How to Make A Board Game: Awesome Family Fun : Rediscovered Families

How to Make A Board Game: Awesome Family Fun

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Looking for a family activity to encourage your kid’s imagination? Invite them to help you design and make a board game. It’s creative, fun, and practically free.

Have you ever heard that creative hum? The noise of children totally engrossed in open-ended creative activities?

I love that sound! My boys and their friends invented lots of imaginary worlds and created their own games. I still remember the hours of laughter, concentrated play, and discussion as they set out the rules and constructed their games.

This is the best kind of play.

Are you looking for a way to encourage that creative hum? Do you want a free activity that will engage the imagination?

Why not invite your children to design and make a board game? This is something I have done with many children. It’s a fun activity and seems to appeal to all age groups. Most children enjoy board games, but there is something special about creating one of your own.

It’s a fun family activity and it’s practically free!

How to Make A Board Game

Note: These steps are not linear. They are numbered, but you will find yourself moving through them back and forth as you create your own game.

Looking for a family activity to encourage your kid’s imagination? Invite them to help you design and make a board game. It’s creative, fun, and practically free.

As you go through the steps, I encourage you to take a step back and follow your children’s lead. By all means ask questions and provide help as needed, but offer space for your children’s imagination to take flight.

1. Choose a theme

Decide on a theme for the game. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

  • Adventure (jungle adventure, pirate adventure, space, explorers, deep sea ….)
  • Family life and activities
  • A movie
  • A book (Narnia stories, Harry Potter, Fancy Nancy, Pete the Cat…..)
  • Landmarks in your town

Take a look at the board games you already own for inspiration. Could you adapt one of them?

2. Make your board

There are two options

  • Draw your own board game on cardboard or Bristol board
  • Print out a board template.

Downloadable Templates

Tim’s Printables has a nice selection of templates. Choose black and white or color.

The National Museum of Australia has two templates.

Looking for a family activity to encourage your kid’s imagination? Invite them to help you design and make a board game. It’s creative, fun, and practically free.
Two Templates from The National Museum of Australia

A simple roll the dice game for young children. Download here.

A more complex game board for older children. You make game cards to place in the middle of the board. Download here.

3. Make your game pieces

Make game pieces from small objects you find around the house such as Lego men, small plastic figures/animals, buttons, coins, shells or rocks.

Or make your own. Here are some simple ideas.

Kid’s Activities have instructions for making personalized game pieces. Adapt this idea by drawing (or gluing a picture) onto some card stock. Cut out and mount on a bulldog clip.

Me and My Inkings has instructions for making  games pieces out of clay

4. Add some rewards and challenges that fit with your theme.

Print them straight on the board or create game cards. Index cards cut in half are just the right size for game cards. For example

  • The dog ate your homework. Go back 2 spaces.
  • You won Canadian Idol!! Earn 2 tokens.
  • Meet a monkey who steals your watch! Go back five spaces
  • Hold your tongue and say the alphabet.
  • Darn you forgot your lunch. Lose a turn.
  • Make a funny face.

Encourage creativity and humor!

5. Decide how you want to move the pieces.

Will you draw cards, use a spinner, or throw dice? Will you use a combination of these methods? You could even make your own specialized dice or spinner.

6. Decide on the basic rules.

These will probably change as you play the game, but it’s good to have a starting point.

7. Play the game.

You may have to make adjustments and tweak the rules as you go along. The main thing is to have fun!

Need more Inspiration and help?

Helen Neale at Kiddy charts describes how her daughter created their own monopoly game, based on their hometown

Amanda and Kelly, from the National Museum of Australia, demonstrate how to make a board game using the simple game template featured above.

If you are like me and want your kids to engage in open-ended inventive play, try making your own board game. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and it will provide an opportunity for your kids to amaze you with their creativity. Who knows maybe you’ll come up with a real winner!

Have you ever made your own board game?

5 thoughts on “How to Make A Board Game: Awesome Family Fun”

  1. My boys love board games and family game night can pop up any time of the week, but we’ve never made our own game. This is such an awesome tutorial with so many possibilities… thank you for a brilliant idea!

    1. Sharon Harding

      Thanks KT! I hope your boys enjoy making and playing with their own board game. I’m sure they will have loads of amazing ideas.

    1. Sharon Harding

      It is a classic isn’t it. Lots of families are making their own version and that sounds like fun!

  2. I`m having the “week of imagination” at the kindergarden, I have the bigger ones, so I would for sure use your ideas as part of the activities with them. Thanks for a great post.

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