Today Penny Plays is helping us to design and make our very own board game in 31 Days of Learning. Take it away, Penny! I’m a firm believer in the idea that kids learn best when they are having fun. Board games are an excellent example of this and learning to make your own board game is so much fun!
Children can learn about everything from the basics of turn taking, counting and recognising numbers on dice, through to things much more strategic. Simple games like Snake and Ladders and Ludo can provide a great introduction to the world of board games, but children’s fun can only be limited by their imagination when you invite them to make their own board games.
Once children are familiar with board games in general, they don’t really need much more knowledge to be able to come up with one of their own. At a simple level they could just make a roll and count game where a die is rolled and players work their way around a designed track.
Older children might like to introduce an element of chance. That could be as simple as something like the snakes and ladders ideas that they might be already familiar with, or maybe a square that tells you to miss a turn. For children who are confident writing they could include having to pick up a chance card when you land on certain squares. This might tell you to miss a turn, move forward extra spaces, or even go back a few spaces.
What do you need
In terms of what is needed to make your own game – you really don’t need much at all. An old cereal box makes an excellent game board, but a piece of paper will work just as well. An assortment of felt tip pens is just perfect to draw out their board design and make it nice and clear.
Most of us can find a die or a pair of dice lying about the house. Inventive kids could go a step further and make their own spinner, or even just scraps of paper with numbers on and draw one out of a bag for each turn.
For counters you can either borrow some from another game, or use something as simple as buttons or Lego blocks.
My daughter went one step further and used 2×1 Lego blocks as a basis for more elaborate counters to fit in with the theme of her game. All she needed was some blu-tac and a few scraps of paper.
Where to start
Encourage children to decide on the style of game they want first and then draw out their board. It really needn’t be complicated at all. If your children are confident with numbers you could ask them to number the spaces – much as you get on a Snakes and Ladders board.
If children have a specific interest or passion they may like to theme their board around it. You could even choose your counters appropriately. If you have some small dinosaur toys these would work brilliantly as counters for a dinosaur themed game. Other small collectible toys would also be the perfect size for this.
Enjoy the game
Once the board is complete and you’ve got counters and dice you’re all ready to play. Board games are a brilliant way to bring a family together and children are bound to get a certain sense of pride in knowing that they’ve designed the game themselves.
As a grown up you just have to hope your child hasn’t come up with something quite as competitive as Monopoly just yet!
Amazingly, when my daughter was little (this is Helen now by the way!) – my daughter invented her own game of Monopoly, so once you have completed Penny’s game, why not try to Create Your Own Monopoly too!?!?
We do love a good board game on KiddyCharts actually – so why not check these ideas out too?
We do hope you like this ideas, don’t forget to sign up to our weekly newsletter so you don’t miss out on anything else we release int his event and beyond.
Thanks for coming as always.