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Editor’s blog: Are your kids bored? Make a board game!

Last week, my daughter was in a Girl Scout day camp, and thus we both got a break from planning play dates and finding creative ways to dodge the heat – and, even more menacing, summertime boredom.

Leave it to my daughter to tackle the boredom monster head on this week. She disappeared for a while yesterday and returned with a book I picked up on the sale rack at a bookstore several years ago, called Rainy Day Crafts & Activities.

First, she tried the bubble paper art project, which, frankly, only took a few minutes, used up a good amount of dish soap and food coloring and didn’t yield the promised results of paper with colorful bubbly patterns on it. Blowing into a straw submerged in a cup full of blue, soapy water was fun – as long as you didn’t inhale.

Creating a board game

Today, she opened the page to What’s Your Game?, which provided instructions on how to make your own board game. Parents, here is a winner! Imagine the degrees of creativity! Do you have a kid who loves fairies? Let fairies inspire her. The players can travel through magical forests created by her or dip into enchanted fountains. Does your daughter love


sinister creatures of the deep? Create a monster-inspired game. What about space? One wrong move and you shoot through a worm hole to an alternate dimension. There are truly no limits to what your child can do with this activity.

My daughter, ever the beach lover, opted for an ocean theme. Then she drew out the rectangular board, and drew pictures or put directions in each box. If you land on the jellyfish, you go back one space. Land on the beautiful sunset, jump forward. Shark attack? Back to square one. Land on an “aqua card” square, pick up a card and do what it tells you to do. (Note: we have finally found a great use for my old Rocky Mountain News business cards, which are being recycled for use in this game!)

The kid can truly dive into his or her core interests and make the game as easy or hard as she wants it to be. They get to figure out why the game does – or does not – work the way they thought it would with the first roll of the dice. My daughter was happily engaged in making this game for hours! I sat with her and acted as consultant, which means I read the newspaper and occasionally chimed in with an idea. Never mind that she ignored all my bits of advice. She made it entirely on her own. We stole a die from a Monopoly game, used two rubbery ice cream sundae erasers as game pieces, and played.

I won twice right off the bat and that didn’t go over too well, causing a slight adjustment in the rules. But let’s just say the real joy here was in the creation of a game.

Interested? Here are some instructions from wikiHow.

Know of other good links to fun kids’ activities and crafts? Share them by posting a comment. Did you or your child try out the game activity? Share your ideas!

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.