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DIY games for family game night

Michelle Maffei is a freelance copywriter covering a variety of topics both online and in print, from parenting to beauty and more. Combining her two favorite loves, writing and motherhood, she has found joy in even the most challenging ...

Make your own family fun

You don't have to drop a bundle on board games when you use what you have around the house to stir up some family fun. From homemade dominoes to do-it-yourself checker board blankets, discover four DIY games for family game night.

DIY dominoes

Felt dominoes

Homemade games help stretch your family fun dollars, especially when you use materials you already have like leftover felt, river stones or cut, unused sponges. These dominoes are also quiet enough to play long after your little ones head off to dreamland!

What you'll need:

  • Felt
  • Scissors
  • Puffy paint or glitter glue

What you'll do:

  1. Cut felt into 28 equal rectangles. As they are roughly the same size, they'll work even if they're not perfect!
  2. Using puffy paint or glitter glue, create the lines and dots on each felt rectangle according to a traditional 28-piece domino set. Allow to dry.
  3. Teach your kiddos how to play dominoes with your DIY creation without the worry that they'll get distracted setting them all up just to knock them down!

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Beanbag toss

Beanbag toss

Family game night is more fun when kids of any age can get in on the family bonding time with competition that caters to players of any level! You can even create this homemade game from any leftover box or plywood you have around the house, so it doesn't have to cost a bundle for family fun.

What you'll need:

  • Rectangle-shaped box
  • Box cutter
  • Bean bags or spare material, thread scissors and rice
  • Spray paint (optional)

What you'll do:

  1. Use your box cutter to cut rectangle, square and circle shapes from one side of your cardboard box large enough for a beanbag but of varying sizes and distances. You can even create a slot at the bottom of the box closest to you to make beanbag retrieval an easier feat.
  2. Turn your box over to cut three sides of a rectangle, bend outward and use as a kickstand so your box sits at an angle. Reinforce with duct or masking tape as needed.
  3. For DIY beanbags, cut out two equal-sized squares from your material for each beanbag you make, face wrong sides together and sew all but a small section on one side. Turn right side out, fill with rice or beans, and sew remaining open end to finish your homemade beanbag.
  4. Standing an age-appropriate distance from the box, each player takes turns tossing beanbags into the holes. Whether or not you keep score is up to you!

Brown bag bounce

Brown bag toss

Probably one of the easiest impromptu homemade games you can create, a few paper bags and something to toss offers family fun on the cheap. You can also substitute bouncy balls for beanbags or rolled up socks.

What you'll need:

  • 6 to 10 brown paper lunch bags
  • Marker
  • Small, rubber bouncy balls
  • Bag weights, such as canned goods or beanbags

What you'll do:

  1. Label brown paper bags with point values, making bags set farther away worthy of a higher score.
  2. Arrange bags in any configuration of your choice, weighted with a can or beanbag at the bottom of each so they will resist tipping each time the ball comes flying by.
  3. Take turns tossing a small bouncy ball, rolled sock or even a small stuffed animal into paper bags from an age-appropriate distance.
  4. Tip: When using a small bouncy ball, arrange your bags in a small hallway to help contain the haphazard direction those little balls love to fly.

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DIY checkers game blanket

Checkers game blanket


Whether taking your family game night outside or scoring family bonding time at home, an old blanket easily makes for an oversized board kids will love to conquer in a game of checkers or even chess.

What you'll need:

  • Old blanket or sheet
  • Yardstick
  • Fabric marker
  • Fabric or felt
  • Scissors
  • Fabric glue or hot glue
  • 16 game pieces

What you'll do:

  1. Measure your blanket to form the largest even square possible.
  2. Divide the length of your square by eight. Using your fabric marker, mark equally along the side and create a grid totaling 64 boxes.
  3. Measure and cut 32 squares each equaling one square on your grid from the felt or fabric of your choice.
  4. Lay out your felt or fabric pieces on every other box on the grid and adhere to blanket with fabric or hot glue. Allow to dry.
  5. Gather 16 shells, rocks, buttons, etc. for playing pieces and you're ready for family game night!

More about family bonding

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Fun family games
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