Designing your own ‘Board Game’ enables a kid to think Out-of- Box!

Festive seasons are always fun, aren’t they? Ganpati festival was nearing and it was time for my lovely relatives to gather at my place, stay and celebrate together. We all ladies had a good time preparing sweets while the men were involved in decorating the house. And, on other side came noise, tears, tantrums of our notorious kids playing around and creating mess everywhere… phewww… We noticed that the kids were tired and bored of playing with same toys and board games. My daughter, and her cousins were required to be kept engaged, busy and settled in one place to play together.

There struck an idea and I said, “Why not create something of your own?” A DIY (Do it yourself) own board game. The kids were startled and said, “How can we create? What to create? Where are the materials? and so on…The kids looked extremely excited with the idea. So, I stepped back with my thoughts and allowed them to cut loose their imagination.

By involving kids in creating something of their own, gives them utmost satisfaction. The ideas and rules they come up with, might sound funny but they will enjoy the game all the more and learn from their experiences. It teaches them to think out-of-box, learn new things, be creative, discuss with each other, listen well & socialize. Most importantly, this inculcates a DIY characteristic within a child at a young age thereby helping them work on their school projects & assignments independently. With a few materials, and a lot of imagination you and your child can create a game with your own theme and flair. It’s a fun activity and seems to appeal to all age groups.

Here are the step by step instructions-

Step 1: Think of a Theme & a Name

I made them relax and asked them the fun places they like to go. I got interesting answers – First being ‘The Mall’ (no doubt it’s every child’s favorite place including adults😊; A ‘Fun-Fair’ to meet a clown; ‘Super Market’ to shop their favorite food items; a ‘Beach’ to play on sand; one answered ‘School’ as it was vacation, and they miss it the most especially on a holiday; ‘Fountain’ to see water falling (likewise you can add various variations to the game -may be different countries of your kids liking or any adventurous places). I still can’t forget the laughter, fun, and the discussion we had around planning this activity. We came up with a theme and named our board game: – ‘Road Journey- A day in the life of a Transporter’.

To make it more interesting, I added a little twist to the board game – ‘use of MAGNETS’.

Step 2: Arrange Supplies

You can choose items which are readily available at home and if you want to make it more exciting and thrilling, take the kids to the nearest stationery store, and let them select those materials to make their boards and decorate them. You could also make use of your old household/kitchen supplies as well as any left-over crafting materials.

The materials we used include-

-Cardboard Stock (I had reserved it when purchased a new bed sheet from Big Bazaar, it was present as a part of their packaging

-Paint, brushes, markers, pencil, crayons, paints, sketch pen which were easily available at home

-Any light ready miniature objects (cars, coins, candy- these items were available at home as part of other games)

-Five toilet paper rolls (depending on the size of the cardboard)

-Wooden spatula

-10 small Magnets (to stick below each of the miniature objects & one on wooden spatula)

-Fake plastic trees

-Artificial grass powder

-Fevicol /Glue Gun

-White/Colored Paper

-Zigzag scissor

If you don’t find miniature toys, you can create one with a cardboard- sketch on a paper, stick it on a carboard, color with marker pen and shape it with a scissor. Then, glue small circle magnets to each of the miniature items. Allow drying.

To prepare magnetic wand- stick a square magnet to the wooden spatula.

Step 3- Designing

I drew a basic layout of the road map along with the theme places/destination on the cardboard. You could stick a paper on the cardboard to either draw it yourself or ask a child to draw it. You could also take a color printout or use ready stickers available at stores. Basis child’s interest he/she can either color them with crayons, use paints to give better effects.

Once the young gaming wizards assisted me in completing the layout, each theme was divided and kids helped me paint the board, we added elements like fake trees & grass powder to uplift the aesthetics of the game.

It was turning out so cool that the kids got engrossed for hours making their own boards and family members couldn’t believe the curiosity, passion and dedication they showed to build and give their personalised touch.

Step 4 -Writing Game Cards/Challenges

To prepare game cards/challenges, you can use post-it/sticky notes/papers while zigzag scissors, marker pens to make it funky.

The following challenges were created that fitted with our theme. For example-

-Supermarket: Chocolate is out of stock, it’s time to restore it in the supermarket

-School: A student has lost his pencil, he needs it immediately to write in his notebook. Help him get it 

-Fun Fair: Children have gathered at the circus, and the clown has got delayed. He needs your help to reach there 

-Beach: It’s time to visit the beach …carry a ball to that destination to play volley ball

-Fountain: Take a coin to the fountain and make a wish at the wishing well

-Mall : There’s a new collection of clothing, time to deliver a dress to the Mall

-Park : Children want to jump in the park, they are missing a Muddy Puddle. Please carry and place it near the slide

-Home : A Family has purchased new television, it’s time to deliver it home

Step 5- Box it up

The final task to complete the board game was choosing a container to hold the masterpiece – likewise toilet paper rolls were found convenient for the purpose to give the board an elevation.

By now, the kids were kept creatively busy and excited for hours and it was ready for the ultimate reveal. The next day when the entire family got together at the breakfast table, the kids were thrilled to showcase their home-made board game.

Step 6- Time to Play

To begin with, I choose to keep the game simple and then added things for complexity.

In the first round, we kept the theme as choosing your favorite vehicle and each kid drove it along the road following directions from the Start (parking area) till End (back to its starting position). This helped them balance the object well, follow the rules and boosted fine motor skills.

In the second round it was time to play with the game cards. One tray had the game cards while the other tray had the miniature toys. Each kid had to pick one card during their turns, read it aloud. For instance, if the card read- Chocolate is out of stock, it’s time to restore it in the supermarket. The kid had to then pick the chocolate from the tray and keep it on the roof of the car. Likewise, the game was completed when all the cards were read and the items were individually dropped at the mentioned location.

Third round, we included grown-ups as well. In this round, each family member along with the kiddos had to complete the task with magnetic wand. Depending on the object appeared on the card, one had to transport it (object kept at the starting position on the board) to its destination with the help of magnetic wooden spatula (holding it below the board). With the use of magnets (one at the bottom of the selected item & another on the spatula), the object got stuck to it & by moving the spatula, they navigated the object to its destination & completed the task. The game looked quite interesting to them.

If you like being creative & unique and want to engage with your kids in an open-ended inventive family play, try making your own board games. The best thing about DIY is one can experiment, alter, add new changes to its game every time the kids play. It’s cheap, it’s fun, builds memories and provides an opportunity for kids to amaze you with their creativity.

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