It’s the time of year when we enjoy reading The Jolly Christmas Postman, doing Humpty Dumpty’s jigsaw, reading The Gingerbread Man’s annual and playing the hazardous board game that Little Red Riding Hood receives from Mr Wolf. After playing the game for what was at least the tenth time in a row we decided to make our own. We had such fun, it was a lovely way to spend an afternoon.
We drew our own board or you can use a template (we like these from Donna Young’s Homeschooling blog). Then the learning started as my daughter wrote all the numbers in order which was also a great exercise for practising handwriting. Once the board was numbered we got out our nursery rhyme and fairytale books and thought of actions (good and bad) that we could use for some of the numbers on the board. (It was interesting how gruesome my daughter wanted to make some of the actions which made me think about how dark some of the tales and rhymes are. She almost seemed to be relishing the characters’ misfortunes! Like Little Red Riding Hood’s game my daughter wanted to colour the positive action squares pink and the negative action squares blue. It’s difficult to read them from the photo so here are the actions that we included;
Number 5: Burn your mouth on porridge. Go back to the start.
Number 7: Sail to 24 on the Owl and the Pussycat’s boat.
Number 10: The witch is dead. You are safe. Go to 17.
Number 14: Throw 6 to wake Snow White up.
Number 16: You burnt the hot cross buns. Miss a turn.
Number 18: Fall off the Billy Goats’ bridge. Miss a turn.
Number 21: The woodcutter cuts the wolf. Go to 25. (This was my daughter’s suggestion, she originally wanted to cut the wolf in half until I asked her how she would draw it!).
Number 26: You mended Humpty Dumpty. Move 3 places.
Number 28: Help Little Bo Peep find her sheep. Throw 3 to go.
Number 30: Chased by the big bad wolf. Run to 36.
Number 34: Fairy Godmother invites you to the ball. Go to 38.
Number 37: Get caught in a spider’s web. Throw 4 to get out.
Number 40: Poisoned apple. Throw a 3.
Number 44: Help Hansel and Gretel go home. Move on 2.
This was such a fun activity and my experience is that most children enjoy making their own board games. As well as ordering numbers and handwriting practice we enjoyed revisiting our favourite fairytales and nursery rhymes. In a classroom situation writing game rules also gives children practice in writing instructions. Playing board games also provides several learning experiences including counting, taking turns and learning to deal with winning or losing.
You can adapt this activity for many other stories. My daughter really enjoyed making her own board game, I’m sure this will be the first of many!