Over the course of Designing Games for Kids class we’ll have to design four games. We’ve just finished the first one: it was aimed towards 4-6 year old kids and was co-designed together with An, Lindsey, Esther and me.

As the physical and outdoor activity is crucial at this age, we wanted to design a large-scale board game where we use entire room space for the game layout.

We brainstormed few possible ideas and ended up with this initial concept:

  • We have a room that acts as a pond that children have to cross.
  • Each kid acts as a frog that needs to cross the pond in order to get to the final destination.
  • There are bunch of lilies laid out in the room (aka pond) that children must jump on to cross the pond.
  • In order to know how many jumps children can make, they have to spin the spinner. If the spinner ends up on “no fly” sign, kid has to release all the flies that she had collected so far.
  • You can only collect flies after the last jump.

The goal is to also collect as many flies as possible on their way to the final destination.

Screen Shot 2016-02-27 at 23.16.41

After we presented the idea in class and did first playtesting, we started asking questions like:

  • do we need a finish line?
  • should we have multiple spinners for each kid?
  • what size should the lily pads be?
  • what if few kids land on the same lily pad?
  • what to do when one kid has to wait for his turn? (It can be boring if there are more than 2 kids playing)
  • how many flies per pad we should let kids collect?
  • do any of these chances favor our initial idea?

The more polished concept looks like this:

Hey hungry frogs! It’s almost time for dinner! You need to head out to the pond to gobble up some flies. Hop around the pond on the lily pads, and be careful not to fall in the water!  

Setup.

  • Each player is given a spinner and a net.
  • Place the lily pads and flies around the room. Make sure they’re close enough to jump to.
  • The floor is the water, so you can climb on anything else to get to a lily pad but don’t step on the floor!

We ended up with three rule versions of different complexity (so it fits both smaller 4 year old kids and bigger of 6):

Version1 – Basic

  • Take turns spinning the spinner
  • If you spin a 2, hop two lily pads.
  • Watch out not to fall in the water! If you fall in, you go back to your lily pad and don’t move this turn.
  • When you finish jumping, pick up all the flies you can reach. No picking up flies on the way! Wait until you reach your final lily pad.
  • Did your spinner land on the fly?? Oh no! All of your flies escaped! Throw your flies up in the air and you can’t collect any until next turn.
  • If a fly falls out of your net into the water it escaped! Leave it to pick up on your next turn.
  • Two people on one lily pad?? No problem! Stick together and try not to fall!  
  • Work together! Help each other to catch all of the flies.
  • When all the flies are collected, everyone hop on home and enjoy your dinner!

Version 2 – Intermediate

This game is a little harder.

This time, all of you hungry frogs need to compete for the flies. Whoever gets the most is the winner!

  • Take turns spinning the spinner.
  • If you spin a 2, hop two lily pads.
  • Watch out not to fall in the water! If you fall in, you go back to your lily pad and don’t move this turn.
  • When you finish jumping, pick up all the flies you can reach. No picking up flies on the way! Wait until you reach your final lily pad.
  • Did your spinner land on the fly?? Oh no! All of your flies escaped! Throw your flies up in the air and you can’t collect any until next turn.
  • If a fly falls out of your net into the water it escaped! Leave it to pick up on your next turn.
  • Two people on one lily pad?? No pushing! If you push someone into the water, all of your flies escape.   
  • When all the flies are collected, everyone hop on home and count your flies. The player with the most flies wins!

Version 3 – Advance

Ready for a challenge? This game is even harder.

  • This time each player picks a color and only collects that color flies.
  • The first person to collect all of their flies is the winner!

Read more about playtesting and fabrication.

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