Stuck In The Mud

Colin has been really enjoying a dice game called "Stuck In The Mud." It works like this: the player starts by rolling all the dice. Any 2's or 5's become stuck in the mud and are taken out. The remaining dice are added to the player's score. The player keeps rolling until all the dice are stuck.


Normally you would play with about five dice, but we've been playing with eleven because we have so many cool dice to play with.

Its been really fun to watch his math skills improve in the couple of weeks that we've been playing.  Colin has been using the "Three Is A Magic Number" song to add up 3's and 6's quickly.  He's also become very good at creating groups of 10 (6+4 or 6+3+1).

Another variation of our game is that the game is never over.  Rather than playing to, say, 250 and declaring a winner, we just keep increasing our scores every time we play.  As you can see below, Colin is into the 3700's by now.

He loves keeping track of his score on his calculator.  He'll add up the dice in his head, and then add that number to his total score.


I was a little surprised to sometimes see him use the calculator like this: if he rolls a 37, he might add it to his score by entering "+31+6."  Even more recently I've seen him add 6 by entering "+7-1."  Nifty!

Another great thing about this game is that it gives him plenty of writing practice!


For the first few days we played, his score sheet was chaos. Scores were placed randomly on the page. Later he took to writing his score on successively smaller and smaller (not to mention dark purple) slips of paper that he would cut up. Also he liked to copy the shapes of the numbers shown on the calculator LCD display.

Then at some point I found myself writing his score and realized the lost opportunity. So I drew some short lines on a blank sheet and for a while we took turns writing his score.  Above you can see 3180 was the last time I wrote his score.

Starting around 3375 I made a terrible mistake.  He's been bringing home writing practice sheets from school and showed me how his teacher writes hearts around letters that she likes, and also gives smiley faces for good ones and sad faces for not-so-good ones.  I thought that was a neat idea, so when he wrote a truly excellent "5" I gave him a heart.  Well, it didn't take long before he was fishing for hearts and smileys on every score.   A few lines later he began to erase letters that didn't get a smiley and keep trying until they were good enough.  Whereas his turn used to take 15 minutes, now it was taking half an hour.

Then around 3263 I tried to explain that hearts and smileys were something special and you couldn't just get them every time.  Just like you can't have ice cream every day.  If you have ice cream every day, then its no longer a special treat.  So for his next few scores he found it really funny to intentionally write really bad numbers.  Eventually we sort of settled on about one smiley per line.  For some reason he likes to connect the smiles together with a line.

While I was at work today, he apparently became embarassed by his intentionally bad writing after 3263.  So he proceeded to cut it out of the page.  He wanted to glue it back together with the other side of the page showing.  Glue didn't work, but tape did!

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This page contains a single entry by Duane published on September 14, 2009 11:23 PM.

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