Family Game Night

On a recent stroll through a bookstore, I came across this educational game that I thought we just had to have. I get an educator discount at the bookstore, but I still didn’t want to shell out the clams to buy the game. It wasn’t that expensive, but still more than I thought the game would be worth. Instead of throwing a tantrum, I decided to see if I could make my own version, seemed like a pretty simple concept. I mean, why buy it for $13 when you can make it for $86 and a headache, right?

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I thought making this game would be simple enough. We already had a couple of clocks specifically for learning time, so we could just use those.

So my first attempt at making the game involved some little cards I printed out with a bunch of random times and another set of cards with random advances to make on the clock. Seemed like I scored big with using materials we already had, and 20 minutes of typing up, printing out, and cutting apart cards. Score big for Mommy. Rrriiiiggghhhttt…

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Yeah, about that… The advance cards I made were in small increments, anywhere from 5-15 minutes, with maybe two special cards with 20 or 30 minute advances. There were also a few “lose a turn” or “move back” cards. We started the game with everyone’s clock on 12:00. The game took forevah. I mean, seriously, like 40 minutes for someone to finally win the game. I’m pretty sure my eye was twitching. We had to reshuffle and reuse the cards more times than I could count.

So as we are playing the game, I’m making mental notes of what I need to do to improve the game. Over the course of the next day or so, I was adding new advance times to include many more with bigger time advances. These things were stressing me out. Meanwhile, my boys were loving the game! As I would make improvements, the boys would make their suggestions for what the game could include in order to be better. I listened to them, and together we came up with a game we ended up all enjoying.

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Here are the final game instructions we all agreed upon.

Since I only had two educational clocks, we did not have enough to go around for a family game night. We ended up making 4 clocks out of paper plates. I love the character that this adds to the game. We laughed about the minute hands being much longer than the plates. This ended up being a good thing as it helped tremendously with advancing the minutes. Also, putting the minute hand on top of the hour hand was more beneficial since it moves much more frequently. See in the picture below, the bottom right clock has the hands with the hour on top. It was much more complicated to move than the others.

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Round 1 [Mommy had better take the win after all that I had to go through to make this game. No mercy. No more letting the little rascals win. No mercy. Take down.]

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Everyone’s clocks are set to 4:25, and we are competing to see who reaches 9:45 first.

They have no idea that I am going to ferociously win this game. Look at them, all cute, thinking they have a chance. No more nice-mommy. It’s time for the real deal. I’m not letting you win anymore.

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See, I’m about to win the game after just a few minutes into the game. I’m so close!

My next several moves took the win out from under me. And my boys had the biggest laughs. My oldest son ended up winning this round. The little punk.

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That’s ok. Revenge is a dish best served cold. I will rise and be the reigning queen. I envisioned myself as Galadriel from Lord of the Rings

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Rounds 2, 3, and 4: We played another round. And daggonnit, my youngest son won. Ooohhh you little twerp. Let’s play again. We played a third round, and my youngest son won again. You’ve got to be kidding me. My husband got in on the next round, and the little rascal won again.

I didn’t realize how competitive I was until I started playing this game with my kids. All those brutal years of letting them win Memory and Chutes & Ladders and Tic Tac Toe…certainly I was due for a win.

By the time we were done making revisions and adding new advance cards, we had a small handful of bonus cards with advancing or returning in larger time increments (1-3 hours). We had also improved our “Go Again” cards to say “advance x-minutes then go again.” We also had so many cards in the stock pile that shuffling a bunch of times to reuse the cards was no longer necessary.

So what are the takeaways on this? Sure, I could have saved a lot of time and headache if I had just bought the stinking game at the bookstore. I’m pretty sure if I had done that, we would have played the game once or twice and then it would have sat on the bookcase. And I’m absolutely certain that we would not have had as much fun with it. By involving my kids with the game-making process, we had fun all along the way. Making the game was as much fun for us as playing the game.

But the best part about this whole thing is that my kids had the best time while learning how to read an analog clock. They are growing up in a digital age and unless the clock numbers are glowing and blinking, they struggle with telling time.

That’s a win-win in my book. And just for the record, it did not cost me $86 to make this game. No comment on the headache part. {{Just thought that needed saying.}}

Gotta  run…Time to rub their little faces in the dirt as the malevolent-mommy ruthlessly takes a cutthroat win. I will rise. The game is not over until Mommy wins a round.


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