My daughter and I were brainstorming possibilities to add to a local garden as a way to increase attendance. We were exploring interactive ideas. Super-sized games was one of these ideas. While we haven’t implemented any of these, we have discussed them with the head master gardener who was very enthusiastic.
1. Fairy circle.
Circle games are very popular. By creating a “fairy circle” out of paving bricks, stepping stones or concrete, you can create a permanent playing board. For a non-permanent board, try poster board or foam circles. Keep a list, binder or book of circle games for your board.
2. Checkers and chess.
Using paving bricks, colored concrete, different types of grass, tiles, painted fabric or anything else you can think of, plan out a large grid following the design of a traditional checkers or chess board (8 squares x 8 squares). Be sure to alternate the color / look of your squares.
For checkers, try painting any circular item with one color on the top and a different one on the bottom. For chess, use square flat items with multiple layers to indicate the playing piece — single thickness for front row, 2 for knight, horse, castle, 3 for king and queen. Add stenciled designs to the top to help identify the pieces.
What other games can you play with this type of board?
Create a three-by-three grid. This might be as simple as leaving grass between paving bricks or making a sand pit and placing the bricks inside. Paint or stencil “x” and “o” on ten pieces of wood / tile for game play. You can also play Tapatan, Noughts and Crosses, Tripp Trapp Trull or Seega on this game board. Try one or more of these games.
Start with your tiles (numbered pieces). You can purchase precut shapes in wood, tile, blocks, etc. You need to start with the tiles because with a 9 x 9 grid, you’ll need 81 numbers, 9 sets of the numbers 1 through 9. With precut shapes, you’ll only need to put the numbers on them. With those measurements, create a 9 x 9 grid by any of the ways listed above or one of your own.
5. Other boards.
Don’t stop at circles and squares. You can use any shape to create your own boards. Follow a traditional game like mancala or create your own board so you can create your own rules. Explore different boards you can convert into large playable areas.
6. Stacking game.
Create your own Ta-Ka-Radi / Jenga game with pieces of 2″ x 4″ boards. Use a sturdy base like paving bricks, a concrete pad or even a wooden platform to ensure the game pieces don’t shift during play. This game has 54 wooden blocks with the following measurements:
- 3x width = length
- 1/3 width = thickness
You don’t need to worry about following these dimensions or quantity of blocks. You also don’t need to stick with wood. Look into alternatives for the “bricks” that are softer and less likely to hurt someone when they fall.
With a flat playing area, create your own dominoes out of wood. Use round sponges to make dots and use a template for consistent locations. What other materials could you make dominoes from?
Use a hanging plant stand or build one to hang your “body pieces”. Make body pieces to simulate the following:
- Head — 1
- Body — 1
- Arms — 2
- Legs — 2
You can also add pieces for hands, feet, make your legs in two parts, etc. It doesn’t have to look like a body. You can use pieces of wood with hooks at the top / bottom of each piece. You can use your own standard sheet “letters” (laminated), stencil them on wood or use other materials / techniques. Keep the backs blank so you can present the backs to your players to start the game.
9. Other games.
What other games can you super-size? Look at the pieces needed and determine if it is feasible to make a super-sized game.
You could also create your game to be more “free form” and provide a variety of pieces for players to make their own game.
All About the Pieces
10. Playing cards.
Create your own playing cards, trading cards or action cards from standard sheets of paper. Laminate them to help minimize wear. If you create them digitally, be sure to save your files.
My favorite way to make large dice is with plastic canvas. Not only can you make them with pips, for younger audiences you can make them with colored sides. Don’t stop with plastic canvas, try other materials as well. Experiment with making large dice.
12. Tokens / pawns.
Tokens or pawns don’t need to be made. You can use anything you have around your house that is an appropriate size. Plastic mugs, stuffed animals, toys and more can be used as unique pieces.
You don’t have to be a master craftsman to create these items. Check out hardware and lumber supply stores to see what they have. Brainstorm what materials will work for your super-size games.
When choosing materials and building outdoors, your weather will be a major factor. If you have extreme temperature changes, you might find some materials expand / contract differently and you need to adjust your construction. Review the uses for the materials you choose to see what will work where you live.
You may decide to store some of your pieces and / or boards. You may also use a temporary shelter to help protect it. Look at storage solutions so you don’t have to do major repairs to your super-size games every year.
Everything wears out. You’ll need to plan for replacements when you start building. Be sure to keep notes, templates, stencils, patterns, jigs, diagrams, plans, paint colors and other information as you work on your project. When you need to fix items or replace them, you’ll be glad you have this information.
Sites to Explore
To download a PDF of this badge program, click here: EP_Super-Size Games