DIY Magnetic Board Games

Things have been hectic around here lately with school, work and assorted life wrenches. For the most part, Dorian does his schoolwork online, but yesterday, he was learning about magnets, so I decided it was a good time to do some offline work.

We dug out all the magnets we have and tested poles and checked which items in our house have iron in them. We also discussed the very important experiment Dante did a couple of years ago when he put animal magnets on a computer screen.

After playing around with these, we came up with an idea . . . why not make a game?

magnetic game

This is the space game that Dante and I made. You use a magnet under the board to pull the little astronaut along the path through the universe, without getting off track.

space magnet game

Dorian wanted to make a jungle version to play AFTER the space one. “This is the planet that the astronaut lands on!”

jungle magnet game

As you can see, these are crazy simple to make. We used thin cardboard from a tea box and a notebook cover. We then drew a path, added decor in the way of drawings, stickers and cutouts and then we colored them. The little people were made from paper stuck to a bit of magnetic tape and then cut out. You could also glue them to a small paperclip, but I happened to have the tape on hand.

You’ll also need a magnet underneath. We found that most magnets worked well, but round ones can tend to flip the little player around because of the poles. So you might end up going off track.

Here’s what I used in these fun little games (they literally bought me over an hour of peace while they played!!):

Kids Say the Darndest Things: Episode 65

Watching an ad where dogs were playing in a symphony.
Dante: “Oh, I know, those are masks!”
Dorian: “No, it’s real! Look, the dog is licking his lips. It’s REAL!”
Me: “They do it with computers. Like if you cut a paper picture of a dog’s head and put it on a picture of a man? They can do it with video, too.”
Dorian: “Well, this sucks.”
After a 6.5 quake and it’s 5.4 aftershock
Dorian: “I really hope we don’t die tonight. I feel like we could die from the volcano exploding and lava falling on us.”
Me: “Well, if the volcano goes, it’s so far that we won’t . . .”
Dorian: “Survive?”
Dorian: doing his multiplication “That would be no clue that I have.”
Dominic: handing me a pen that he bit in half “Fix it!”
Dorian: “Wonder Pets would be so much better if they were zombies and ate the other animals.”
Dante: crying “Mama! I had a bad dream! And I lost a shoe and tripped over it.”
Me: “Was the shoe part in the dream or was that real life?”
Dante: wailing “I don’t KNOW!”
Me: “Dominic! Why is my sleeping bag outside? This does not go outside!”
Dominic: “Here it is.”
Me: “Yeah, outside. It doesn’t belong out here.”
Dominic: “Uh uh.” runs to the gate and points outside the gate. “There’s outside.”

Things Are Shaking

Earthquakes and tremors are nothing new here, but we recently had some pretty serious shaking going on. While we are used to a little shake up every now and then, the tremors are usually individual shakes. This time, there was a big one and many, many aftershocks.

The original quake was rated at a 6.5. That’s fairly strong! In Quetzaltenango, near the epicenter, huge rocks fell down from the mountain and I believe one person was killed. However, despite the length and strength of the shaking, it did surprisingly little damage.

We were nervous though! I sent the boys out of the house and carried Dominic. We went to the clear area between our house and the in-laws’. The big boys didn’t have shoes, so as soon as the shaking stopped, we went back and I had them put their shoes on (I always wear flip flops). No sooner did they do this and it started shaking again. They were quite worried and took off for the clear area again.

The kids slept with their shoes on and we had to get out of the house one more time. There were apparently a dozen more aftershocks, which we didn’t feel. However, the boys were very nervous for the next couple of nights! We left the doors open (doorframes can twist in a quake, causing the door to stick shut) and shoes near beds. It was a great way to get them to clean their room, though! We need a clear path to the door in case of an emergency.