Are you familiar with the little games that involve rolling small round objects around a board in an attempt to lodge them in shallow divots? Here’s a make-your-own version that my nearly six year old son, Andrew, loved. With only three steps (the third one being to play the game!) it can’t be beat for simplicity.
- a cardboard box or tray (we happened to have a shallow tray, but even a shoe box would work)
Step 1: Design the Gameboard
If your box has a flip-top cover, cut that off. Use markers to create any fun picture or design on the floor of the box. Be creative. Pick an animal, a geometric design, a landscape–anything that suits you.
Andrew’s first choice was a lizard, but he didn’t want to draw it. Thankfully he agreed to a snake which was easier for me! I was happy to draw the snake for him, but I did want it to be his project so encouraged him to color or decorate it. He didn’t know what to do, so I added a stripe to the snake. That was cool, so he wanted to do the rest of the stripes. Each time I suggested something he’d say, “What’s it look like?” I’d make a sample and he would add his own versions. Eventually he took over, adding grass and decorating the edges and the bottom of the box too.
Step 2: Make the Divots
Decide how many holes you want and where in the design you will place them. Use a pair of pointed scissors to poke a hole. Wiggle and twist the scissors to make the hole bigger and round.
Test one of your marbles to see if it sits in the hole comfortably. You don’t want the marble to fall through the hole, but you do want to be able to manipulate the box and have one or more marbles stay put while you try to lodge the remaining ones.
If you trust your child to poke the holes himself, go for it. I was more comfortable doing this myself. I also trimmed the excess cardboard off the edges of the holes on the bottom of the box–not necessary, but it made me happy.
Step 3: Play the Game!
Put your marbles in the box and see how you do! Use a marble for each hole or add an extra. Keep track of which color gets left out each time. Use fewer marbles than the number of holes and try to make the marbles land in different holes each time.