your nails until the hit the back of the board. If you are using the board by itself & not nailing it to a tree or cubby make sure you nail them in without going through the back, other wise the spiky protruding nails will pose a dangerous hazard for little fingers & will damage whatever surface you hang it. Nails of the same size, height & width should be used so that the geo board is even. Nail them in with a centimeter or 2 hanging out the front so that the bands can fit around them & make sure your graph, and spacing is wide enough so that little fingers or hands can fit between them to take the bands on & off.
There you go. It is easy, just a little time consuming. Get a packed of coloured rubber bands from your office stationery supplier and your ready to play.
How to use your geo-board:
Make shapes: Basically the only shape you can not make is a circle.
My little man has learnt Triangle, Square, Rectangle, Diamond, Octagon, Hexagon.
What shapes make a Square? He learnt that 2 triangles are in a square or 4 small squares.
2 Squares next to each other make a rectangle.
There are lots of small triangles in this triangle below.
If you have an older child they can go further with, what types of triangle.
If you had a school age child you could again go in depth about the Math and angles in different shapes. Eg; Make a 90 degree angle, where is a 45 degree angle, 2 x 45 degree angles make a.....? & so forth depending on the level your child is at.
My little monkey is 2 yrs and he is learning how many sides are on triangles, hexagons, Octagons along with identifying different shapes and the different colours of the bands.
Further use: Big vs small, Colour recognition, Shape recognition, Basic math, Fine Motor skills for making shapes, focus & attention.
The idea of using different colour bands is so that they can clearly see whats what when you do overlapping like in this triangle above.
Make sure you warn your little one of the flicking, flinging nature of rubber bands so that they don't over stretch them & hurt them self's if the snap or fling back.