Anyone can invent a game. For real, anyone. Does that mean that your going to create this amazing thing and be a millionaire? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get your or your families creative juices flowing, do some bonding and create a fun family memory, and who knows maybe you can monetize the idea too.
Not having invented a game before, and not having any experience in the toy/game industry, we did things how we thought they should have been done. That doesn’t always mean that we did the “right” thing, but we still ended up with a game. Don’t worry about inviting a game the “right” way. The object of the game is to have fun, so invent a game with having fun in mind.
The hardest part of inventing a game was the actual inventing part. The playing, replaying, tweaking, changing, playing again, updating, and repeat. Then you finally find a way to play. It works, it’s fun, it’s fluid, it makes sense, and finally you’ve invented a game. After that, I found myself and my kids “inventing” all sort of games. No complex rules, or scoring, but simple, fun games. Jake, my husband, business partner, and co creator has been doing this for as long as we’ve had kids to play with. He does a lot of the:
-Who can balance the object the longest
-how many times can we catch a ball without dropping it
-first person to see_____ wins
Here’s a picture of a balancing game he thought up with some toys we found in laying around the car during an unexpected restaurant wait.
They work for quick easy games for kids, and they’re fun, but my brain space didn’t go there easily, or ever. I’m more of the engage in conversation, even when they couldn’t talk:
-Look at those (clouds, cars, animals, etc)
-tell me about….
-how does this work….
-pretend we’re ________
I also tend to keep books in the car for the times when conversation runs low (a great tip from a good friend of mine). So once I did the hard part of inventing a real game, my brain was more easily ready to create more. Some kids do this naturally like Jake and some kids are like me, they need a little structure or push to do it on their own, but once they do, watch out. Over the past year my kids and I have been playing a game that they invented. It started as a gym class type game that we adapted for us, and they have been continuing to work through the rules of play, the scoring, and all the inbetweens. It’s been such a neat thing to watch and play. If you’re looking for a good creative activity to keep your kids (or yourself!) busy, trying inventing a game! Here are a couple of tips for success game creating.
- Co-op or Competitive
Some kids/families thrive competing against each other and some end the game in tears and a hole in the wall. Or cupboard. Not that I know from experience. I personally need a healthy balancing working together (coop games) and completive games. If someone starts to get mean, or mopey, or teary eyed, maybe start with a coop.
2. Pick your medium.
Cards, dice, paper, drawing, letters, shapes, whatever your desire, pick a main form for the game. Here are some examples:
-dice game where who ever rolls a certain number does something
-card game where whoever gets a certain amount of numbers wins
-team game where everyone has to work together to write or draw something
3. Set your guidelines
How many turns, goal/how to win, what players can or can’t do
4. Play your game!
If you have fun and really like it, be sure to write down your game and rules. The game that my kids invented has changed (for the better) over time, and it’s become a house hold game for us, like tag, hide-and-go-seek, or kickball. It’s an active running and strategy game, with a teams and little but of coop but there’s also a winning aspect.
The older my kids get, the more I make a point to be sure I play with them. When I do, I find myself using my imagination (you mean I can imagine more than adult situations that create nothing but anxiety?!? Why isn’t that some sort of “adulating hack”), my coordination (I was never a very coordinated kid, I was sub-par in most team sports so needless to say, I can catch and throw better now then when I was in high school), and my endurance (I mean running/chasing kids that have endless energy for a game of tag, need I say more) . These are all totally selfish things that I benefit from when I play with my kids, I didn’t even go into the benefits THEY receive when I set down the phone, step out from behind my computer, and play with them for 30 minutes. So play for you or play for your kids, but play.
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