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How to Design Games for Children

Play is children's work. When the children set up their game or repeat the same play often, we call it a game. Most games for children have the skills to test - which can run the fastest, which can roll or throw a ball or beanbag, which can be calculated. Most games have a direction which we call the rules - frozen when blowing his whistle, stay behind the yellow line, taking only five cards. Most games have a penalty and incentive to play (we call that win). Designing games for children, therefore, involves choosing skills, provide rules and creating penalties and incentives. You may have to provide a few simple ingredients, and the game is an example.

Follow this Steps below:
1. Choose a skill for your game. For ours, the skill is throwing beanbags into buckets. Make 2 tape lines approximately 3 feet apart (4 to 5 feet apart for older children). Children will stand behind one tape line and throw beanbags into buckets arranged behind the other tape line.

2. Make up directions or rules. For our game, you must stand behind the line to throw. You get 3 beanbags for your turn. You can throw them at any bucket you want. Then it's the next person's turn. In general, the younger the children, the fewer and simpler the rules. Violations will emerge--you can't push the person throwing over the line, no line-jumping, the same person can't clear the beanbags out of the buckets for everyone, no hair-pulling--whatever. Those you deal with one at a time; the rules remain simple.

3. Create a penalty. In our game, we're going to keep score. If you step over the line when you throw, your throw doesn't count. If you miss the bucket, your throw doesn't count. You don't get any more beanbags until your next turn.

4. Create the incentive and the definition of winning. For our sample game, the incentive: the smaller the bucket, the higher the score. Put a big number 1 on a card and tape it to the biggest bucket. Tape a 2 to the next smaller and a 3 to the smallest. These are the points you earn when you throw. Winning: The person who gets the most points after everybody has had 3 (4, 5) turns, wins. Keep score on paper. Do it again if everybody wants another chance.

Things You'll Need
3 buckets of different sizes
3 index cards
Masking tape
Paper and pencil to keep score

Tips & Warnings
Games are as varied as your children's play and your own creativity. Watch the kinds of play your children like the most and return to most often for clues about designing games.You don't need special equipment; the toys they like will give you ideas. Children have invented their own games for as long as there have been children. Watch what they do, and you may need to do nothing more than provide some interesting supplies to make the game work. Children over age 7 can even be engaged in making the rules.

The hardest thing about playing games is losing. When you design a game, try to make it possible for all the children playing to have some success. If you have one or two children who constantly excel, leaving others as chronic losers, throw your winners a silly curve. In the beanbag game, for instance, everyone has to throw sitting cross-legged or over their shoulders. Things like blindfolds also tend to level the playing field.

How to Design Games for Children

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