Geoboards aren’t that different in look and size from Peg Boards, but their purpose and use is completely different. At the last preschool where I worked, we had homemade geoboards, which were fantastic. They were solidly made and kids could really work to cover them with loads and loads of rubber bands.
Usually, the boards are about 12″ X 12″, made of wood or plastic. Some people use push pins to create the grid, but I prefer heavy nails, pounded deeply into the wood so that the rubber bands can’t pull the pins out. This picture shows a really well-made geoboard.Once you have your piece of wood, you can lay out a grid with an even number of spaces on each side. Place the nails about 1 to 1 1/2 inches apart evenly, and pound them in securely. Here is another “recipe” for making a geoboard.
What is the purpose of the geoboard? Geoboards support early math concepts such as geometry and number concepts. As children use the rubber bands, they create shapes on their boards. They can make squares, rectangles, triangles and other “sided” shapes. Be sure to talk to the children about rubber band safety as those colorful missiles are going to be pretty attractive.
Here is a picture of a very simple geoboard.
Children will also explore number concepts as they try and put the rubber bands around a certain “number” of pegs. They may try and pull it around 3 or 4 pegs or “all” of the pegs. Initially, expect them to simply play with the boards as they are pretty enticing (especially if you have provided plenty of colorful rubber bands) and later, you can give them directions by asking them to create a “square” or a “triangle.” Of course, as children approach school age, they can create shaped that have specific dimensions, i.e, 4 X 4 square or a 3 X 5 rectangle. The possibilities are endless.