• Celebrate Bingo’s Birthday Month Every December

     

    December is Bingo’s Birthday Month

    December is Bingo’s Birthday Month
    Background image credit: OpenClipart-Vectors @ Pixabay; Public Domain

     

    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:

    • All players get their own game cards/boards.
    • Each card has 25 spaces (five columns and five rows). Twenty-four of the spaces contain numbers (the center is free).
    • Each column is designated by one of the letters in the game’s name:. B – I – N – G – O. Then each column contains one of 15 numbers (B is 1-15, I is 16-30, etc.).
    • Numbers are drawn by picking labeled balls or pieces of paper (depending on how “official” the game is) out of a container.
    • If you have the picked number, you mark/cover the space.
    • When you’ve covered spaces in the correct pattern (often 5 in a row, either down, across, or diagonal, but it can vary) you must yell out bingo to win. Usually you must yell bingo before the next number is called, or your win doesn’t count.

     
    For such a simple game, it can be a lot of fun. Especially if you’re playing with competitive players!
     

    A Bit of Bingo History & Trivia

     
    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.

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    Celebrating Bingo’s Birthday Month

     
    Play Bingo!
     

    Individuals

     
    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.
     

    Teachers

     
    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:

    • Reading a book, or a chapter in a longer book
    • Analyzing a character
    • Researching a location, or figuring out what real locations may have inspired a fictional place

     

    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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