Creativity is needed to create your own games. You can incorporate standards such as cards and dice. Or you might choose to create your own accessories. I’ve provided some printables to start creating your own printable games. The end product is up to you.
1. Type of game.
Not all games are created equal. Your game might work well as a board game with rewards for landing on certain spots. Perhaps a quiet word find is what you want. Look through these choices to start narrowing down what type of game you would like to create.
- Indoor / outdoor
- Quiet / active
- Limited space / unlimited space
- Length of time
- Themed game / one-off filler
- Individual / pair / group
- Learning / just for fun
Your choice of theme will help determine your colors, style and even how it might be played. You can look for free graphics online to include or create your own. Determine what your theme will be. Create a color scheme. Collect / make graphics you intend to include.
What is the purpose of your game? Adding dice and counting spaces can help lead into a mathematical game. Trading cards can feature historical facts. Decide what you want your game to do. Incorporate these ideas into your theme.
Templates are a great way to start designing your game. Sometimes you’ll use the template as part of your game or as a design tool for experimenting with ideas before creating your game. Of course, you can find templates for dice, spinners and other accessories as well.
The Enrichment Project supplements for this badge program have a variety of templates to start. Make your own archive of templates specific for game creation.
You’ve played a lot of games. Your kids have as well. Create a list of rules from other games and place into a file so that you have an idea file. You can sort by the types above (Step 1) or any way that makes sense to you.
Using the Acrobat PDF format, distribution is easy. You can keep a clean original and distribute it as well. Create an organization system for your archiving your printable games.
Put it together
7. Rules only.
Some games do not need accessories. For example, “Rock, Paper, Scissors” needs no additional parts. However, a set of rules is a good thing to have on-hand when introducing this game. Brainstorm games that only need a rules sheet. Create one.
8. Printable boards.
Blank board templates can easily be adapted to any theme. By saving the board you create, you can reuse it. Reuse a board game for one or more of these events.
- On-hand filler
Take a blank board and create a printable board game you can use more than once. NOTE: You can make your board game sturdier by laminating, adhering to foam core, etc.
9. Super-size boards.
Looking for a way to direct traffic at an event? Stuck inside with a group of hyper kids? Create a life-size game board. With paper, one sheet counts as a space. You can just use sheets of colored construction paper or mix it up by printing special instructions to mix amongst your regular “spaces.” For younger kids, add a dice with colored sides instead of numbers to your construction paper board.
For fun, AEP has three supplements that are single-page printable spaces to use for life-size games. Incorporate one (or more) of the sets into a game or create your own and play it with your kids.
10. Dice, spinners and numbers.
Dice, spinners and other number generators can be used to move around the board, draw cards, do actions, etc. These items can be adjusted for the age level of your group. For example, young children may find it easier to work with dice that have colored sides instead of numbers (Step 9).
Brainstorm other ways you can have kids include numbers into a game by using paper-created items.
Cards can add variety to a game — from movement to special activities. They can also be utilized as a trading card. The AEP Artist Trading Card template is a great way to create cards. In fact, you might even have each participant at your event create their own unique card and have everyone exchange them as part of a game. Look at how cards can be used as games or incorporated into games.
Putting a monetary twist to a game is another way to change an ordinary game. What would Monopoly be without the money? You can personalize money for an event with a photo, like a birthday party. Use the AEP template or create your own.
13. Counters and playing pieces.
Depending on your game, you might need counters in a variety of types:
- Individually designed counters that represent players
- Groups of counters, like checkers
- Sets of counters, like chess
Explore ways to create / find your own playing pieces.
Mazes can be created simply with a sheet of paper, ruler and pencil. You choose to make it easy or difficult. You can also use a template sheet under a blank sheet and trace the lines you want. Try creating a maze and have someone solve it.
Word games are not only easy to create, there are a plethora of Web sites that allow you to create them. Create the same word game online and by hand. Which do you prefer?
Folding paper is a great way to create a printable game. From paper airplanes with contests for flying feats to paper footballs, we’ve all played with games and toys we’ve created with paper. Try creating your own cootie catcher / fortune teller.
17. Play test.
Just making a game isn’t enough. You need to test it to make sure others understand your rules, you have all the pieces you need and . . . most of all . . . it is enjoyable. Get a group together to play test one or more of the games you created.
Host a party with printable games. These can be ones you found, created yourself or have everyone create a game at your event.
Share the printable games you find and those you create with others who are interested. Be sure to include the rules and any accessories needed.
Sites to Explore
larajla creates / Enrichment Project printable collection