Age level: Early Elementary
Description: Orchard Toys puts out many fantastic games (several of which I’ve written about here on the blog,) but Bus Stop is by far my favorite. At it’s root, Bus Stop is a simple board game that allows you to practice addition and subtraction with your learner in a fun way. Players taking turns rolling the dice to pick up and drop off passengers on their bus route.
Bus Stop is one of those rare games that you can play as designed or use the materials for imaginative play. Several of my students with autism are motivated by playing with vehicles, so this game can also be an entry point into teaching all sorts of skills.
My students love to drive the buses around the game board, picking up passengers as they go along. In order to win the game, you must have the most passengers at the end of your route.
Skills & Modifications: One of the modifications I frequently make to this game is to make it more of a storytelling game. Sometimes we’ll incorporate blocks to build a small town around the road, then talk about who we’re picking up and where they’re going. It’s a nice way to engage with the game, especially with young learners who aren’t yet ready to add or subtract.
The game also comes with two dice. One determines how many space you move on the board, the other determines how many passengers are added to or subtracted from the bus. For some students, I’ll introduce the game with just one dice and we’ll add or subtract one passenger per turn.
Addition/Subtraction – This is a fantastic math game in that it provides a visual of addition and subtraction each time your learner takes a turn. It’s great practice for single-digit math.
Comparing Numbers – The player with the most passengers on their bus at the end of the game wins. This provides an easy opportunity for players to compare the number of passengers on each bus using math terminology such as “greater than” or “less than.”
Accepting Losing Your Turn – While a player cannot lose a turn in this game, young learners who struggle with losing a turn may benefit from playing this game and learning how to accept losing passengers on a turn.
Peer Play – I use this game a lot with sibling play with my students with autism. It’s simple to play, and I’ve found that most of my learners are motivated by the game. Turns are relatively quick which makes it easier for my students with autism to wait for their next turn.
Imaginative Play – As describe in the Skills and Modifications section, I frequently remove the dice entirely and make this more of a storytelling activity. The materials are wonderful and provide a wealth of opportunity for telling realistic stories about a person’s day.
Pros: I really love all the materials included in the game. I also appreciate the diversity represented by the passengers, which is sadly rare in children’s games.
Cons: The only con is that sometimes, when playing the game as designed, you may have the opportunity to add passengers but have a full bus, or need to subtract passengers but have an empty bus. Just be prepared to explain what to your learners what to do when this happens, then move on to the next player’s turn.
Cost: $19.99 You should invest in this game if: you are seeking fun ways to practice addition and subtraction, teach math to young learners, or are looking for a simple board game to introduce to young learners.
ABLLS: K15, R5, R23, R25, R27
VB-MAPP: Math 13, Math 14