This alphabet skills game is perfect for preschoolers and is a great extension activity to go along with the beloved book, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.
Little Man LOVES board games. I didn’t know that until I bought him Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders for Christmas and unwittingly created a monster. In the months since he got Candy Land, we have probably played it close to 300 times! No exaggeration. Needless to say, I’ve been a little desperate to add some variety to our game repertoire. So, when Little Man asked if we could study the rain forest as part of our home preschool, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to create a new literacy-practice board game for him…using the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!
It came together really quickly and I actually just made up the rules as we played, so it’s super simple–kind of a mix between Candy Land & Trouble. Little Man loved it! We’ve played it a bunch of times in the past few weeks.
If you want to create your own game, here’s what you’ll need:
- construction paper (brown & green)
- a marker
- alphabet letters (we used our magnet letters…you just need to have at least 3 of the same color for each player. You could even make these out of paper, too.)
- a die (I stole one from another game)
How to create the game board:
- Create a simple coconut tree out of construction paper and glue it together. I used two brown pieces end-to-end for the trunk and cut my leaves out of three pieces of green paper folded in half to make 6 leaves total. It ended up being a long board (close to 3 ft) , but it’s easy to fold in half or even thirds for storage.
- Draw a pathway up the coconut tree. Make a “start” space and then divide the rest of the path into spaces for each of the 26 letters of the alphabet (I recommend doing this with pencil lightly at first to make sure that you have enough space for the whole alphabet). Write one letter of the alphabet in each box.
- Once you’re satisfied with your sketched path, go over everything in marker.
- Now you’re ready to play!
How to play:
- Each player picks three alphabet letters of the same color. (Note: You can do more letters if you want, but after some trial and error, we found that three was the right number for my three-year-old’s attention span…and mine.)
- Place the chosen alphabet letters at the bottom of the tree. Each player places one letter on the “start” space.
- The first player rolls the die, and moves up the corresponding number of spaces. As the player moves past each space, he or she says the letter on that space (For example, if you roll a 3, you move saying “A, B, C, and then stop on C).
- The next player rolls and does the same.
- On the player’s next turn, he or she can continue to move the first letter or can start the second letter up the tree. On any turn, the player can choose to move any of his or her letters (like in Trouble).
- If a player lands on the space for the letter he or she is moving (for example, the letter K lands on the K space), that letter gets to jump to the top of the tree.
- Play continues this way until one player wins by getting all three of his or her letters to the top of the tree. Then, the winner shouts, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” and makes all the letters fall back down to the bottom (that part was Little Man’s idea).
You can add any other house rules that you think sound fun. I originally planned to make it more like Trouble where you send the other player home if you land on a space occupied by the other player, but Little Man didn’t like that idea, so we didn’t do it. I also think that in time we might shift it to practice the sounds the letters make rather than their names.
Again, it’s a super simple game, but it has served its purpose well of giving Little Man some extra practice with the letters of the alphabet. Plus, it’s given me a break from Candy Land. Thank goodness.
Try it out!
Can you think of any other variations on this game that would be fun to try?
Here’s where I’m linking up this week.
I can’t wait to make this. I am going to use a tri-fold board and put mine on it.
That’s a great idea! I ought to mount mine, too!
This was so creative!! Way to go Mom! I will be pinning this on my Merry Momma blog boards!
Thanks! My little guy just loves playing board games, and I’m glad other people have found it useful, too.
Thanks for this it will be a great game for my early child 2 class. We have a daycare and have to come up with games this is something all the kids will love.
I’m glad you like it, Olivia. I hope it works well for your class!
Hey Meg! Did you end up practicing it with letter sounds when your son got a bit older? If so, any tips? I am an ESL teacher in South Korea and we are reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom this week to celebrate having learned the whole alphabet last semester. I’d love to use this game to practice letter sounds as a follow-up to reading the story.
Rebekah, thanks for reading! How cool that you’re teaching English in South Korea. TO use the game for letter sounds, I would just have the kids repeat the sound for whatever letter they land on…or have them say the letter sounds for each letter they pass on their way up the tree. Good luck!
I know this is a very old post but I wanted to let you know that I am so inspired and going to make this for the chicken Chicka 123 book. I think I will have my soon to be five-year-old take numbers like four, 14, and 40. That way he can help fully learn that those are all related. Really love this thank you so much!