Welcome to the Bright Idea Zone!

One toy, many ways to play.

Discover a multitude of bright ideas for each placemat and keep the fun fresh. Designed by educational experts and sorted by age and ability, these activities help keep little minds engaged and growing.

For offline play, click to download the printer-friendly version of this page, as well as your bonus printable tools, and begin your learning adventure today!
Domino Tin

At D&J, dominos are the OG for practicing and learning math at home. There are numerous traditional games to play with your kids and also some super fun non-traditional math games we’ve laid out for you that incorporate friendly competition. If you need a little quiet time (and there’s no shame in that!) encourage your child to practice sorting their dominos independently using one of our D&J printable pages. This is where you say, “Thanks D&J!” and we respond, “We’ve got you!”

Play with your dominos the old school way

The traditional game of Dominos is a classic for a reason. It’s undeniably enjoyable! Grab your friends or family and let’s get to it: 

  1. First, you need to shuffle the dominos and then place them face down on the table.
  2. Each player should then draw seven dominoes from the pile.
  3. The player with the highest double domino (like two sixes or two fives) will start the game by placing that domino on the table.
  4. Then the next player will try to match one of their dominoes to one of the ends of the first domino.
  5. Play continues clockwise, with each player trying to match one of their dominos to one of the open ends of the domino chain on the table.
  6. If a player cannot make a move, they must draw a domino from the pile and continue playing if possible. If they still can't play, the next player goes.
  7. The first player to get rid of all their dominoes wins the game!

Make It Match

Domino matching is a great way to practice number recognition and fact fluency within 12. Younger learners can count the dots and find the match, while older learners can refine their ability to quickly recognize a group of dots and/or quickly add two groups together. Download our D&J domino printables to play along!

Face Off With Domino War

This is a game for two players. Everyone places all dominos face down. Next, you’ll want to divide the set into two piles, one for each player. Each player picks and flips a domino at the same time (may need a “ready, set, go!” here). Add both sides of the domino together and whoever has the highest total wins both dominos. This game can also be played using subtraction, multiplication, or even fractions for more advanced learners. 

For Fraction Domino War, arrange all of the dominos face-down on the table and divide the pile in half between two players. At the same time, each player flips a domino and spins it so the smaller number is on top of the fraction. The player who has the largest fraction wins the round and keeps the domino. If one of the numbers on the domino is zero, that player automatically loses the round since a fraction with zero equals zero. If the domino has the same number on the top and bottom - the player has a one so will either win or tie that round. Once a player has won all of the dominos, they are the winner! The person who wins all of the dominos (or has the most when the game stops) wins. We promise this will be a hit! 

Race To 100

For this game, players will need a piece of scrap paper to keep score on.  Start with all of the dominos face down on the table. Take turns flipping and adding the dominos to a running tally until a player reaches 100 to win. You will need to reload the pile a few times, once all of the dominos are flipped, arrange them face down again and give them a shuffle. This game can also be played using multiplication. For this version - multiply 2 dominos together and add that number to your running total. Who doesn’t love a race?