UPDATE: I have an easier way to make the boards. New post about it on 1/30/2012
To make the clothespin game board, you will need a stiff material. I used coroplast ( White Corrugated Plastic ), which is an awesome material to work with. It can be made out of foam core as well, although the foam core is not quite as sturdy and long lasting as the coroplast.
You will also need a retractable X-acto knife, or other craft knife, a hot glue gun, a long ruler for cutting, and a cutting mat so you don’t ruin the table when cutting with the knife.
Some of the cuts require that you only cut part way through the material, which is why a retractable blade is useful.
I was able to get my coroplast at a plastic store (yes, they just sell plastic supplies), but you can get it from sign shops and on the internet. The base needs to be 14 ½ inches square, so the sheet of material has to be larger than that.
The first thing you need to do is cut your material to 14 ½ inches square. Then you have to cut half-way through the material at 1 inch in from the edge on all sides. Then on alternating corners, you need to cut all the way through the material so that it can fold all of the way up.
You can then fold up the sides and glue them or duct tape them into place to form the bottom of a box.
The next part that needs to be cut is the inside rungs for the clothespins. When I cut them, I cut a piece 14 ½ inches wide, and then cut half way through at 1 inch in from the end on the two opposite sides.
You then need to cut into half inch strips so that each strip has the scoring on each end. You need to cut 10 strips.
To glue the rungs on, you bend the ends at the scored lines, and squeeze some hot glue to the ends. I place mine so the flaps are facing toward the top of the box. Then you position the rung so that its edge is level with the box top, and the rung goes across the middle of the spaces of the game board below.
Make sure the rung is at the top, and not resting down on the game board since the games need to slide in and out.
On the box base, you need to pick one side, and cut through at about 3/8ths of an inch from the bottom so that the side will open out. This end will be the top, and you will slide the game boards in here. Once the box base and rungs are ready, you can put one of the game boards in (the 12×12 size inside a clear page protector), to use as a guide for the spacing when gluing the rungs on.
The Game Boards
To put together the game boards, you can do 1 of 2 things. You can print out the 12 x 12 inch picture file at Costco or another photo processing place where they will print in that size. If you want to print it on your home printer (which is what I did), you print out the 4 regular 8.5 x 11 inch pdf pages. Then you cut them and tape them together to make the larger board. I then taped the finished board onto a piece of 12 x 12 scrapbook paper with double stick tape, and slipped it into a 12 x 12 inch scrapbook page protector.
Using the page protector makes it easy to slide the game boards in and out, and I can place two games in back to back.
I have made 11 games for the clothespin board so far, and they really are great for working on those fine motor skills and finger strengthening, while having a fun and motivating activity at the same time. The games that I have made are:
- Slides and Ladders
- Shape and Color matching
- Ice Cream Sorry game
- Four in a Row (free printable)
- Checkers or Chess
- The Dreidel game (free printable)
- The Letter Game (free printable)
- Shape matching
- Color matching
- First grade sight words matching
- Second grade sight words matching
To go with them, there are chess pieces to velcro onto the clothespins, and colors and shapes to put on the clothespins for matching, and the first and second grade sight words.
The games can be used without the clothespin board by using small game pieces to move around the board. You can use pom poms, erasers, or small toys. Pom poms make good game pieces because you can still incorporate the clothespins by picking the pom poms up with the clothespins while playing the game.
For the Game Board
- Sturdy material (coroplast, foam core)
- Sharp xacto knife
- Hot glue gun
- Duct tape (optional)
- Cutting mat
- Strait long ruler
- Game boards
- Scissors, tape,
- 12 x 12 inch scrapbook page protectors
- 12 x 12 inch scrapbook paper or cardstock
To Play the Games:
- Game boards
- colored clothespins
- may need velcro
- Fine motor
- Finger strengthening
- Hand strengthening
- Motor planning
- Visual perceptual