Imagine your class playing a board game where the board is the floor of a large room and your students are the game pieces! Sounds like fun? Well – here is how to create a learning experience disguised as fun.
Determine the “journey” that will be the theme of your game. Some examples might be, Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection; miracles of Jesus; the stories in the books of Genesis and/or Exodus; prophets of the Old Testament; the Apostles of Jesus.
Determine the people, experiences and/or places you will present on the game board. If choosing Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection, the places on the game board could be Bethlehem, Egypt, River Jordan, wilderness, Sea of Galilee, Temple, Mountain, Capernaum, Peter’s House, . . ., Gethsemane, Golgotha, ending with an empty tomb. The person who first gets to the empty tomb will be the winner.
Lay carpet squares in the pattern of a winding road on the floor of a large room. (Carpet squares are big enough for kids to share a turn on and they don’t move around. You can also use paper plates or even pillows. You’ll need 30+) Like any board game, some spaces will be blank and some will have actions. Some squares should have something “positive” allowing the player to advance extra spaces, for example, “Jesus healed 10 lepers, advance 2 spaces.” On other spaces, “Jesus’ family must escape to Egypt, go back 3 spaces.”
Make a die out of a cardboard box about 12” x 12” x 12”. Cover it with light colored paper and draw circles on the sides to represent each of the 6 sides of a die. This needs to be sturdy enough to “roll” and determine how many spaces he/she is to move in the journey to the end of the board.
Make up extra rules to enhance the game. For example, if one player lands on an occupied carpet square, the player cannot move; or if a player will land on an occupied space, bump the occupier back to start; or a player will land on an occupied space, pull a card from the deck* and follow the instructions instead of moving; if a six is rolled, go back 6 spaces; to get to the empty tomb, the exact number must be rolled to advance to the tomb; if a one is rolled, get a free turn but if a one is rolled 3 times in a row, the player must go back to start.
* Of course a deck of special instruction cards (like index cards) will have to be made for this. The cards can be silly (do 10 jumping jacks or sing the first verse of your favorite song) or they can be serious (to avoid going back to start name 4 Prophets in the Old Testament or 6 of Jesus’ apostles.) Try to make them something the students are likely to know – at least most of them.
Have fun creating the game! And then have fun watching the students laugh as they learn!!
Created by Adelaide Diaz and Kimberly Mouledoux, St Martin’s Episcopal Church, Metairie, LA
Building Faith editors’ note: search “life sized games” on Pinterest for lots of images and ideas for creating human-scale game boards!