Fun at home children's activity
Inspired by board games in the Museum's collection and the exhibition, Glorious Days: Australia 1913
Children in the October 2013 Discovery Space at the National Museum made their own board games about different themes of Australia in 2013. You might like to make your own board game at home.
The National Museum of Australia has many board games in its collection. Some are 100 years old! The two games pictured above are part of the Glorious Days: Australia 1913 exhibition and were produced to celebrate exciting events of the time – the arrival of the Australian naval fleet and the exploration of Antarctica.
Board games often reflect events or trends in society. These games were popular as family entertainment in 1913, when there was no television or computer games.
A few questions to start you thinking
- Do you like to play board games?
- Can you think of board games you have played that illustrate events or trends of the time?
- What is it about these games that show they come from a particular time? (Hint: Compare an old version of Monopoly with newer versions, which have electronic banking and credit cards).
- What sort of board game would you design?
See more board games from the National Museum of Australia's collection
What you will need
You will need to get your thinking cap on to make your own board game. It’s lots of fun and you are only limited by your imagination. You might like to check out our fun at home video below for some inspiration. Here are some things you might need to get started:
- A3-size cardboard or paper that can go through a printer
- printer (optional)
- spare items from the stationery drawer such as paperclips, stickers, cardboard, stamps, sticky notes, pens and pencils
- anything you have around that could be used as a game piece, such as buttons, modelling clay, rocks or photos
- a dice or spinner (or you could make your own out of modelling clay or cardboard).
What to do: video
Watch these step-by-step instructions for creating a board game at home.
What to do: text and images
You can draw your own board game on a piece of cardboard or you could print out one of the two templates that we used in the holiday program. They are A3-size when printed.
Template 1 Template 2
Think of a theme
This might be the hardest part! Your theme can be about anything. We chose a ‘Summer Holiday in Australia’ theme.
Here are some suggestions if you are stuck:
- Best Pets in Show
- The Grand Final Game
- A Healthy Eating Game
- Rivers and Roads around Australia
- Animals of Australia
- Landmarks of your town
- The School Excursion Game
The possibilities are endless.
Make game piecesYou can make game pieces from objects such as buttons, coins, shells or small rocks. Or you could make your own. Here’s some simple ideas.
A drawing or a photo of each of the players, cut out and mounted on a paper clip or bulldog clip.
Small cupcake case + modelling clay + flag = game piece. Or model the clay to make your own characters.
Make your game rules
Now that you have a theme, you might like to decorate your board with textas or pencils. You will also need to think of rewards or challenges in your game that fit with your theme. You can place these rules or moves on your board using textas, stickers or sticky notes. Below are some examples of game rules from ‘Summer Holidays in Australia’.
Ouch! You stayed out in the sun too long
Stop! The ice cream van has arrived.
Oh no, you forgot the insect repellent and
You won the sandcastle-building contest
Play your game
When you have finished making your board game, challenge your friends or family to a game and enjoy!
Share your creation with us by sending a photo to: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will add your photo to the National Museum’s Flickr stream, where you can see other craft creations from our Discovery Space.