Remember Jumanji and the two little boys who found the discarded game at the end of the movie? The long-awaited sequel to Jumanji is the story of the second game stored in the Jumanji box – a space adventure called Zathura.
While you could just buy the Zathura board game, why not make your own crazy game? With the holidays coming up you can provide hours of activities to keep the kids busy – deciding how to alter your game and making up the rules is half the fun.
You may not appreciate a real meteor shower heralding the start of the game, but merging different games and trying to keep track of them all is just as confusing and far more fun. Additionally you are stretching your and your children’s imaginations by thinking (excuse the pun) outside the box.
Where to start
Haul out all your old board games. A Monopoly board makes a good base and you can stick pictures and commands over each square or some of the squares. These can be temporary changes if you prefer, or make the alteration permanent by covering the board with clear contact plastic.
Some ideas to get you going
Replace the Chance cards with Trivial Pursuit question cards, and Community Chest with Pictionary. Have partners (or groups if you have many players) for Pictionary already agreed on and decide whether landing on the square makes the player the one doing the drawing or the guessing.
Certain children’s Scrabble or Draughts boards will fit into the middle of a Monopoly board. Select opposite opponents for Draughts, not the same person/group partnering a player for Pictionary, as this person will share the same side of the Draught board and will make a move themselves when landing on the selected square. In the midst of the competitiveness of games like Monopoly, switching to games like Pictionary and duel player draughts will help to encourage co-operation and teamwork.
Don’t stop there
If you have dressing up clothes, put everything in a big box. “Go to Jail” means picking an item (don’t peek!) out of the dressing-up box and wearing it for the rest of the game.
You also have the perfect opportunity to include every child’s favourite toy in the game – ideal if you’re having trouble getting them to stop playing with it and join in, or if they refuse to share. Lay train or electric car tracks in a bridge over, or a track around, the board game. Landing on a certain square (eg, one of the railway stations) allows the player to move their piece as many squares as they can before the toy train reaches the other side. Even PlayStation and X-Box games can be incorporated (play one round when landing on the Electric Company).
Don’t forget to decide how the game ends. Tally up all the collected draughts pieces, scrabble points, Monopoly houses, correct Trivia and Pictionary answers, and vote for the best dressed player.
This article was first published on BellaOnline in November 2006. © Elsa Neal
And watch both movies.