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Make Board Games from Rocks

Make simple games from rocks and play them on the ground or in your backyard.

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Average Rating:
Participant Age: Under 7, 7 to 12
Approximate Cost: Under $10
Duration: Over an hour
Difficulty:
Physical Challenge:
  • Cardboard
  • Marker
  • Muffin or cupcake package (optional, for organizing paint)
  • Paint, red and black at least
  • Paint brushes
  • Primer
  • Rocks - approximately 2 inches wide and flat
  • Ruler
  • Skewers or chopsticks (optional, for making tic-tac-toe grid)
Gather a bunch of flat rocks

They need to be flat for checkers so you can stack the rocks on top for situations where a piece gets "kinged."

For checkers, you need about 40 rocks. For tic-tac-toe, you need about 12 rocks.

You can avoid painting the rocks by choosing two different colors of rocks. Or you could play tic-tac-toe with pine cones or other objects instead of rocks. But if your rocks are many colors, you need to paint them.

Wash the rocks before you paint them to ensure the paint sticks.


Dry the rocks thoroughly before painting them
To reduce layers of paint, paint primer on the rocks

Many types of rocks absorb the paint and your markings will not show up well. If you have some primer, it's a great way to reduce the layers of paint.


Once the primer paint is dry, add your red and black paint for the checkers
For tic-tac-toe rocks, paint X and O on the rocks
A great way to keep your paints and brushes away from each other is to use a recycled package from muffins or cupcakes
For your playing board, you could draw a grid on a piece of recycled cardboard

You could also draw a grid in the dirt or sand at a playground, but then folks need to sit on the ground.


For a tic-tac-toe board, we used a few skewers on a cloth

Again, you could draw a simple grid on the ground.


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