Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Terminology Crossword Puzzle

Even though it's January, I've started making plans for my summer camps this summer. Each year I put together at least one new camp so in addition to planning it out, I have activities and games to make.  One idea that I thought I would do this year was make an outdoor crossword board.  I wanted it to be oversized and to quiz some of the common terminology we are working on in lessons.

So, here's what I did...
I went to my local hardware store and purchased a piece of plywood 2' x 2', 4 one foot squares of ceramic tile and a container or pre-mixed grout.  The grout was the most expensive at about $8.00 for the container. All in all the entire amount was less than $20. 

Now keep in mind, I have never tiled before, but I've seen a few home improvement shows, so I was pretty sure I could handle this!  After applying grout over the entire piece of plywood, I laid the tile down evenly and let it dry for about 36 hours. 
The grout suggested 24-48 and 36 seemed a good compromise!

Then I started applying the grout between the small tiles.  I thought I would be smart and put grout in a baggie, cut a small piece off the corner and squeeze small even lines where all the grout should go.  It worked great....for about 4 small squares!  Then it started oozing out all over my hand and made quite a mess!  Well, deciding that if it was going to be a mess, I might as well make it a controlled mess so I used my fingers!  It worked great! 

I applied grout to about 1/2 a square and then used a wet sponge to wipe the excess off the top. Leaving it too long without wiping it may result in dried grout all over the top.  NOT what I wanted to happen!
Here's a look at the result!  Once it was dry...about 4 hours later...I made sure it was completely clean and then I added number stickers to match the "plan" I had put together for the words and clues.

As you can see, I laid it out on paper making sure to use only 12 squares each way.  In fact, as I was putting it together, one of my students came to a lesson and his mom spent the lesson time helping me put it together!  Thanks, Beth!

Once that was complete I needed to make the letters.  Since I have a die-cut machine, I was able to quickly whip up all the letters I needed as well as a few extras in case a letter should get lost.

Here's a look at the way the crossword puzzle will look once it's completed.   I think it came out great and I know the kids will have a great time trying to figure out the words that go with the clues!  It is slightly heavy, but it stores easily standing up.  All of the letters fit easily in a snack-size baggie.  I didn't add anything to the edges but may ask my husband to add wood.  For now though, it will work just fine!
Now on to the next project!!


Anonymous said...

What a GREAT idea!!! If the numbers can be re-placed, you could use the crossword puzzle again! Thanks for the game!
I think the way you finished grouting the tiles was what an expert would have recommended!

Sheryl said...

How sweet! Thank you! And yes, the numbers are easily removable and replaced. This would also make a great scrabble game. A good way to also teach students how to spell all the terms they learn!

Leah said...

That looks great!! I want to make one now. Question about storage- can it be stored standing up?

Sheryl said...

Hi Leah,

Yes, it appears that it can! That's exactly how I have mine now! It fits easily on the side of a closet I use for all my camp supplies. If you do make one, be sure to post pictures!

Leah said...

Good to know! I have a little experience in tiling, so hopefully it will come back to me...haha. :)

What are the letters made of- felt/ paper/cardstock? This might be the trickiest part for me....maybe you should open an etsy shop and sell the letters. ;)

Sheryl said...

Hi Leah,

I made the letters our of cardstock and then laminated them although they could easily be made from felt. An Etsy shop is an interestly idea...

If you need help with letters, please just send me an email.


Natalie Wickham said...

Wow. All I can say is: you are AMAZING, Sheryl! I love seeing all your creative projects!