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Making your own family game is a perfect winter activity

Making your own family game is a perfect winter activity. First start by gathering your tools:

Strategy games, such as Blokus, chess, Battleship and Tetris give your brain a workout.
Strategy games, such as Blokus, chess, Battleship and Tetris give your brain a workout.
R. R. Cratty & Public Domain
Making your own family game is a perfect winter activity.
R. R. Cratty & Public Domain


· A base for your board game -- Poster board, cardboard or any heavy weight paper.

· Game pieces – Use, small toys that match the theme of your game, design your own, or existing pieces from your other games.

· Dice, spinners, or cards—Design your own spinners with a piece of cardboard, color it to match your game, create an arrow from a piece of the poster board and a metal brad or a screw. Use one from another game. Cards can be created quickly from blank index cards. Even quicker just use a pair of dice.

· Markers, paints, pens, pencils, etc.

· Stickers, magazine cut-outs, family photos, etc.

· Scissors, glue, ruler and you’re ready to go.

Family Game Meeting:

· Discuss and write down your ideas. As a family you will need to decide:

· Themes and “genre.” Is it going to be like Candyland, Sorry, and Monopoly…or will it have a story? Consider will this be a game based on luck or based on skill? It could be based on a math skill.

· What are the mechanics, the fundamental way the players will play the game? Will they roll dice, buying and selling property, or is it a race to the end? (Remember to keep the ages, and number of people in your family in mind.) Keep it simple and fun for all, and make sure everyone can play.

· Decide how players will win. Each player needs a goal to use as an incentive to win. Consider, as a family, the different ways that the players could win.

· Decide and write out the basic rules. These can change as you are creating your game, but a basic set of rules and how players will play and win will keep everyone focused.

Create a dummy game. Using a piece of scratch paper create a rough test game so that you can play around with the details. This will give you time to think about a path. The start and finish places and to set out a clear direction for the players to travel along. Or it might have a playing field. Positions on which to land. These can be designated by shapes, or colors (squares, circles, triangles) or drawn objects (flowers, candy, dinosaurs). Make sure that some positions redirect players, instruct them to pick up cards, or cause them to gain or lose spaces. (Think Chutes and Ladders).

As a family quickly test your dummy game. Explain that you are testing the game to see how it plays and all can add more ideas or make changes.

Gather your materials and have fun creating the final version of the game.

Illustrate your board. Let your little ones decorate the board – remember to take a picture of them creating it and affix it somewhere on the game or on the back, include the date and plaing instructions.

Create the game pieces. Your child can draw the images on paper, then glue them to a thick material such as cardstock. Or use photos of each family member. To make the pieces stand, cut out a strip of cardboard that you can fold into a triangle, then glue to the back of the photo or piece for support.

Create or gather additional materials. If your game needs cards, dice or spinner, make sure you create or gather everything you need.

Time to play. Celebrate your creation and enjoy your game.

FREE Templates:

If your family would rather work on a game board template and you are looking for a free game board to print, check out:

Interesting Game Books:

· Favorite Board Games You Can Make and Play by Asterie Baker Provenzo and Eugene F. Provenzo Jr

· A Board Game Education by Jeffrey P. Hinebaugh


Links for more family fun game ideas:

· Competencies in mathematics with card and dice games

· MONOPOLY® creates family holiday fun and memories

· Clue® board game is a gift of deductive logic

· Learning at home is a new parent resource

· Fun with word games

· Video Family Night - A powerful solution for family connection

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