Friday Fun: My Son Made a Board Game

Happy Friday!

Initially, I hadn’t intended on posting today, but my son created something I promised I would share about. So I’m here to take a break from all things books and writing to be a proud mother.

I don’t know if it’s because we’re basically locked back up at home again now that the delta variant is spreading, a mask mandate has returned to our county, and my kids don’t have a vaccine available to them, but my kids have been getting very creative. They’ve taken to drawing, coloring, and painting to the point I really need to get more paper. Soon. We’re also running low on popsicle sticks, and probably dry erase markers as well. The chairs have been scraped across the floor so much I’m surprised we still have floors. And there’s fake paper money literally everywhere. And cardboard. And tendrils from the hot glue gun.

Anyways. Earlier this week, while I was making dinner, my kids were making a game. I didn’t get a chance to play it, but their dad did.

My kids (they’re 4 and 7 and have good and bad days as siblings, but can usually be found getting themselves intro trouble together) dragged all the pillows they could find and laid them on my bedroom floor. Why my bedroom, I have no idea. But they laid them out, got out a die, and started playing…something. According to their dad, the rules were very fluid.

The next day, they did the same thing, but in the living room. It turned out to be a sort of nebulous circle of pillows and blankets, because little kids never seem to have a shortage of those. Dad was working, so I got to play. My son, the 7 year old, told me what happened when we landed on each pillow (oh, did I mention we were the game pieces?). It definitely favored him, and confused the living daylights out of me.

I like to keep things fair, especially since his 4 year old sister was also playing with us. I took paper and pencil, drew out his game board of pillows, and wrote out what happened when we landed on each pillow. The more I wrote, the more it looked like an actual board game.

I asked him if he wanted to turn it into a board game. Of course, since it’s been about a year since he last played a board game, I had to explain what that meant. But then he was all for it.

My son and I worked together to make his board game. I drew out a board and he told me what kinds of things should happen to players and what color they should be and where to place everything. Of course, we did have to tweak it a little as we started playing through it because some of it didn’t actually make sense. Then we made yellow tokens so we could keep track of how many loops we had done (3 loops to win, though it was initially 5 until we learned it took a really long time to get even 1) and blue shield tokens so we didn’t have to remember if we had one to use on a bad luck square or not. We also made some crude player pieces and my son gave them all faces.

child's game

This is, apparently, how a 7 year old likes to torture his parents:

  • Purple spaces are bad luck spaces where players lose a turn
  • Pink spaces send all other players back to Start
  • Yellow spaces give the player who landed on it the opportunity to send another player back a space
  • Green spaces teleport players back to Start and they lose a loop
  • Blue spaces give the player a shield
  • Orange spaces are most definitely safe spaces

And of course there are a lot of spaces that send players back to start and make them lose a turn! Let’s also not forget that players can go in either direction from the Start square, making it even more difficult as we have to remember not only which direction we’re going in, but which direction everyone else is going in. I need to make more tokens. Or convince my memory it’s time to stop sleeping.

But nothing beats when we finally got to play it through as a family and Dad was a square away from completing his first loop and had to return to Start and lose a loop. Definitely the brain child of a newly turned 7 year old!

So, that’s my son’s board game. I love how creative he is, but, really, couldn’t he have made it a little easier on us?!

And now I’m off to try to figure out how to turn this into an actual board game with nifty pieces, a glossy board, and its very own box. And to convince my son a game where literally all, except four, spaces send a player back to Start is a bad idea.

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11 thoughts on “Friday Fun: My Son Made a Board Game

    1. It’s a good thing it’s a small board, but it’s more interesting when he gets frustrated by his own game and I have to remind him he created it. We’re still working out all the kinks. Hopefully in a less frustrating direction!

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  1. How awesome! And it actually worked. I remember having to build our own board games in elementary school. About half of them didn’t work but the students who built the games didn’t realize that until we tried to play them in class. Props to your son =)

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    1. Thank you! He’s very proud of it. It did require a couple of small changes, otherwise it’s surprising how well it worked. That’s fascinating making one was an elementary school project! I’ve never heard of that before, but it certainly sounds like a lot of fun.

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  2. Wow Kat! Your son’s game sounds amazing. To think, a 7-year-old came up with such a strategic game that the whole family can play. And personally, I think all of you are creative because you worked as a family to make the game come alive. I absolutely love it! You know I’m all for encouraging children to use their creative abilities. So, it warms my heart to hear how your children are making the best of their time at home. Your babies are brilliant inventors. Make sure you monitor them closely on what they gravitate toward in their skills, abilities, and things they aspire toward. You may look up one day, and they may have just stumbled upon the next best invention to rock the world.

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    1. Thank you so much! He’s so proud of it and has been trying to make new games since. It’s definitely a fun family activity that’s only required a couple of small changes. He prefers video games, though the ones he plays involves creating his own games, so I’m just so thankful he managed to switch all that creative energy into a physical game, and it would be so cool if he turns out to be an inventor!

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      1. Well, all I can say is it will be so fun to see what your Little Man ends up continuing to develop an aptitude for. It looks like he’s going to be really good at multiple things. (Hope you can keep up, Mom.:)) And thank you so much for sharing these family snapshots of your life. You know I love this kind of stuff. Have a great rest of your week.

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