DIY Spin the Wheel

Sunday, July 17, 2016
Have you ever watched how fascinated children are with spinning the wheel at a carnival? Okay, admit it, it is pretty fun for you too, isn't it? If not, I know I am guilty as charged...  I have a funny feeling that some of you may be too though.  Those spinner games don't seem to be off by their lonesome in casinos after all, do they?  I am certainly not advocating for any type of gambling with your students but spinners in general are awesome motivators to bring into your therapy room or classroom and I am a fan of getting work done in a way that motivates my students to use every ounce of time that we have. Enough with the small talk, you are probably wondering how I made this, aren't you?

Here is what you will need...

2 pieces of plywood (mine were each 12" x 24")
2 hinges
A Lazy Susan (I bought mine from IKEA)
Liquid Nails (or another strong adhesive) to adhere the Lazy Susan to the plywood
Chalkboard paint (to paint the Lazy Susan)
Craft Paint (if you want to paint your plywood)
Nails for the perimeter of the Lazy Susan wheel (Note: I have since switched out the nails to plastic tipped thumb tacks- I like them much better)
1 Zip Tie
1 small wooden dowel

THE CHALLENGE BOARD (this is optional, but I like to use every space I can!):
Spray painted washers in varying sizes
Screw in hooks
Chalkboard Labels

How to make the wheel:

1. Paint the Lazy Susan with chalkboard paint and allow it to dry.

2. Attach hinges to the top of the two pieces of plywood so that your wheel can be free standing.  I do recommend holding it while students spin the wheel though... they can get pretty aggressive in their spins at times.

3. Place nails or thumbtacks around the edge of the top of the Lazy Susan. I initially used nails when I made mine but have since replaced the nails with thumb tacks. I would recommend the thumb tacks because they work quite well and aren't sharp while spinning. You may need to use a small drill bit or get a hole started with a nail to place the thumb tacks in. I used a little dab of hot glue to make sure that they stayed in place.

3. Using Liquid Nails, attach the bottom of the Lazy Susan to your hinged plywood.

4. Attach the small dowel to the plywood approximately an inch from the Lazy Susan wheel by drilling a small hole and using wood glue.  Then attach a zip tow to the dowel. You may need to trim down your zip tie after it is attached. As the wheel spins around, the zip tie runs along the thumb tacks and will act as the pointer.

If you would like to add the challenge board to the other side, simply space out the screw in hooks along your board and attach chalkboard labels. I imagine that you could also use Washi tape to write the names. Use spray painted washers in varying sizes to then track homework completed, goals met, stations completed, whatever you little heart desires.

Here I was using the wheel to spice up a progress monitoring activity.  You can find this Language Progress Monitoring Tool by Natalie Snyders here.

The wheel is one of the most popular tools in my therapy room.  The beauty of the chalkboard paint is that you can change its use at a moment's notice. I use it to decipher between student turns, wh- questions, descriptive attributes, randomly assigned points, prizes, actions, comprehension questions, categories, and so on. This is where you can really let your creative juices flow!

I hope that this tutorial was helpful for you. Please comment below with any additional ideas or questions that you may have. Thanks for stopping by!

1 comment

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