How to Create Driveway Board Games
Who says board games are for rainy days only? With the help of sidewalk chalk and a little planning, you can make a simplified version of the board from your child's favorite board game. Use the other game pieces (timer, play cards, etc.), but skip the little figurines because you and your child become the figurines!
There are a lot of innovative ways of using sidewalk chalk, and these ideas are at your fingertips thanks to websites like Pinterest. But after a quick perusal it looks like I may have come up with this one independently. The idea came for me when my three-year-old and I were drawing with sidewalk chalk in our driveway one day. At first glance, sidewalk chalk is a stationary activity. But, with a little ingenuity, you can make a game out of it. I made a simple line map with zig-zags to follow and my daughter and I had fun chasing each other down the squiggly lines.
This got me to thinking, why not map out a simplified version of the classic game Candy Land using sidewalk chalk outside? We become the gingerbread figurines, 'Human Candy Land' we called it. Although, admittedly Driveway Board Games has a better ring to it.
This process takes a little trial and error. Leave enough room at the beginning of your game board to add on more game tiles in case you want to make the game more complicated after you have played a few initial rounds. You should leave room at the start line because the ending of the game will be set once you draw the finish, in Candy Land this is King Candy's Castle. Start with a small game, maybe 20 tiles to play on. Plan out the board a bit before grabbing the chalk, then outline the tiles as a square and then have your kids help you fill them in as you continue to outline the tiles further on. For Candy Land the tiles are 6 different colors- red, green, blue, purple, orange, and yellow. The color of the tile is the main focus of Candy Land so you will need a big piece of chalk corresponding to each color. For your Candy Land driveway board you could eliminate a color or two from the board. Just be sure to pull those corresponding color cards out from the deck, more on this in a moment. Warning- you will go through a lot of chalk quickly when you do this! I recommend , the pieces of chalk are big so they will last longer. Also the bigger the chalk the easier to handle with adult hands. Crayola sidewalk chalk
In addition to the color tiles, Candy Land has some special tiles on the board- a peanut, an ice cream cone, a mint candy, and a lollipop- and the corresponding game cards. Players move directly to this tile when they draw one of these cards even if it sets them back on the board. I only added two of them to our original driveway board.
After your initial board is set up take about half of the deck of game cards to use. Make sure you have only the special cards that correspond to the special tiles you included on your driveway board. And if you only used select colors on your board, make sure to only include those corresponding cards. Candy Land cards represent one tile or two tiles of the same color. Only add a few of the two tile cards as your board is likely much smaller than the original game board and you don't want your game to be over too fast.
After playing a few rounds of the driveway version you may find that modifying the board makes sense, changing a color of a square for example to make the game flow better. You can also make it more complicated. In Candy Land there are a few shortcuts where if the player lands on a particular tile they can take a shortcut and skip ahead. Again since your game board is smaller than the original don't make the shortcut too long. Also you can add in the licorice 'X' from the board which if landed on the player has to skip a turn. You can also add more game tiles onto the beginning of the game if you left enough room. We made several of these adjustments after we had played our first few rounds.
We had a lot of fun with this project. We played many times each day over the course of several days. Expert Parent tip- Check the weather and make the board when there is a stretch of dry weather in the forecast. This way you can play multiple days without the rain ruining your board! My daughter thought it was so cool we made the game board on our driveway. I loved that it took a normally stationary activity- sidewalk chalk- and made it more active. Also this is a great 'I'm bored' buster that can be done in most seasons. We made our board at the end of summer; but fall, spring, even a clear winter day would work.
Candy Land was easy enough to make a driveway version. And perfect for little kids. I am sure this process can be adapted to use other board games as well. Shoots and Ladders would involve a lot of planning but would work. Also the classic games 'Sorry' and 'Trouble' can be shortened to a driveway version. Trivia games with simple layouts can be recreated and these types of games would be nice for older kids. Games like Monopoly and Clue would be a challenge to make a driveway version of but they would be so fun! For more complex game boards I recommend mapping out a shortened version on a piece of paper before you make it on the driveway. Saving the paper map and/or taking a picture of your driveway version can help you get started when you want to recreate the game another day. And who says kids should have all the fun? This would work for adults too. Why head indoors to cap off an end of summer barbecue when you can stay outside with a round of driveway Trivial Pursuit!