Age level: Early Elementary
Description: Chef Pop de Pop is a fun and silly counting game that allows for lots of practice with basic math skills with an element of sensory play that is uncommon in most board games. It’s simple to learn and easy to modify to meet your learner’s unique needs. The object of the game is to collect the most cards by adding up the popcorn on the dice in the popper and matching them to the total on your own cards.
Skills & Modifications: While I have played this game as designed with a few learners, I’ve modified it quite a bit for several of my students. Take a look at the Snapguide below for more detailed information on the modifications and visuals I used to help my students access and enjoy the game.
Counting – At it’s root, this is a simple couting game. It’s great for teaching early counting skills (counting from 1-4) as well as introducing the concept of zero. For example, if the learner shakes the popper and no plain popcorn is showing, you can ask “How many pieces of plain popcorn do you see?” The learner can respond “none” or “there isn’t any.” You can introduce the word zero if it is appropriate for your learner’s current level of skill.
Matching – This is a great game for practicing matching with learners who have mastered matching identical objects and pictures. Matching the number of pictures on the cubes in the popper to the pictures on their cards not only generalizes the skill, but broadens it as well.
Scanning – One of my favorite parts of this game is that it’s easy to modify it to practice different levels of scanning skills. Several of my students were highly motivated by the popper, so (as indicated in the Snapguide) I could just use the popper to practice scanning skills before introducing the cards. I also sometimes just spread the cards out, as pictured at right, and all players would race to find cards that matched what was shown in the popper.
Early Addition – Learners do not have to match the number of pieces of popcorn to only one card. For example, if four pieces of caramel popcorn are showing in the popper, a player can match it to a card showing 1 piece of caramel popcorn plus another card showing 3 pieces of caramel popcorn. It allows for lots of practice with adding up to seven in multiple ways (since there are seven cubes showing popcorn in the popper.)
Peer Play – This is a great option for peer play because it allows for all players to play simultaneously. The pace of the game is relatively quick, so there’s not a lot of time between a learner’s opportunities to shake the popper, which helps maintain motivation and interest in the game.
Flexibility – Adding the “action die” into gameplay provides lots of opportunities for learners to practice flexbility as they handle game situations in which they may lose a point or have a player take a card from them. For some learners, I modify the game so that we do not use the action die at first. For other learners, we only look at the action die when “Pop” comes up, as many of them are motivated by the opportunity to spot it first and yell “Pop!”
Pros: The popper adds a unique sensory element to the game that is enjoyed by players of all ages. I also love any game that is easy to modify. I’ve been able to utilize these materials with a wide range of learners. For more information, take a look at the Snapguide above. I also love that the instructions provide two ways in which to add up final points so you can easily differentiate based on your learners’ current skill levels.
Cost: $16.99 You should invest in this game if: you are an elementary school teacher, you have learners who are motivated by counting or matching, or you are seeking entertaining games to play with elementary-aged siblings.
ABLLS: A10, B5, B18, G13, K15, R1, R9, R16, R23, R24, R25, R26
VB-MAPP: VP-MTS 6, Tact 13, Math 13, Math 14
**Chef Pop de Pop was provided to me for free by the company Gamewright to write about here. This did not influence my opinions on the game. The thoughts and ideas above are all my own.