Do your kids need some extra help with their times tables? Practice for an upcoming spelling test? Or are you like me and just need to organize the snow day/rainy day/holiday chaos a little? Accomplish it all with a great big do-it-yourself board game.
For today’s Adventure in Learning, we’re promoting the kids to game designers. Creating a board game offers kids lessons in design, teamwork, and whatever else you’d like to throw in.
In a nutshell, the game works like this: players roll a die, land on a color, choose a matching color card, and then perform the task written on the card. The game is straight-forward, but the possibilities for design and challenges are endless.
And because you can scale this activity up or down to include any number of people and varying degrees of difficulty, it’s great for family game nights and gatherings this holiday season. You can even play in teams!
What You’ll Need:
- a roll of paper – butcher, kraft or wrapping paper
- construction paper
- makers or pens
- game pieces repurposed from another board game or coins, small toys, etc.
The Set Up:
- Roll out paper to cover your table.
- Cut construction paper into 4 inch by 4 inch squares. You’ll want to cut enough to make two sets—one to cover the board and one to use as game cards.
- First, glue squares to paper to create a game board.
- Next, write down activities on the stack of blank game cards. Feel free to get creative! Here are some ideas:- Math facts: count by 3s, 6s, 8s, etc
– Gross motor actions: turn around three times, use the table as a drum to make a beat, do 12 jumping jacks, pat your head and rub your tummy while you count to 20, etc
– Create a list of words that rhyme
– Name a state capital, state flower, bordering states to your own
– You could even assign different colors to different family members. One family member gets to create all the activities for one color of card.
- Leave most of the squares on the table blank. But add a few spaces that redirect players forwards or backwards. You want enough challenge in there to keep things interesting, but not enough to make it impossible to win.
- As a family, lay some ground rules. Who gets to go first? Who gets to go next? What happens if you aren’t able to perform the activity on the card? Can you ask for help? Can you pass turns?
After your family agrees to the rules, it’s time to play.
– Each player takes a turn rolling the die.
– When a player lands on a color, chose a corresponding playing card. Perform the task on the card. If the player can’t, refer to your family rules.
-The first player who makes it to the end wins.
A few notes:
– You can find rolls of paper in most craft and office stores. I find it’s great to have on hand for coloring, protecting the table from art projects, sketching out ideas, etc. My kids use it all the time. You can also use the underside of old wrapping paper.
– If you don’t have construction paper, have the kids draw a game board using markers or crayons. They can write in challenges directly on the squares on the board.
-Again, the possibilities are endless. If your kids seem overwhelmed by choice, which can be normal reaction, go ahead and offer them some parameters. For instance, restrict them to only animal movements: dance like a chicken, roar like a lion, pretend you have a trunk and swing it like and elephant.