5 DIY Buildable Games For Kids

These are five classic games that have passed through the millennia unaltered and amused children of every age and corner of the world. Let’s go and discover them together.

We are now in an era where technology has drastically revolutionized our lifestyle; games have also changed considerably, computers and consoles are now the most popular entertainment platforms while classic party games tend to be less popular than videogames.


If you have small children and are worried about the negative impact that video games could have, why not consider creating a game just for them, perhaps re-proposing a classic from antiquity. Some proposals are easy to make and require only a little creativity, paper, cardboard, glue and scissors; others, on the other hand, are a bit more complex and require the use of hand tools .

The Chinese shadow theater


Despite the name, the true geographical origin of this form of entertainment is not well known; the only certain thing is that it appears to have developed between the Far East and Southeast Asia over 2,000 years ago. Among the different games to be built , the Chinese shadow theater is certainly one of the simplest, but at the same time it is also one of those with the greatest potential, both in terms of entertainment and fun and for cognitive stimuli and didactic.

To build it, a medium-sized cardboard box is enough, from the bottom of which a rectangular window can be obtained with the aid of a pair of scissors or a cutter; on the opening obtained, then, you can glue a sheet of white paper of A4 or A3 size, depending on the size of the box.

The white sheet will act as a screen for the “projections”, while the silhouettes for the shadows can be obtained from cardboard sheets, which will be animated by means of long toothpicks fixed with hot glue. A pocket torch, or a common desk lamp, will complete the magic allowing you to give life to the silhouettes. The Chinese shadow theater is a game especially suitable for children aged 4 to 9 years of age, and is ideal for stimulating creativity.

Games to print


In the past, children invented their own games by themselves, nowadays it is possible to do the same with a printer and create playing cards for example, or customized versions of the most beautiful board games , such as the goose game. .

Using a slightly thicker paper you can also print things to build , such as model cars, airplanes, houses and much more; on the internet you can find a wide range of ready-made schemes to download for free, the most requested are those of famous houses and monuments, but you can find practically everything, including ships, animals and classic toy soldiers.
Furthermore, printing the diagrams in black and white will allow children to have fun twice: first coloring and then cutting and building. The making of paper models is an activity that has no age limits of course, but it is particularly suitable for children to develop mastery in the use of manual tools, attention, concentration and spatial visualization skills derived from ‘habit of reading diagrams and projects.


And labyrinths


After the card games to cut out, here is another game whose origin dates back to over 4,000 years ago. In reality, the labyrinths derive from the very ancient spiral decorations which had a sacred character; for many centuries they have been used only in architecture, to create decorations, salt plants and paths of an initiatory nature. Only recently have labyrinths taken on a playful value, making their appearance in puzzle magazines or as boxed games for children .

To create a labyrinth it is advisable to use sheets of balsa, a malleable wood that lends itself to being bent very easily; in this way it will be possible to design both simple versions, with a square plan, and a circular plan. A balsa sheet will be used as a base, drawing the outline of the labyrinth on it; the internal walls can always be made with pieces of balsa obtained from a second sheet, suitably cut into strips and then glued on the lines of the previously drawn scheme.
Once prepared, the labyrinth can be inserted into a frame and then sealed with a sheet of transparent acetate, or Plexiglas, after inserting a small metal ball inside.

The Mill


Among the relatively simple DIY games to build, the Mill could not be missing, a traditional board game widespread almost all over the world.


The scheme of the game board of the Mill in fact, consisting of three concentric squares joined by four segments placed in a cross, has very ancient esoteric origins and has been found in various places on the planet, from Viking archaeological sites to the populations of Southern Africa. According to some scholars, the three concentric squares would even represent the scheme of the ancient capital of Atlantis.

To make it, just a simple solid wood board to be squared and smoothed, and on which to engrave the pattern; the incision can then be filled with wood of a different color, further sanded so as to be flush with the surface of the table, which will then be painted with impregnating before being polished with the appropriate paste.

Promissory Note


This game was invented by the ancient Egyptians over 4,000 years ago and can be considered to all intents and purposes the ancestor of the game of the goose. To build it you will need solid wood, a table saw or jigsaw, wood screws, a screwdriver , sandpaper, wood paints and polishing paste. It is necessary to saw the wood in order to obtain the pieces necessary for the realization of a box with the dimensions of about 35 x 12.5 x 12.5 centimeters, open on one side so as to be able to contain a pull-out drawer.


A chessboard made up of thirty squares, arranged in three rows of ten squares each, must be drawn on the upper facade; counting from the beginning of a row, arriving at boxes 26, 27, 28, 29 and 30, the following symbols must be engraved: a circle surmounted by a cross in box 26, an X in box 27 and the numbers III, II and I respectively in the last three boxes. The drawer will serve as a compartment to store the fourteen pieces to play with, seven white and seven black, which can always be made with wood.

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