Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The color box game


Around mid-morning one day last week, I realized that the kids were on their third TV show (as I dealt with making an offer on another house...which was also not the accepted one).  There wasn't really time to get dressed and sunscreened and to play outside before lunch, but I wanted them to burn some energy.  We've been doing a lot of variations of "If You're Happy and You Know It" lately--jump up and down, wiggle your body--and I wanted something like that, lots of movement, silliness, and a quick pace but that would last a little while.  Here's what I came up with.  (I did it a second time to get pictures for the blog.)

3-5 pieces of different colored construction paper (I only did three the first time for time's sake)
glue (or just use the tape)
shoe box-sized container (optional)

Make a box out of each piece of paper by folding it into thirds the long way,


quarters the short way, (in half twice--pictured is just once, of course)



and cutting into a cross shape.


Use your first one as a template, and save one square scrap from each color.

Here's the fun part.

Each of the other colored boxes represents a kind of task.  This time around I made orange "animal noises," yellow "songs,"  red "dance moves,"  and blue was "trivia."  I had the kids help me choose the specific tasks, and they had fun naming animals, songs, dance moves.  For trivia I wrote things like "Sing the ABC's" and "Point to your      ."  I included a question mark on one side so I could ask them random but more specific stuff like Grammie's dog's name, what letter their names start with, and so on. Nothing Jeopardy-level just yet.

At this point it looks like the strangest Sunday school project ever.

I assembled my boxes by taping along the edges of the two side squares and the top edge of the top one (sticky side of the tape pieces all facing the same direction).  I folded all of those "up" and taped on the inside.  You can tape on the outside as well as that's a little easier.


I didn't worry about making these perfect.  We'll probably get a few games out of this before the boxes are destroyed, so I wasn't going to sweat it.



Cut those square scraps a little smaller and glue or tape each one to a side of the main box.  I went with the green one as the kids know that green means go, and this is the box that gets used for every turn. You can do this with just a total of three boxes if you choose (I did that the first time) and put two squares of each color on the main box instead.  On the remaining blank sides I put a smiley face and a sad face.  Smiley means you get to pick which box you'll roll next, sad face means you lose a turn.  Only do that if your kids will be cool with that, of course.  Don't torture yourself if they're not the best sports at the moment.  :)


We roll the boxes in a small basket--that just felt right to me.  After rolling the main box, the player rolls the box that matches the square that comes up.  If it's the song box, the player sings the song.  If it's a dance move, one must do the dance.  If it's an animal get it.

Can you tell I had cutting helpers?

Michael and Sophie love this activity from start to finish, from "helping" to make the boxes, to choosing the details, to playing.  I love that this game is adaptable to whatever phase the kids are in.  You could even make a box with simple math problems or sight words or pictures to describe in Mandarin Chinese...whatever is a fun challenge for your kids at that moment.

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