Saturday, August 27, 2011

A Basketball-Sized Gameboard Made of Chalk

I've told you before, I believe, that Willow creates giant chalkboard games across the entire basketball court at our neighborhood park, games large enough that we can be our own game pieces.

Not to belabor my two favorite points to make from this or anything, but:

1) My kids are enchanting and awesome and clever.
2) Homeschool, itself, is also pretty enchanting and awesome and clever, because let me tell you, by 3:30 pm every weekday, that basketball court is full up with the big kids. All day until then, it's ours!

It's also enchanting (and awesome and clever, yes) for me to see how Will's reading and other informal studies of  her personal interests inform her games. We've studied Ancient Egypt extensively, Ancient Rome and Ancient Greece less so, and all of these giant chalk games of Will's seem to be about the journeys of ancient soldiers, and the quirky way that she's internalized them.

You're always a soldier, headed to the battlefield, which is at the finish line. On the way, however, you land on objects that other help or hinder you. Here Will's explaining the rules to Sydney, and you can see in the spaces in front of me some money, a turkey leg, a river to cross, a packed lunch, a blank square, and then another river:

Syd's passed the river, and the water horse (have you read The Water Horse? It's enchanting, awesome, and clever):

Then there's a dog, a bow, an arrow, a deer, and a river that's three spaces long:

Sometimes you can only take advantage of an item that you land on if you've landed on certain previous items. For instance, you lose a turn if you land on a river that's more than one space long, unless you've already landed on the water horse or the water dog, both of whom will take you across. Similarly, you cannot hunt the deer in this space unless you've already landed on EITHER the bow and arrow (separate spaces!) or the hunting dog (NOT the water dog).

Will likes to land on the dog, because she likes dogs:

Near the end of the game there are various arenas in spaces, and if you've got the right items--the dog for the animal show arena, the spear or bow and arrow for the hunting arena--you can win and get more money.

Of course, none of this actually matters, ultimately, since the end goal is to get to the finish line first. And so, while Willow and I take our time, throwing our sticks just a space or two to grab up all the treasure, a certain other enchanting, amazing, and clever little thing barrels up ahead and, treasureless, wins the game every single time:

And when you win, you run back to the beginning and play again!

My homemade sidewalk chalk tutorial lives over at Crafting a Green World.

1 comment:

Danielle said...

Oh man! I so remember making up crazy little games when I was a kid, but this takes the cake. I hope that I can remember this idea for a day when my kids are a little bigger because it is FANTASTIC!