DIY Kids: Making a Geoboard Math Toy
What the heck is that you’re wondering? It’s called a geoboard and is one of the most marvelous toys there is. I first encountered the geoboard when Ana was a toddler. Her Montessori classroom had a small one and it seemed to serve as a method for increasing the children’s fine motor skills.
The children throughly enjoyed what amounted to a simple wooden board with pegs inserted in a grid format. They’d stretch rubber bands from peg to peg making various shapes and designs. Nadja has one in her Montessori preschool now too. So, when I ended up with a nice square piece of scrap wood from another home improvement project, I figured it would make the perfect handmade geoboard.
I let the girls paint the outside any way they wanted to (see colorful abstract painting above) and then made evenly spaced pencil marks where the nails would go. I pounded in the nails so that about a 1/4 inch stuck out.
Nadja couldn’t wait to stretch some rubber bands across the board. She often makes a new design every night now, and loves to experiment with different combinations of simple shapes — squares, rectangles, triangles — across the board.
After the trial run, I glued some felt to the bottom so we could use it on the coffee table without scratching it.
Then, I added a bit more paint to the outside edges.
Ana demonstrated how to make a quick star and then her friend took over and dazzled us with this spectacular design.
Looking around on the Internet, I’ve since learned that geoboards are used to teach much more complicated math and geometry concepts in middle and high school. You can read more about geoboards on Wikipedia and find links to virtual geoboards. I may also get really ambitious and, like this clever parent, make a giant geoboard from a peg board.