Getting children in kindergarten involved in crafts is a wonderful way to expand on the learning activities of their class. Crafts can help promote good hand-eye coordination, use of imagination, cooperation with others, and direction following. Some crafts can go a step further by helping them learn colors, numbers, shapes, math, science, history, languages, and just about anything else you can think of.
This article will focus on making a game board for your kindergartener. The game board can incorporate as many learning aspects as you choose, but make sure it isn’t too complicated. Encouraging your child to help you make the game board can be a learning opportunity as well (not to mention a good opportunity to sneak in some one on one time).
These are the supplies you will need to make a game board:
A large, bright piece of poster board
Glue (glue sticks are the easiest)
Scrap paper in any color
Decorating supplies of your choosing (makers, crayons, glitter, etc.)
Buttons (or other items suitable for game pieces)
Optional- A hole punch and brass fastener (if you’re making a turn wheel)
First come up with a game that you child enjoys or make up a new game all your own. Try to incorporate things that you child is learning about in school to reinforce what they are being taught already. I recommend a game my son and I came up with, it incorporates trivial pursuit, life, and chutes and ladders all in one (for an extra creative touch let your child come up with the name).
Next come up with some basic rules and decide on what to include in your game. Will your game revolve around luck, decision making, knowledge, and/or money? Will you have quiz cards, decision making cards, bonuses, and/or money? Will you use dice, a color wheel, or cards for movement?
Then think about the layout of the game (my sons favorite shape is a star so we used that). Use a piece of scrap paper and draw out your proposed design, keeping in mind how they will get from start to finish. This is where the mixing of games comes in; you can get imaginative and make it more fun by not making all the spaces the same.
If you decide to use multiple aspects for your game you can make some spaces for luck (a reward or penalty for them landing on that space), some spaces for knowledge (simple quiz cards), and some spaces for decision making (cards that require a decision to be made by them).
Here are some ideas for each one of these aspects-
For spaces of luck you can have chutes and ladders placed though out the board, a reward of a free turn, a penalty of going back spaces, a prize of free money, and/or a lose a turn card.
For spaces of knowledge you can include quiz cards that are based on your child current level of knowledge and a reward for answering the question right (you can always make new ones later as your child masters each set). Make sure they are not too hard and that they reinforce what your child is learning about. For instance, if your child is learning about colors and shapes you can have a card that asks what a certain shape and/or color is and the reward for answering the question correctly could be moving ahead a number of spaces or a free turn.
For decision making spaces you should have cards that ask your child to make a decision. An example would be a card that asks them to choose between doubling their next roll or spin, and moving ahead a certain number of spaces now.
After you have made your decisions and sketched it out on scrap paper, it’s time to draw it on the poster board. Cut out the shape you have chosen (save the scraps if you’re making a turn wheel) and draw it in pencil first so you can erase any mistakes. Then decorate your spaces brightly, color coding the ones that pertain to a certain topic (your decision, luck, and/or knowledge spaces), label the board where needed (start, finish, go back spaces, etc.), and add the finishing touches with glitter or other decorations. Cut out, write, and label any cards or money you have chosen to include as well (color coding the cards according to the spaces associated with them is easiest).
Now that your game board is finished it’s time to make the game pieces. We use buttons because they are inexpensive and come in a large variety of shapes and colors (you can even decorate them if you like). You however can use whatever you find suitable. You can even make pieces from clay or make paper stand ups.
The last step before the fun begins is purchasing dice (or using a pair from another game) or making your turn wheel. If you decide to make a wheel you can use the left over poster board from when you cut the game board out or even a sturdy piece of paper will do. Cut it into a circle and draw the different spaces on it diagonally, with each one meeting in the middle (like pizza slices). Color the spaces in and label each one with a number (usually 1-6). Now make an arrow out of scrap poster board and punch a hole in the end. Punch a hole in the middle of the circle and fasten the arrow to the wheel with the brass fastener.
This is just an example of the many creative ways to make a game board. You can make it as educational, simple, or silly as you like; just remember to have fun!
Please note: This craft requires the supervision of a grownup. Children should not be allowed to handle scissors or other sharp objects alone.