Can't afford expensive Lego, need a new idea for students/children, or just love Minecraft? Well, look no further! I originally created these for my English board when I was an Assistant Language Teacher in Japan. Attached are photos of these pieces in use at a Japanese high school. Included in this Instructable are instructions for how to make these magnets and various ways to use them.
- laminator & laminating sheets (if not available, use cardstock)
- magnets with adhesive
Directions for construction:
- Print one of the two files (PDF or PPT, regular or large size). You will need a colour copier. Otherwise, you can take it to a print shop. Print as many copies as you like.
- Laminate the pages. If you don't have access to a laminator, print the pieces on stiff cardstock.
- Cut out the pieces with a steady hand.
- Attach magnets to the back of each piece. You can buy adhesive magnets from most craft stores or dollar stores. Alternatively, if you have large uncut magnetic sheets with an adhesive side, you can lay your whole sheet onto this and cut them out.
Ideas for use:
- Throw on your fridge for party guests/children (or yourself) to play with.
- Add a magnetic whiteboard/blackboard to your classroom/hallway for students to play with. Give students challenges for creation, such as houses, castles, towers, famous buildings, monsters, etc. In the images above, you can see I've tacked a plastic basket to a bulletin board to store the pieces.
- Use the pieces to play games at parties or in school (game ideas below).
Create a list of places, people, and things (lists are available online). Print them, fold them, and put them in a bowl/hat. Make groups of 2-4 people. One person in each group is "it." This person will choose a word and share it with other "it" players. Players will use the pieces on a table or magnetic board to create the word without talking. The other group members must guess what the image is. Whoever says it first wins a point for their team.
Create a list of quiz questions. If you are a teacher, you can use these questions to review a school topic. This game can be played with groups of 1-5 people, so it is good for small and large classes/parties. Print the large set of blocks for this game so everyone can see all of the group's pieces. Depending on how you play the game, you'll want to give different amounts of pieces. I will write instructions for the main rules and then present variations. Give each group 6 pieces to build a castle/fort/structure with. Next, students in each group will choose their order of play (being "it"). The first person in each group will stand up/move to the front of a line. The leader will ask a question. The first person to answer will get to damage (remove a piece) of another group's castle. If their castle is damaged, they can instead choose to rebuild their castle. The next player stands up and the process is repeated. The group with the most complete castle at the end of the quiz is the winning group. I have played this game as a teacher with my students many times and they LOVE taking down the castles. Almost always one group gets picked on and obliterated completely first (in good fun), which adds to the humour of the game.
Alternative methods of play:
- Players start with a blank slate and get to choose a piece to continue building instead of taking down another group's structure.
- Add a ball to the game to act as a cannon. Players get to throw balls at the castles instead of simply pulling off the pieces. Harder questions can earn more or bigger balls to throw. Note that as a teacher, this can be noisy to neighbouring classes. I use soft plastic balls, and they still make noise when whacked. Paper balls also work.
Alternative uses for the pieces:
- Use as a way to motivate children/students. Print a graph with squares the same size as the pieces (you can remove the images from the PPT file graph (clear the image in the formatting bar) and print copies of the pieces on sticker paper and cut them out. If a child/student completes a chore/piece of work, they get a sticker to put on their paper to build something. It is a creative way to visualize progress and is a cheap reward system.