Saturday, April 28, 2012

"I'm Bored" Game Boards

If your kids are anything like mine, then you have definitely heard this phase said in the whiniest of tones, " Moooom, I' bored!!"
As much as I love that phrase, it gets old real quick.  So during a rainy afternoon one day after hearing that phrase about a thousand times between the kids and having them reject any ideas I had come up with I threw my hands up and said, "Well, I'm gonna clean the toilet. You can entertain yourselves or help". Can you believe they chose to entertain themselves? I mean come on, who doesn't love to clean toilets? lol.

So while I set to my work, I started thinking there had to be a way in which I could entertain them and still get more things accomplished around the house or education wise. Then like that caffeine buzz you get after having a 6 shot espresso, it hit me. So that night I drew up what would be known as the "I'm bored! Game Board".

Here is what they look like:

I used an 8 1/2x11 sheet of paper and drew 9 columns across and 11 columns down. I did this 3 times, one board per kid. Then I filled each square with this that was relevant to each child. For example, Kat's board here has boxes like make dessert, plan the dinner menu, or babysit brother for 30 minutes. Where as Clara's board has things like, wash windows, put laundry away in rooms,  and set the table. Levi, being the youngest, has things like brush teeth and pick up toys.
And since I never miss an opportunity to educate my kids, I added things like math test, spelling test, write in your journal, science experiment, etc. to all boards.

Then feeling that the kids would refuse to play, which would make my efforts useless, I added things like trip to the park, scavenger hunt, library visit, ice cream parlor, etc.

 I also added 5 special squares. These are special because the tasks are more intense, but come with a great pay off.  If all 5 squares are collected, the winner of their game board gets to pick a prize from the treasure box ( which is extra little toys and things I collect through out the year and wrap up. They then go into a giant box we call the treasure box). The last square I added to each board is a free square, because well, it makes them happy to think they get something for free. :) Don't we all.

So in case you're interested on how the game is played, here are the rules I came up with.
A player can start on any square on the first row. Each square is a space. Spaces are gained by completing the tasks on them. You can only move spaces in a vertical or horizontal manner (see more of that education stuff right there). No diagonals. You also can not skip or jump over spaces (unless a spaces says to, which none of these do, but it might be fun to have some like that).  Once a task is completed a sticker must be placed on it for completion and moving forward ( X's would work too, but we like stickers here ).  Follow this method until you hit the bottom row. Once you have completed any task on the bottom row, the game is over.

Now the 5 special squares work like this: there are 4 on the main board and 1 on the bottom row. In order to get the treasure box prize you have to do the task on each of these and "collect" them. So for the last row, you would have to make that your last square. This forces them to think ahead (see more hidden teaching). If 4 or less are collect, they can be traded in for random things, most likely smaller goodies or candy.

Lastly are the initials on each piece. For every 10 square they complete, it counts as chores towards their allowance. When they choose to use this, I initial them off so we don't get the "but I didn't use them..." whine.

So now when they say, "I'm bored" I get to say, "have you checked the game board yet?" it doesn't always work, but it has definitely cut the whining down by at least half. Which in my book is awesome!!

Do you play games like this at your house? How do you deal with the "I'm bored!" whine?
I'd love to hear your stories and if you should choose to try the game out, please share it!

Hope everyone has a nice and sunny weekend!