Owning an enormous collection of board games doesn’t stop us from making up our own! Whether you & your family have a lot of games or just one old copy of Scrabble… there are games all around you, ready to be made.
I decided to make a quick and easy file folder board game featuring the 4th of July for 3 year old GoGoGirl.
I called it “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
First, I traced a large bottle cap (one from a bottle of juice) as many times as I could on the inside of an opened manila file folder, making a long snaking path. Because GoGoGirl sometimes has trouble following the path on her games, I decided to also link the circles together to give her a visual cue.
I labeled the starting area “GO” and colored it green, and the finish area “STOP” colored red. These are words that she’s beginning to recognize (unlike “start” and “finish”) and I knew that having the colors tied in would be an extra help.
I took a small wooden cube from the craft store and used acrylic paint to make a red star, a white star, a blue star, red stripes, white stripes, and blue stripes. I used markers (and white crayon for the white objects) to repeat this pattern on the path of circles on our gameboard.
Once the paint on our die was dry, I pulled three Meeples from our stash (red, white, and blue tokens, of course!) and we played the game in the style of Candyland. Roll a blue star, and move along the path to the next blue star.
The game is just as easy and quick to play as it was to make. The kids and I played several times in a row, and then I showed GoGoGirl how she can play it on her own, just for fun to let her “little man” walk the path.
I’m planning on making lots more file folder games and activities for her this year, things that she’ll be able to pull out and play or work on independently while I’m helping her big brother KarateKid with his math or science.
Even a simple game like this teaches holiday vocabulary (stars / stripes), simple sight words (go / stop), colors, left-to-right and single-direction movement, turn-taking, and more. (Like making your Meeples kiss and hug if they land on the same space!) Games are great!