|Stuffed Shelf of Traditional Games|
While there are many wonderful games to purchase that are beneficial to young children, I always enjoyed making my own. It offered the opportunity to make them specific to a subject, theme, holiday, season, or another other topic of interest. I could also make different options such as having a simpler version for the youngest child while offering other challenge levels to the older ones.
These four games can take you a long way! Here's the basics you'll need to create your own games:
Other versions include Memory Letters (matching same letters, upper and lower case, letter to picture of something starting with that letter, etc.), Memory Numbers (direct matching of objects, numeral to object, numeral to numeral, etc.), Memory Math (simple to complex problems with answer matches). You get the idea - there are so many possibilities.
Children really get excited when you use their own artwork as the base of the matching. I'd take a photo of their creation or even of them in action being creative and then shrink the photo size to fit our cards. The first time I introduced this to them with photos of them and their own projects they went into fits of giggles - what a great surprise!
Tic Tac Toe
|Puppies vs. Dog Bowl|
Markers should be two equal sets, one for each player. I always made sets of 9 markers - just to have enough on hand. We would occasionally loose one or two along the way. Some ideas include Holiday Wreaths vs. Holiday Trees, Acorns vs. Pumpkins, Sandals vs. Beach balls, Tulips vs. Roses - there is no limit to the ideas here. You can use stickers, children's drawings, photos, etc. to identify each set of markers. Also, you could use actually small toys for this as well - Lego's, cars, tiny action figures, etc.
|Simple Photo Puzzles|
While the classic game of Bingo is fun we wanted to spice it up and it's so easy to do. Your base cards are what you build the game from. Obviously the column topper is typically B I N G O and this can work for any theme choice, but you may want to think of other options such as BEACH, EARTH, PARTY, COLOR or a child's name and/or age like A L E C 6. Let children get creative with this and you'll have tons of ideas in no time!
After you've have you column topper chosen, the next step is to make the base grid with a free space in the middle. Then determine what you are using for the Bingo spaces. We often used stickers that reflected the theme for our game - Holidays, Colors, Shapes, Birthday, Sports, Disney, Vacation, etc. Base cards should each be a little different. You'll need a set of small cards for the "caller." If you plan on keeping different versions of the game I suggest laminating the cards and putting each set in their own zip lock bag.
Typical bingo games have 15 numbers assigned under each column heading but with these homemade games you may not have that extensive of a variety per column so the game plays a little differently. Here's a scenario of what a game might be like - as the "caller" I would have a blank base card with my column topper heading, I pull the first card from my pile and call "under the letter E, flip-flop sandal", next card "under the letter C, beach ball" and so on. You may have "beach ball" also under the letter B. Players need to keep in mind the column as well as the matching picture as they go. The "caller" needs to keep track of what they've called.
Card markers can also vary from small candies to small toys. We've used small erasers shaped in the theme and then players can keep them - great for parties. Buttons are great. They come in lots of colors and shapes. You can get large amounts of them at the craft store. We've also used those mini sized pom-poms. So look around and get creative!
We've made photo versions as well for birthday parties - pictures of the birthday child, friends, pets, favorite activities, etc. One year I announced we were playing BINGO! I didn't get a very enthusiastic reception (they claimed they were "too old", it was a "lame game", etc), then they saw the photo cards and really got into it. It was a huge hit, making for some incredible birthday memories!
|Large Game Tote|