If your birthday’s in December, you share a birthday month with the Bingo game.
That’s right, we’re celebrating Bingo’s Birthday Month all December!
(Don’t you wish someone would celebrate your birthday all month?)
You do know bingo right? It’s a simple game of chance:
For such a simple game, it can be a lot of fun. Especially if you’re playing with competitive players!
Edwin S. Lowe created the Bingo game we know in 1929.
But a very similar game was played long before that. The first “bingo” game was actually an Italian lottery played way back in 1530. They called it “Lo Giuoco del Lotto D’Italia.” Italians still play this game today.
In 1770s France it became a game for wealthy Frenchman. They called it simply “Le Lotto.” The Germans used a similar game as a children’s learning tool in the 1800s.
When the game finally made it to the US, it was just a carnival/fair game called “beano.” The name likely came from the beans players used to cover the numbers.
One day Mr. Lowe overheard a winner excitedly yell out “bingo.” This inspired him to create a version of the game with that name. He had Carl Leffler, a Columbia University math professor, help him create new cards with more number combinations. By 1930 the game had 6000 different cards.
Today Bingo is a big charity fund-raiser. The game raises more than $5 billion every year for churches and other organizations.
It’s also popular in retirement in nursing homes. The game is simple to run and easy for the elderly or disabled residents to play (no running around!). Many older residents also grew up playing church bingo, and so enjoy the nostalgia associated with the game.
And of course there are many online versions of Bingo. Some are just for fun, while others are for money.
Scroll down for some ideas on celebrating this fun-and-games holiday.
Obviously you can play regular bingo. Either get a game going with friends, or find a game at a nearby church or other fundraiser.
Or consider celebrating the season with a Holiday Bingo game. Believe it or not, you can get a whole variety:
If you want to be more creative, create your own Bingo cards. Use pictures, words, places, or dates relevant to your life.
Take a cue from libraries, which often create games of Book Bingo. Instead of numbers, the spaces hold pictures of characters or places from books. Use books on your class’ reading list.
Or create games with subject themes, like math or science terms.
Or make it a month-long challenge. Each space holds a specific challenge. Examples for a Reading Challenge could include:
You could also do other subject challenges, like math problems or science experiments.
The kids earn a Bingo by completing all the challenges in a particular row (down, across, or diagonal as usual) or pattern.
Since it is December, you might also want to do a Holiday Bingo game using symbols for the various winter holidays (Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year’s, etc) in the spaces instead of numbers.
Or make it a Holiday Bingo Challenge. Have students research the history/meaning of the symbols, and even the holidays themselves.
Younger students can learn to recognize and/or match letters, shapes, or colors. Depending on their ages/abilities, either call out the letters/shapes/colors or have the symbols on individual cards to turn over and show them.
Do you have any other ideas for celebrating Bingo’s Birthday Month?
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