Playing Dominoes With Your Kids

Dominoes are great for developing spatial awareness and fine motor skills. In addition, they can inspire kids to think and imagine!

After the dominoes are shuffled, each player draws a domino for his hand. The player who draws the highest double makes the first play of the game. The other players follow suit.


Dominoes are small flat thumb-sized rectangular blocks that have one to six pips or dots on each end. They are commonly used for various games and can be played by matching the ends of adjacent pieces or forming a number or other specific combination. They can also be arranged in angular patterns or lines. Dominoes originated in China and are often referred to as dotted cards or Chinese dominoes. They differ from Western dominoes because they do not contain the military-civilian suit distinctions or duplicate combination tiles.

The word domino probably derived from the black domino half masks worn by Christian priests to contrast with their white surplices. They became popular in the 18th century and spread worldwide, particularly in cafes. They arrived in Europe from Asia, possibly with Marco Polo.


There are a number of different rules and regulations associated with domino. These rules apply to different types of domino, and they vary from place to place. They include rules that regulate the number of points a player may collect, the way in which the game is played, and the time limits for playing each match.

For example, in All Fives, players must keep track of the tiles they have not been able to play. This information helps them score more points and avoid losing their winning position.

Players must also take care not to expose their dominoes to other players. Any exposed domino must be placed on the correct end of the line if it is discovered before the next play. If a domino is exposed more than once, the player must pay 20 points to the opponent and notify a UDL Official.


Depending on the rules of the game being played, there are many different variations of domino. The simplest of these is the Block game for two players; it requires a double-six set from which each player draws seven tiles. The first player places a tile on the table which starts the line of play and the players alternately extend it with one matching domino at either end. A tile played to a double that has the same value on both sides is called a spinner.

Dominos are rated according to the number of spots on each side, and the total number of spots is known as its rank or weight. The higher the rank, the more points a tile is worth. In addition, there are several other metric categories.


Traditionally, domino pieces are made of ivory or bone. These pieces are often molded to be twice as long as they are wide and to have a back side that is blank or decorated with a design. The domino face is typically marked with an arrangement of dots or pips that corresponds to the number value of the piece. There are also blank tiles (designated by a zero suit) that can be used as well.

Modern commercial domino sets are typically made of synthetic materials, such as ABS or polystyrene plastics or Bakelite and other phenolic resins that approximate the look and feel of ivory. These are a lot less expensive than the high-end wooden dominoes that many consider works of art and command much higher prices.


The scoring system in domino is an important part of the game. A player must score points by matching the free ends of two of the dominos at the end of a line of play. Doubles may be played crosswise, and their pips count as the total of one end of a line.

If the exposed ends of a domino (the initial domino played and the two sides of a double) add up to a multiple of five, a player scores that number of points. The player with the highest score wins.

Some players keep track of their opponents’ numbers and report them to the winning player at the end of each hand. This helps prevent a stalemate in which neither player can advance.