by Sharon Penn

Bingo is a tried and true game that is adaptable for children from preschool up to high school. Parents can make a homemade Bingo game to help their children practice anything from the letters of the alphabet to the location of countries around the world. The key is to make the board sturdy enough to withstand use and keep it fun by using marshmallows, chocolate candies or cereal as Bingo markers.

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## Playing the Game

Distribute a Bingo card to each child. To keep the boxes on the Bingo cards even, use a computer to create a table or grid with five boxes across and five boxes down. Call out the clues that you pick out of a box at random. To win, children cover boxes in a predetermined pattern. Common patterns are across, up and down and diagonal. Children can figure out additional patterns like four corners and L or X shapes. Generally, the center box is given as a free space by covering it up with a star. When the clues are called out and a child covers all the boxes in the predetermined pattern, he jumps up and yells, "Bingo!'

## Alphabet Bingo

Alphabet Bingo is ideal for preschoolers learning their alphabet. Place the letters of the alphabet on each Bingo card in random order. Decide ahead of time whether to use all upper case letters, all lower case letters or both upper and lower case in each box on the card. Fill the grid with all the letters of the alphabet except the letter the student's name starts with, and place that letter in a box separate from the grid. Instead of a free space, place a sticker with a letter written over it in the center box, and the player will not have to cover that space. When the letter is called out, children can cover the correct letter on their card.

## Math Bingo

Learning basic addition and subtraction facts can be fun with Bingo. Set up a homemade Bingo board with the answers to simple math problems. Clues might be 2 plus 5, 7 minus 6 and 3 plus 3. As the clues are called, children cover the correct answers on their board. For these examples, children cover the 7, 1 and 6.

## Geography Bingo

One way to play homemade Bingo using geography is to prepare clues with the names of capital cities, rivers or mountain ranges. Distribute Bingo boards with the names of countries throughout the world randomly placed on the card. As the clues are called, children identify the country in which the city, river or mountain range is located by placing their marker on their boards.