BANG! – Homemade Homeschool

So, one of my new favorite sites for resources is the blog Sun Scholars (found via Pinterest), and I especially look at her post regarding activity trays at least weekly for a workbox or two.


One of the ideas on that post is a game she calls BANG!  I found the same idea at Lakeshore Learning (only they call it Pop!) for about $10.  The idea of the game is there are at least 53-55 peices, 1 for each letter of the alphabet in both upercase and lower case and at least one card marked BANG! (Or POP! if you’re going with the popcorn version) this card(s) makes you put all your letters back in when you draw it.

From Sun Scholars:

“How to Play
Taking turns, each child (or child and parent) pulls a card from the container and reads the letter.  They place the letter in their pile, and the next person draws a card.  If the word “BANG” is drawn, that person must put all of their cards back into the bucket.  The person with the most cards at the end of the game wins.”

I loved the idea of this game, but wasn’t sure how Inara would do since we haven’t spent a lot of time working wtih lowercase (or letters much at all honestly) but wanted to give it a try.  So I started by just making a document in word with all the letters in differant fonts with differant background colors, printed, laminated, and cut them apart.

These worked pretty well, the size was a bit small, and I noticed that Inara (and even myself) had some trouble distingusing things like p and d apart because we didn’t know which direction the letter went.  Inara really liked the game though and asked to play several more times last week and again this week.


I also was looking for something that I could use just as letter recognition, letters I could use to match lower and uppercase together, and letters I could use to practice sequencing (matching the letters to the same things on a shape to spell words which is a great way for young kids to start practicing spelling, especially of their name etc.). So esencially, while these tickets worked on a basic level, I wanted something that was a bit more multi pourpose, a bit more hard wearing and easier for little hands to work with.

I looked at alphabet magnets (like fridge magnets) again, the only thing I found was at lakeshore and they were about $6 a set and came in upper or lowercase – so I’d have to spend $12 to get a mixed set  (found this set on amazon) – and I couldn’t use those to play BANG with so, I would still end up with two seporate things.  Then I remembered seeing letter disks on some of the homeschool blogs and I found letter tiles (like these) at a couple differant stores, and online, more than I needed, more than I wanted to spend, not really what I wanted in general.  On one of the blogs I get ideas and curriculum from she had made her own – thats more my style!  But I didn’t have the tools she used, so I started thinking…

This is what I came up with!

A-Z in upper and lowercase


Want to make your own – super simple and TOTALLY afordable.  How-to after the jump: 



1.5 inch wood disks (I got mine in packs of 22 at Michael’s Crafts for about $3 a package – you could prbobably find them cheeper online or on Etsy)

Letter Stickers (I got mine at Lakeshore for $2 a pack so $4 total for both upper and lowercase – if your handwriting doesn’t totally stink like mine, you could skip these all together and just use a sharpie)


Mod Podge and something to apply it with

Magnets (strip, disks whatever you’ve got or can find – I found this strip for $1 at Michael’s)


Total for supplies (including the optional stuff but not counting the mod podge and foam brush which I had on hand) $14.


Step one: Count out your tiles. If you're just doing the letters you need 52 to do one each of upper and lowercase


The next part is totally optional, but I’m a bit OCD and Anal Retentive regarding stuff like this so…

Several of my disks had "belly buttons" in the middle that stuck out from the machine they used to cut the wood (I assume)


So I gave all these a really quick light sanding using a medium grit paper. It didn't take much at all but made them smooth and nice.


Then just stick on your stickers. I centered mine on the disks and did an upper and lower for each letter. On any letters I thought might get mixed up with directionality I used a sharpie and straight edge (aka the side of the cardboard package the disks came in) to write a small line under the letter so you knew wich way was up and down.


Everything from this point on is totally optional.


OPTIONAL I also made an additional "a" and "r" so that she'd have enough lowwercase letters to spell out her first and last names - interestingly these were the only two repeats lol. I also made two BANG! tiles using a red sharpie to color the disk mostly in and a black sharpie to write BANG! on there.


Next I put a thin layer of Mod Podge on the front of the disks to seal the stickers on a bit better. I was pretty sure that at some point Inara would try and peal them off, so I wanted a small barrier to make that a bit harder to do.


After your mod podge has dried (if you chose to put it on) you could then chose to put a magnet on the back of each disk. Originally I had planned to do this but then decided against it. If you wanted to, all you'd need to do is cut a small bit (maybe a half inch or so of strip) and put it on. I'd probably recomend using a bit of extra glue since the self stick tape doesn't always stay put real well on it's own strength. Or you could use some small magnetic disks and glue them on the same way.


That’s it!  You have a full set of AaBbCc letters that possibly cost you less than $10!  If you went with magnets you can use them in lots off differant ways, or just stick them to the fridge.  If you skipped the magnets, you still have LOTS of options open to you.  If you make these, I’d love to see what you do with them!



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