14 Days of Adventure – Day 13: Design Your Own Board Game

Wow! Only one day left of the 14 Days of Adventure Challenges! You know what that means? Almost time to go back to school! But there is still time for two more challenges! Today . . .

Day 13: Design Your Own Board Game!

Board-GameBored with all those old board games? Why don’t you invent your own? It’s easy to do and you’ll have something you’ll actually want to play when you’re done!That’s right! The regular games are way too old and stuffy. No one wants to play those games. Besides, the rules are way to boring and hard to understand. Why don’t you use your old board games and/or cards to make up your own game!

Start with an idea. What sort of game do you want? A skill-testing one like Trivial Pursuit? A chance one like Sorry? Once you have that in mind, design your board. Draw out a rough copy on a piece of paper. You can have the entire board comprise of squares like a chess board, or squares around the edge like Monopoly, or you can create a wavering design like Candyland. Of course, there are many more options, shaped boards are fun and your squares can be any shape you like.

Now, take an old game board or a piece of cardboard large enough to be a game board and decorate it according to your design. You can paint it, glue on shapes made of felt, colored paper, or foil, or use markers to fix it up. Anything goes.

Once you have the board, you will need pieces. You use virtually anything for playing pieces. Pennies, beans, or small toys work well. Of course you can always use playing men from other games. If you want pieces that are completely unique, try making your own out of light cardboard, the sort of stuff you would get from cereal boxes. Draw out your playing piece design and add 1/2 inch rectangle at the bottom. Now, cut the whole thing out and fold the rectangle under. You will have a piece that stands on it’s own.

Another way to design standing pieces is to cut the rectangle out seperately from the piece and cut a slit in the middle, halfway through. Now cut a slit in the bottom of the playing piece the same length and fit the two bits of cardboard together so the slits are joined. Voila! Another standing piece. This one will stand a little straighter, too.

For really personal playing pieces, take a photograph of yourself and anyone who will be playing the game and cut it out and make a base for it with the slits. You can be yourself or take turns being each other.

Now, depending on your game, you may need cards. Index cards work very well for this purpose. If you prefer, you can cut them in half for smaller cards. Decorate the back with a chosen design, something simple like a star, because it will be repeated a lot! Using a stamp makes the whole process much easier.

Now write the question or statement on the front of the card. You might need to look up some stuff on the computer or in an encyclopedia to write challenging questions. Or you can randomly write, ‘go back 2’, ‘go to the next green square’, etc. Stack all the cards on the board and trace a line around them. That will be the special card square.

If you cho0se not to have cards, you might want to write some directions right onto the board. For example, you might design a hiking game where you have a trail of squares winding across the board. You might put a paper tree across one square and write, ” A fallen tree, you must wait. Skip a turn.” Or you might write, ” You get chased by a bear, run ahead three squares.”

You can add photos and pictures clipped from magazines to your game as well. Play it a couple of times and adjust the rules to work the best. And then, play away!

Or just create a fun/funny game with cards. Take your index cards and write funny directions on them or the other players. As each player picks up a card, they have to do whatever is on the card.

If you haven’t played this type of card game before, you’ll need to have 60 blank index cards for 3 or 4 players. Any more players and you’ll need 80. The number of cards usually determines the length of the game, and the game gets bogged down with over 6 players.

Before the game begins, you’ll need to pass out 6 cards to everyone if you have an odd number of players, and 5 to everyone it the number is even. All players create cards out of their index cards and shuffle them back into the deck (I’ll cover how to create a card later). Then the game begins.

Once the deck is shuffled each player is dealt a 5 card hand (the deck has pre-made cards and blank ones). The person on the left of the dealer starts and turns go clockwise. To take a turn, a player draws a card from the deck and then plays a card (or passes). The played card is used and then discarded unless the card has instructions that need it stays on the table. Once a card is discarded, it is gone. It’s effects don’t work anymore. Cards in the deck also don’t work until they are drawn (yes you can work in somebodies hand).

If a player has a blank card, they may write on it at anytime. They can’t rewrite or add to existing cards. In the event that someone creates a card that must be played immediately, or can be played at any time–that card overrides any cards and you must follow that cards instruction before any others (unless someone else plays a card ontop of that).

Play stops (but the game isn’t over) when someone needs to draw a card and there are none left. When this happens, count up the score (preferably tallied on a notepad) and determine the winner–and count the total points. Once the winner is determined, set out all of the cards so that everyone can see. Going in turn order, each person picks a card to keep until each person has 5 cards. The author of the most cards picked also wins! Players keep their 5 cards and the rest are either thrown away or kept for later games.

Card Creation Guide

Here are some simple guidelines for creating cards:

-Make a title for the card

-Draw a picture (it doesn’t matter how good an artist you are, everyone ends up drawing doodles and stick figures in the end anyways).

-Finally, write the instructions on the card. This can be: “I get 100 points!”, or “Skip your turn”, or “Dance like a chicken,” or even, “Your name has been changed to Vegeta. -100 points to you or anyone who calls you anything else.”

-Cards cannot say “I win”, or “you lose”. Also, cards can’t take cards from the deck (if you need more cards, you have to pass after your draw). On top of that, cards can only take one card from another player’s hand (you can’t just take other players cards). You can’t give yourself more turns, or skip more than one person’s turn. Finally, cards can’t affect who can write, or how people can write cards.

-Cards can only do one thing each (cards can’t gain points, skip Joe’s turn, and make Joe discard his favorite card all at once).

-I suggest you set a limit to the number of points players can gain or lose in one card per turn (I use 100 as a max).

Beyond that, anything is possible (at least as far as I know)!

Have lots of fun and be creative! Bring your game to school on Monday and show us what you created if you make your own game!



14 Days of Adventure – Day 12: Design Your Own Indoor Fort

Day 12: Design Your Own Indoor Fort

fort1There is nothing that kids love more than being in their own private hideaway haven. And there’s nothing more fun that crafting it yourself in the comfort of your own home by building an indoor fort. This is a wonderful indoor activity that will provide many happy memories, especially if mom and dad participate in the building and actually spend some time in the hideaway. Here are some tips for making unforgettable forts:

  • Designate a specific construction area. Give them specific instructions about what areas and materials are off limits.
  • Start with a sturdy base so that the entire structure doesn’t come crashing down on your heads. The dining room table, a large cardboard box (preferably refrigerator size!) or an existing play hut or house are good starts. A camping tent (if it’s accessible and easy to set up) makes a wonderful indoor fort. You can also create a structure by draping blankets over the backs of chairs.
  • Decide if you’ll build a communal fort or if each kid requires their own space. If your resources are sparse, consider separate areas within a common fort.
  • Provide plenty of soft quilts and pillows. Kids love to use the sofa cushions to bolster the walls of their creations.)
  • Flashlights really heighten the fun! Give each child their own flashlight to play with in the fort.
  • If it’s feasible, provide a non-messy snack and let the children eat in their fort.  It can simply be carrot sticks and cheese slices, but that can be better than any gourmet feast because they can eat it inside the coccoon of blankets draped over the coffee table.
  • Extend the magic by furnishing the fort with lots of accessories. If age appropriate, a boom box can provide a soundtrack, playing favorite songs or read-along books. No fort should be without a collection of favorite stuffed animals. And, if you’ve provided flashlights or other ample lighting, a fort is a great place to snuggle together and read away the afternoon.

14 Days of Adventure – Day 11: How to Play Marbles

Day 11: How to Play Marbles

karen-dupré-marvelous-marbles-iI never grew up playing marbles. For me, it was trading the hockey stickers that came with a book. Your parents probably remember those. You got a sticker book and then you had to buy the packs of gum with the stickers in them. You always wanted the ones that were for the pictures that were really big; the ones where you needed more than one sticker to make one picture. Those were always the hardest ones to get because there was always one that you could not get!

Marbles seems like a much cheaper activity and was one that students used to play in the earlier days of school. Apparently it is still popular. So, I thought for today, I would provide you with the instructions for playing marbles. You can play inside or out. All you need is a package of marbles which you can get from any dollar store, some string and tape. Here is a video explaining how to play and some other instructions.

14 Days of Adventure – Day 9: Be Theatrical!

Day 9: Be Theatrical!

sock-puppetYou can make your own puppet theater. Begin by cutting off the finger-ends of old gloves. Draw faces on these fingers with felt tip markers and glue on yarn for hair. Or glue on felt strips to create cat, dog or other animal faces. Then create a story that the finger puppets can act out. You can plan a performance, make a simple stage somewhere in your house or on the steps of someone’s home, create a handout for your play with the name of the play and the actors names and sell tickets.

You could also cut out photos and paste them on popsicle sticks and have a puppet show. Make sure you ask your parents first before you cut out any photos or gloves!!! To make your theatre, just take two chairs, tie a string between them along the top and hang a blanket over it. Sit behind the blanket and hold your figures up!!

Make up your own stories or you can get some stories to act out from these websites:

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse

Reader’s Theatre Scripts and Plays

The Reading Lady

Shorter Scripts

TeacherhelpThis site has all sorts of ideas for puppets and some Christian plays for you to act out as well!

Bag Puppets – This site helps you to make puppets with paper bags. There are a whole bunch of sites where you can print out animals, cut them out and glue them to your paper bag to make puppets.

14 Days of Adventure – Day 8: Create Your Own Winter Olympics

Day 8: Create Your Own Winter Olympics

2010_winter_olympics_logo1Are you going a stir crazy? Have you been watching too much tv? I thought that for today we would try and get some exercise and have fun with our brains at the same time. Instead of watching the Olympics, why don’t you create your own? Here are some ideas for doing your own Olympics event at home. I got these ideas from a whole bunch of different places. Do you wan to do these activities with a group? Add to the atmosphere for the afternoon by creating a torch to light the opening ceremonies of the games by decorating the cardboard tube from paper towel. Then cut twelve-inch squares of red, yellow, and orange tissue paper, two for each color. Lay the squares on top of one another and push the center of the squares into one end of the cardboard tube. Leave most of the tissue poking out of the tube. Separate the layers of tissue for flames.

Scoring for each game can be up to the players – they can determine the winning number of points for a game. Or kids playing on their own can create their own challenges. Have the students create a map of their events and where they are taking place as well.

The Joyful Heart Blog has a great post on how they did their Winter Olympics. You can use their ideas for your own Olympics!

Our Opening Ceremonies were not grand by any means, but it built excitement that would lead up to the Olympic events for the day.

  • We located Vancouver, British Columbia on our globe (as well as the other countries for which we had flags).
  • Each child represented their chosen country. We attached mini flags to our shirts and to our winter hats to indicate which country we represented.
  • We reviewed and discussed Colossians 3:23–24.
  • Make Olympic rings from tissue paper
  • To get more familiar with the winter sports involved in the Olympics, we viewed photos of real events and watched a few short video clips from the official Olympic site.
  • Next, they played Winter Olympics Bingo.

Our Olympic Events

Figure Skating
The Olympians ‘skated’ in their sock feet, attempting to spin and twirl on one foot, jumping and landing on one foot, and of course, performing the free skate.

Ice Cube Bobsled Race

Yes, we had to bundle up…After all, it’s cold on the track!

Olympic Ring Toss
The Olympians attempted to throw diving rings onto a full bottle of pop.


Cross Country Skiing


Snowball Throwing
Snowball Throw1
Snowball Throw3
Should he have been disqualified for stepping over the line?

Sight Word Ice Hockey
Sight Word Hockey
This was a cute idea from Making Learning Fun.  You could also do addition or subtraction facts!

Figure Skating

Use this link (‘ice’ hockey player and figure skater) to make your own figure skaters in a cup and roll them along the counter. See how far they can go or try to make them twirl.

Additional Activities
For added fun, we brought some snow inside to discover ways to melt it.  Each child received an ice cube as well and tried to be the first one to make it disappear.  They tried adding salt to it, pouring warm water over it, rubbing it between their hands, and even tapping it.

You can also do a Roll and count activity, Olympic word searches (1) (2).

Here are some more activities you can add to your events or just make up your own!

Sock Basketball

Roll up a few pairs of socks into balls. Place an empty wastebasket or bucket near a wall where there are no breakable objects. Stand five steps back from the bucket and throw the sock balls into the wastebasket. When this becomes easy, take a step back. Kids can keep trying to see how far back they stand from the basket and still score.

Hold a trick shot exhibition – underhanded, under the leg, with a jump, with the opposite hand, etc. Kids can time themselves to see how many sock balls they can get in sixty seconds.

Potato Bowling

Draw a circle on a large piece of paper. Place the paper on the floor and take two steps back from the circle. Get four potatoes and roll them toward the circle. Because potatoes aren’t round, this is more challenging than it sounds. When it does become easy, take another step backwards.

Field Goal Challenge
Wad a few pieces of paper into tight balls. Cut a twelve inch piece of string. Turn this into a goalpost by tying this string to two chair legs three inches above the floor. Lie or kneel on the floor. Set the paper six inches from the string goalpost. Flick the index finger against the thumb to flip the paper over the goal post. Earn a point for each field goal. If this is easy, tie the string field goal at six, nine, or twelve inches off the floor.

Broom Hockey

Roll a pair of socks into a ball. Find some space to play the game where nothing can get damaged. Set a kitchen chair or another chair with visible legs at one end of the room. Take the sock ball and a broom to the opposite side of the room. Hit the sock with the broom bristles with the goal of getting the sock between the chair’s legs.

Tennis Ball Golf

Gather a yardstick, three tennis balls and three large aluminum cans (the tennis ball should fit inside). Set the cans on their sides with the open ends facing the player. Take five steps back from the cans place the tennis balls on the floor. Hold one end of the yardstick and tap the other end against a tennis ball to roll it into one of the aluminum cans.

Tennis Ball Bowling

Look for a hallway that isn’t carpeted. At the far end of the hall, set up ten empty cans or cups as the bowling pins, set into a triangular shape. Step to the other end of the hallway and roll a tennis ball at the pins and try to get a strike by knocking down all the pins.

With recycled materials and other things found around the house, like ping pong balls and coins, kids can play indoor Olympic games. Whether alone or testing their skills against their friends, kids can award themselves with sticker stars or make an Olympic medal to wear.

14 Days of Adventure – Day 7: Let’s Get Folding!

Day 7: Let’s Get Folding!

grulla-en-origamiPaper-folding or origami,  is a lot of fun and requires a great deal of focus and fine motor muscle movement. As such, it can be great exercise for students in persistence, patience and coordination! Today, I have collected some fun resources for you to practice your folding and make some neat creatures and toys!

First, you can practice some folding with a cloth, handkerchief, towel, table cloth; anything that is square. Print out the paper below and practice the different folding techniques the Japanese use to carry objects around. You can get some nice cloth and make it into a gift package as well!

Japanese Folds

Easy Origami

easyorigamiNext up, I found this awesome origami site where you can make tons of neat and easy animals. The site is easy to use but also has some at different levels. It has printout instructions as well as animations to help you fold the paper. All you need is some paper. Make sure that your paper is square! Click on the picture or use the links on the left side under “Links”.

Polar Origami

polarorigamiThis is a very nice and easy to use site with paper models of animals and other things found in the polar areas. When you click on a picture, you get a video showing you how to fold your paper. You might have to wait a little to get the video, especially if you are trying to watch the Olympics on the computer at the same time. If you click on “Fold More Models”, they have another section of models on a different theme.

Paper Critters

papercrittersThis site lets you design your own critters by adding faces and other parts to your critter. You can then print out your creation, fold it and have fun!

The Toymaker


Here are some free paper toys that you can make yourself. Just print them out, cut, glue and enjoy. I especially like the marble mouse one!



This last one is a little harder and may require you to have adult help. The designs are neat and you get to make several well known objects from around the world, including cars, buildings and other things. Just a little tip: When you print them out, print them out on tougher paper and try to get your parents to enlarge them if they have access to a photocopier. They will also do it at Staples for not very much money!

Have fun folding!!! If you do make one, bring it into class when school starts and we will put it up on the blog!

14 Days of Adventure – Day 6: Make Cookies

Day 6: Make Cookies

Making cookies (or anything in the kitchen for that matter) can be a wonderful learning experience for children. Not only do children get to learn about using measurements for getting the precise amount of ingredients needed for the recipe but students also learn about how mixing various items results in a completely new form; in this case, cookies. At the end of the lesson, of course, is a tasty treat.

This can also be an opportunity to be a blessing to others. Package those cookies up in some attractive boxing with a ribbon and have your child give them to a loved one. Or head out on the streets with your child and hand them out to strangers and watch the smiles abound. Your child will learn to make cookies while learning measurements and how the act of giving can be a blessing to others. Not bad for a 1/2 hour of work!

Alternatively, you could make pizza but I wouldn’t suggest doing it this way.

14 Days of Adventure – Day 5: Win a Medal At the Olympics

Got your attention didn’t I? Well, you won’t actually win a medal but here is a fun game to play to imagine that you are in the Olympics . . . if they had snowmen in the Olympics . . . . if the snowmen had skis . . . if there actually was enough snow to make a snowman. Anyway, it’s . . .

Day 5: Win a Medal At the Olympics

Play the game below. Simply ski the snowman down the hill using your arrow keys and collect the parts of the snowman. Don’t hit the trees though. If you ski from side to side that will slow you down.

14 Days of Adventure – Day 4: Create a Nature Scrapbook!

I hope you have been enjoying the 14 Days of Adventure Series! Let me know in the comments if you have liked any of these ideas and have done any. Or bring your creations to class when the break is over. Here is today’s adventure: 


Day 4: Create a Nature Scrapbook!

nature-wood-road-wallpapers_1743_1280One of the things I remember doing as a child for one of my Scouts badges was creating a nature scrapbook recording a day through our local forest. It was a collaboration of journal entries, illustrations, observations, narrations, photographs, and discoveries. I spent a wonderful day with my father walking through our forest collecting samples of leaves, seeds, bark, and other items of interest. We also spent some time drawing some of the things we found in the little stream (as we couldn’t take those with us!) as well as took photos of anything we liked including birds.

At home, we compiled all the things we found into an album adding field notes, descriptions and the photos we had taken. We used nature books to find out the names of the flowers and trees we had seen and animal books to write down the names of the birds we had seen. We used labels to add these names and descriptions to our book just like we have done in Science.

It was a wonderful time with my father and we learned a lot about the things that grew around us just like in Danny the Champion of the World.

Here is some more information about creating a Nature Scrapbook:

How to Make a Nature Album

A Creative Scrapbooking Project for Springtime

A great way to welcome the onset of spring is to create a scrapbook album focused on the themes of nature, birth and growth.

As snow begins to melt, the onset of spring brings with it many opportunities to celebrate the beauty of the great outdoors. Compiling a scrapbook album that captures glimpses of spring is a wonderful way to preserve the memories that accompany the season. The following suggestions will help inspire scrapbook enthusiasts to create a simple album.

Basic Scrapbooking Tools

The first thing that is needed for a nature album is the actual album. Scrapbooks come in a variety of sizes and are available in many department stores and craft stores. It is important to remember that if photographs or other sensitive memorabilia are going to be used, the album and it’s pages need to be acid-free.

Once the album is chosen there are a few other basic tools that will be needed for the project. These items include;

  • A 12″ x 12″ paper trimmer.
  • Scissors or other manual paper cutters.
  • Acid-free adhesives (tapes and glues).
  • At least one acid-free pen for journaling.
  • Page protectors (if they aren’t already included with the album).

Although they are not required to complete a basic nature album, using a variety of scrapbooking embellishments on layouts (such as brads, stickers, letters, ribbons and eyelets) can help to enhance album pages. Such items can be found in scrapbooking specialty shops in large quantities and in many different themes and colours.

Create Magazine Collages

Look through nature and wildlife magazines for pictures that center on outdoor themes. Choose pictures, titles, and words that stand out from the rest. Cut and paste the clippings onto an album page to create a collage that represents a spring related theme. Some themes that work well for a magazine collage can include;

  • Outdoor adventures.
  • Peace and solitude.
  • Spring activities or events.
  • Spring vacation spots.

Preserve Keepsakes from NatureTake a walk and collect leaves, crocuses and other wildflowers. These can be pressed and then preserved in scrapbook layouts in a variety of different ways.

Create Traditional Scrapbook Layouts

Take pictures of the surrounding beauty and growth that takes place as the snow melts. Zoom lenses can be used better capture the details of flower buds, greenery and new wildlife. These pictures can be put together to create a nature specific layout of their own, or they can be used with photos of family activities or community events that take place this time of year.

Always Include Journaling

Whether it be short descriptions of basic facts about an event, or lengthy creative entries related to the season, journaling is essential to the overall effect of a layout.

  • Bulleted lists can be used to outline the main points.
  • Write one or two sentences beneath a picture to add some details to the theme.
  • A brief but descriptive paragraph can enhance the imagery of the layout.
  • Detailed storytelling can be used to share behind the scenes information.

A nature album need not be complicated or take a lot of time to complete. The main purpose to constructing a nature album is to capture the essence of the outdoors and the beauty of new life. How much or how little one prefers to include in her layouts is strictly a matter of taste.

So, get out there and get started on your nature scrapbook today! Enjoy the beautiful weather!!!