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Monday, June 17, 2013

Summer Boredom Buster: Make Your Own Board Game!

For some parts of the country, school is just letting out for the summer. In other parts, like where I live, we're already almost four weeks into summer break! So that means the inevitable summer boredom is creeping in a little. Who am I kidding? My kids were complaining they were bored the very first day of summer! No joke!

On one of those first "I'm bored" days I whipped out a Lego board game idea I found on Pinterest. It was an extremely simple game of rolling dice and moving along a very simple board where you gathered or lost Lego blocks till you reached the end. As I played this with My Little Reader, we were brainstorming various ways we could improve on the game. One of my older kids came and joined us and the more we talked about it, the more she wanted to make her own board game. Then My Little Reader wanted to make one too!

So the next day we pulled out cardboard and our big roll of paper, crayons, markers, stickers, and got to work. I sat down to help My Little Reader, and was really excited to implement all our great ideas into our own board game. He had other ideas. He had come up with an entirely new concept (one that I barely understood), and he could not be swayed to use any of my ideas. My assistance ended up being utilized merely for coloring and writing.

But it was OK, because My Little Reader was having a ball and getting to be creative, use critical thinking skills, tinker and design, and imagine his own little story. Because that's what a board game ultimately is, right? It's a little story you (or your pawn) ventures through, and the adventure changes a little each time.

I wrote the words on the game spaces for my son, but he dictated it all and oversaw the process (he's kind of a bossy pants). It was great print awareness practice, as he used words to design the game the way he wanted. Then as we played the game, he got to see the words he came up with being read and used over and over by the game players. Games are great tools for demonstrating the power and purpose of words and print. "Steal another player's treasure" or "lose a turn" can carry great significance toward winning or losing. Especially to a competitive preschooler!

My Little Reader had a ball with his board game! We have all played it many times. He takes great pride in his creation, and loves to see us all having fun with it. This was a spontaneous activity that kept my kiddo busy for quite a while, and helped him practice some of those valuable literacy skills while he was having all that fun!

How are you keeping the summer boredom at bay in your family? 

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