readilearn: Turtle Island – a game of directions: forwards, backwards, left, right

  • Published on November 2, 2018

a game for following directions - forwards backwards left right

The ability to give and follow directions according to one’s location is an important skill and one that we frequently use in everyday life. Some of the first directions we use are forwards, backwards, left and right. Often when we teach children these directions, everyone is facing the same way and move in unison.

confusion of left and right directions

Understanding that the directions are relative to the way you are facing, and may be different for someone facing another way, can be tricky to develop. Many of us early childhood teachers experience difficulty identifying our own left and right after years of facing children as we teach them their left and right.

I have always considered games to be a great tool for learning. They not only provide a fun way of learning concepts, but they also provide opportunities for children to interact with each other and learn the social skills of getting along at the same time. Games help build positive attitudes toward school, learning and each other. They often incorporate learning across the curriculum and can be used in groups, with buddies or with an adult support person.

[help wanted

This week, I have uploaded a new printable board game which involves children in following directions. For the next few weeks, the game will be available free to everyone, whether a registered readilearn user or not. Why? Because I need your help, please.

As stated above, most often when we are teaching directions to children, all are facing the same way. However, we can’t all face the same way when playing a board game — players sit opposite facing each other.

a game for practising directions - forwards, backwards, left, right

The new game is a maths-based game called Turtle Island. The object of the game is for players to help their four baby turtles reach the sea safely.

The game begins with all the turtles in a nest in the middle of the island. Children roll two dice to find out how many spaces to move in which direction. The first player to help all their turtles reach the sea is the winner.

What I think may be tricky about the game, is that each player has a different ‘top’ of the board which they and their turtles must face. Players move their turtles forwards, backwards, left and right relative to their own position and the way they are facing. However, turtles can enter the sea on any side of the island, whether they approach it from the left or right or going forwards or backwards.

a game for practising following directions - forwards, backwards, left, right

I have played the game with my grandchildren aged six and eight, and it worked well. But I was there to explain. I’d like to know if the game works when I’m not present to explain and if children can play independently after they are shown how to play.

If you can help out by trialling the game with some children aged from about five to seven and then providing me with some feedback, I’d appreciate it. I’m happy for you to share this information with family and friends with young children too. The more feedback I receive, the better I can make the game. Remember, it’s free to everyone, whether a registered user or not for the next three weeks (Until 23 November).

have you used - resources already existing in the readilearn collection

This new game extends the collection of existing turtle-themed resources including:

Let's find out about sea turtles cover

Let’s find out about Sea Turtles is an interactive digital non-fiction text for use on the interactive whiteboard. It supports science learning in early childhood classrooms.

The resource provides information about sea turtles.
It is suitable for use in the first three years of school when children are learning about
– living things
– the needs of living things
– features of living things
– life stages of living things.

interactive quiz about sea turtles and living things

What do you know about Sea Turtles? is a quiz designed to complement the interactive non-fiction resource Let’s find out about Sea Turtles.

The quiz is designed to aid teaching rather than to test knowledge. It consists of ten questions, the answers to which can be found in Let’s find out about Sea Turtles.

The quiz allows multiple attempts at each question until the correct answer is provided. If both resources are open in different tabs, you can move between them to check for the correct response.

With a variety of interactive question and answer types, the quiz is a fun way to review what children have learned about sea turtles. Each question provides an opportunity for discussion and investigation.

Ten Tiny Turtles a lesson in addition to ten for the interactive whiteboard

Ten Tiny Turtles – Interactive is a lesson in addition ready for use on the interactive whiteboard.

The interactive lesson provides practice in adding numbers to total up to ten. Each number to ten has its own page for arranging combinations and recording number sentences.

Children click on the nest to ’hatch’ a turtle and then click and drag the turtle onto the sand or into the sea. They repeat until they have the correct number of turtles.
They place some turtles (or none) on the sand and some (or none) in the sea, then tell the number story to describe the picture; for example, ‘There are three turtles on the sand and four in the water. That makes seven turtles in all.’

placement for telling addition and subtraction number stories with a turtle theme

Placemat for turtle number stories is a printable turtle-themed sheet that can be laminated and used for showing addition and subtraction stories.

Great for maths groups, the placemat can be used to follow up a whole class introduction using Ten Tiny Turtles on the interactive whiteboard.

Children place some turtles on the sand and some in the sea, then tell the matching addition fact and its turnaround.

If they cover the turtles on the sand or in the sea, they can tell a subtraction story to match.

Missing addends can also be discussed. Place a number of turtles on the placemat, cover the turtles in the sea. Tell children how many turtles there are all together and ask them to tell how many are in the sea.

turtle tens and ones for learning about number

Turtle tens and ones is a sheet of ten strips and individual turtles to print and laminate for turtle-themed maths work. Great for groups.

Use for:

  • counting
  • comparing numbers
  • place value
  • addition and subtraction
  • sharing
  • making equal groups

Use the turtles for developing understanding of place value and playing place value games by trading ten individual turtles for a strip of ten turtles.

Use with the Placemat for turtle number stories for telling addition and subtraction stories.

printable turtle-themed dice for maths activities and games

Turtle dice is a printable dice for use in turtle-themed maths activities and games. It is a six-spot dice using pictures of turtles.

turtle domino cards to print and use in maths groups

The Turtle domino cards can be used to develop fluency in number with addition turnarounds, subitisation, missing addends and speed of recall, in addition to playing dominoes.

Ten Tiny Turtles is a rhyming poem to support a turtle-themed unit of work

Ten Tiny Turtles – a poem

interactive 9 square turtle-themed puzzle for the interactive whiteboard

The Interactive 9 square turtle puzzle can be used on the interactive whiteboard to introduce the class to 9 square puzzles. (Hints are provided if required.)

printable 9 square turtle puzzle

The 9 square turtle puzzle provides children with a fun opportunity to problem solve. Great to give children when beginning or completing a science biology unit about turtles or as an activity for fast finishers.

All of these are turtle themed resources are exclusive to readilearn subscribers.

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    What a wonderful teaching tool Norah. And a good idea to test it out by asking volunteers to try it out with their kids. Sounds like a winner to me. 🙂

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