Learning Challenge for Kids: Design a Board Game

Creating board games involves kids in researching, reading, creative thinking, logical thinking, and experimenting.

By Susan Stephenson
Apr 03, 2015




Apr 03, 2015

I love board games and what they offer families. Apart from the fun of playing together, playing a board game is a wonderful way for children to learn social behavior. Almost unconsciously they pick up things like taking turns, following rules, and being a good sport. Getting away from those ever-present screens to play a board game together has helped lots of families re-connect with a time when life was simpler.

Have you ever thought about asking your children to design their own board games? Give it a try and I bet you'll be thrilled to see all the learning and creating that takes place. Here are some tips to help children get started on this challenge:

1. Take a look at board games you own already or those you know well. What things do they have in common? How are they different?

2. Think about what you noticed. What kind of board game would you like to invent? Lots of board games have a journey that players must go on. Some build in cards that ask questions; others have chance cards. Most board games offer each player a special piece to represent them on the board.

3. You might like to create a board game that takes place in an interesting world -- that might become your theme. You could choose Ancient Egypt and design a Pyramid for the middle of your board, and special game pieces that look like the gods of Ancient Egypt. Or you might make a game set in Cupcake Land and make a tiny bakery from recycled card.

4. Many games have timers, dice, or spinners that dictate game play. Think how you might like to make these pieces.

5. All games need rules. Make a list of rules you think you need and then try playing the game. Adjust the rules as you come across problems.

6. Once you have a few ideas, gather together the supplies you might need. You might like to sketch out some rough ideas on paper first -- that helps lots of people plan a project. Then it's time to start creating!

7. As soon as you've made your game, invite some friends to test it out by playing it with you. Make sure everyone understands the rules.

Creating their games involves kids in researching, reading, creative thinking, logical thinking and experimenting. Remind children that most inventions don't work instantly, but need lots of trials to perfect them. Above all, playing and designing board games is meant to be fun, so let's enjoy ourselves!

Have you and your kids ever designed a board game? Do you have a favorite board game your family likes to play? Let us know on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.


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Board Games