Friday, March 2, 2012

Learning Tricky Plurals with a Prize Wheel

The other night we had the TV on during dinner and “Wheel of Fortune” came on. Since I consider dinner our special time to share news about each other’s day, this is VERY rare.

My son has seen the show a few other times (probably at Grandma’s house) and excitedly exclaimed, “Oh, I loooooove this show! It’s my favorite grown-up show!”

While he most certainly can’t solve the puzzles, the sheer idea of trying to guess the words, spinning a prize wheel, and winning money seem pretty darn awesome to my 6-year-old. “Wheel of Fortune” was part of the inspiration for this activity.

The rest of the inspiration came the following day, when we were getting ready and on our way to my son’s school music program. As I helped him put his ears on (he played a mouse), he danced around saying, “I’m a mice. I’m a mice!” Last I checked there was only one of him, so I explained that he was a mouse, not a mice.

On our drive to the school, some geese flew overhead and as he caught sight of them, he said, “You know what gooses do when they fly?” Oh boy! “It’s GEESE, not gooses,” I corrected him.

What are tricky plurals?
Those words that either change drastically (i.e. the plural version of the word is not the same as the singular version with an s on the end) or don’t change at all when they become plural (e.g. deer, glasses, etc.) are tricky for children to learn. This activity is meant to help kids (namely, my son) use those words correctly.

How to Play
I made 16 cards with tricky plurals on them. The cards show a single object with the plural version of the word under a folded section. (Download an 8-page PDF here, print them on heavyweight cardstock, cut them out, fold on the dotted line, and use an Exacto craft knife to carefully cut a V shape to tuck the folded flap under.)

I fanned the cards out in my hand and my son drew one.

Then he thought hard about what the plural version would be. If he knew it, he said it out loud (and sometimes spelled it, in the case of babies). Next, he opened the card’s flap to reveal the plural.

If he had guessed right, he got to flick the spinner on the Pretend Prize Wheel I made. I explained that he wasn’t winning real money. He was still thrilled. 

Download the prize wheel PDF here, print it on sticker paper, adhere to an empty cereal box for sturdiness, cut it out, punch holes in the wheel and spinner, and attach together in the center with a brad.

With each spin, he added the new prize money to his winnings. Beware of the “You are bankrupt!” And good luck getting the spinner to stop on “Double It!”

When the game was over, his pretend “winnings” totaled $3.05. Before we finished up, he read a simple book filled with tricky plurals: One Foot, Two Feet: an EXCEPTIONAL counting book.


  1. Clever idea! Not to mention, he got a little math practice in this activity also. I would think this would be an activity that even a classroom teacher could use (maybe in pairs). At an older age, they could practice the spelling of the plurals also. Kids always love anything they think is a game.

  2. What a very fun game! I love the amounts you put on the wheel. Nothing like sneaking in some math and language arts into one game.

  3. This looks like so much fun! I love how to tied math and reading together.

    Thank you for linking to Read.Explore.Learn.

  4. Love this! You are such a fun mom!

  5. I am making this now. Another great idea. What grade is your child in?

    1. My son is in 1st grade, Mom's Best Bets. I hope your child(ren) enjoy it as much as he did!

  6. Oooh, I like this idea! Very fun way to practice this concept. Thanks for linking up to AfterSchool.

  7. My son would like that prize wheel! Thanks for linking up to After School.

  8. What a fun way to turn a lesson into a game! Thanks for sharing with Learning Laboratory at Mama Smiles =)

  9. This is A M A Z I N G! I'm about to PIN it, and share on Facebook!!

  10. OMG this is what I've been looking for:)