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Monday, March 12, 2012

Leapin' Leprechauns

Here is a terrific little game perfect for St. Patrick's Day learning centres, taught to me by a the talented Occupational Therapist Denise Rice who regularly visited my classroom last year.

Here is how it works:
1.  Each student playing needs a Leapin' Leprechaun page (as seen in the photo above).
2.  Each student places 10 pennies on the green circles at the top of the page.
3.  Taking turns, players roll the dice and remove the corresponding number of pennies from the green circles.  As per Denise's instructions "students pick up the required number of pennies by “squirreling” them in their hand (for example, pick up the pennies with their thumb,  index, and 3rd  finger and at the same time (and with the same hand) hold the pennies they have already picked up with their 4th and 5th fingers against their palms).  This also helps to develop proper pencil grasp, so the muscles of the hand learn a correct tripod grasp and the other fingers are curled into the palm of the hand which acts as a “stabilizer” while holding a pencil for drawing/printing. "
4.  The game continues until all players pennies have been moved from the green circles to the pot of gold via "swooshing" them along the rainbow.  Again, the motion of "swooshing" each penny from the base of the rainbow to the pot helps to develop fine-motor control as the child's index finger controls the movement of the penny.
5.  Once everyone is finished, each child gets a chance to wave the magic wand (actually a magnet wand) over the pennies in the pot of gold.  The magical part is that only certain pennies from certain years are magnetic depending on the metal composition of the coin... not that you have to explain that to your kindergarten students.
6. I often provide some addition practice to my students by challenging them to figure out how many magic pennies (magnetic pennies)  there are all together.

If you would like a PDF file of the Leapin' Leprechaun page please drop me a line at and I'd be happy to share!

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