The game of dominoes is an oldie, but a goodie! The first record of dominoes comes from China in the 1100-1200s CE, but the dominoes we know today appeared in Italy in the 18th century. The history of how the game developed, traveled from China to Italy, and was given the name "domino" is a little fuzzy, but we're certainly glad that it happened!
Domino tiles (also called bones, stones or chips, among other names) were traditionally carved from animal bone, ivory, dark wood and even stone. Today, synthetic materials are used that often resemble the look and feel of ivory. The dots (also called nips and dips) would be painted or inlaid onto the tiles.
The basic game of dominoes is one of strategy and matching, with the goal of playing all of your tiles before your opponent(s). Each player gets an equal amount of tiles and take turns placing tiles on the board. The game begins with one tile being placed down first as the base and players then place tiles that have the same number of dots as the tiles on the board. a game takes around 15 minutes, so it's quick, but packed full of skill-honing action. Players need to recognize numbers, match alike tiles and plan their moves ahead of time so they have a better chance of playing all their tiles first! For more games, check out the activities section below!
This one is pretty obvious, but what you may not know is that there are at least a dozen different games you can play with the same set of dominoes. Check out domino-games.com for some fun options. Find one that fits your kids' age range and have a blast! If you need a set of dominoes, try making one (see below for some suggestions!)
Make Your Own Set of Dominoes!
As we learned above, dominoes were traditionally carved from natural materials. So, what if we could make our own set?! See if you can find stones or wood chips of a similar size, or use index cards. Help your kids decorate their dominoes with dots and have a go at a game!
If you've got budding bakers, try this Cookie Dominoes recipe! Not only will prepping the recipe be a lesson in listening and patience, but you get to add math into the mix when it's time to decorate! And then of course, the winner of the next game enjoys the sweet, sweet victory of cookies!