Board games are a fun indoor activity for kids to enjoy, but more than just playing them, you can actually create a children’s board game of your very own. The components are easy to put together, and you can either draw your own card and board, or design them on a computer and print them out. Soliciting your children’s advice gets them involved as well, and a family project to make your own game can be as much fun as playing it afterward.
- Come up with a concept for your game. It can be based on your children’s favorite book, superheroes, family events or whatever tickles your fancy. The best basis for a children’s game is a board consisting of multiple squares leading to some final destination, or which the players travel around while gathering a enough points to win. Decide what the victory conditions are, how many spaces the board should have and any other kind of rules you require.
- Add obstacles or rewards on your board to give the game some spice. An obstacle is a spot on the board which constitutes an unexpected development–a setback on the path (“go two spaces backward”) or the drawing of a card that may help or hinder the player. A reward should help the player who lands on it move closer to the victory (“go two spaces forward” or “gain an extra 3 points”). Obstacles and rewards can show up on as many or as few of the game board spaces as you wish.
- Determine the turn sequence and the ways in which the players will move around the board. The easiest method is to simply have each player roll a die or pair of dice in turn, though you can also have them draw cards or spin a wheel.
- Lay out the particulars of your board. You can do this on a piece of poster board using magic markers or in a computer design program such as InDesign or Quark. Include each of the squares on the path, the starting point, the finish point and any obstacles or special squares. The board can be as simple or elaborate as you like, and you can add photos or images matching the theme of the game in the white space.
- If cards are involved, cut a series of index cards in half, and write the text for each card rule out on one side. Add pretty drawings or art if there’s room, but don’t obscure any of the text in the process. Alternately, you can lay the card text out on your computer, then print it out and cut it to size (or simply glue it to the index cards).
- Write down the rules of the game so you know what they are, and so there are no disagreements during game play itself.
- Find some tokens to use on the board. You can borrow some from a Monopoly game or just use common household objects like pennies or paper clips. The tokens need to be differentiated from each other so the players know where they stand on the board.
- Print out any component of the game you’re created on your computer and start playing.