Introduction: Cardboard Puzzle Game

About: STEM Educator

It’s hard being at home for months. Especially for kids, when they have no neighbourhood and no physical school. This lockdown inspired me to make this project for my 7 year old niece. She asked me “ I want to go out and play with my friends”. She can’t play video games, watch tv, use phones all the time, as this is really unhealthy for her. I thought to make a game which she can play indoors and learn many skills while playing. The skills this puzzle can help to develop are:

1. Problem solving and logical thinking.

2. Creative Mind.

3. Hands-eye Motor skill.

4. Spatial Relationship.

5. A positive relationship with math.

I made this puzzle game completely out of cardboard. Here I have used whatever cardboard was available with me, as I can’t buy good quality from stores.

So, here is how I made it.

Step 1: Materials Required

1) Cutting Mat.

2) Ruler.

3) Scissor (I had a small one).

4) Art Glue.

5) Acrylic colors of your choice.

6) Pencil.

7) Exacto Knife.

8) Paint Brush.

Step 2: Arrange Waste Cardboard Pieces

Everyone has some cardboard boxes at home. I had a collection of old online shopping cardboard boxes. I used them for this project. You can use any. Take a rectangular or square-shaped cardboard piece for the base of the game. Also some pieces for the shapes/sets and outlining the border of the base.

Step 3: Make Marking for Borders

Using a pencil and ruler, mark the borders as required, Just like you outline in your drawing sheet before drawing something. I marked 2.5 cm on each side and drew a line on sides.

Step 4: ​Fencing Your Puzzle Area - Length

Now, you need to enhance the borders by fencing it beautifully. Take some cardboard pieces and mark their dimension as per the borders of the cardboard game base. For fencing, first I am going to cut 4 strips for the length. Two strips for each length. Mark 4 strips of 34.5*2.5 cm. After marking, cut the strips using the Exacto knife.

Step 5: ​Fencing Your Puzzle Area - Breadth

For the breadth, I am going to cut 4 strips of 26.5*2.5 cm. Two strips for each breadth. Mark the dimension of breadth of border on another piece of cardboard and the cut the strips using exacto knife.

Step 6: Color the Fence

To make the game look attractive for kids, I am going to color the border strips. Color using blue Acrylic color. I will color the 4 strips on the top which is seen by naked aye. I am not going to color the rest strips as they will not be visible to us. Use double coat if needed. Also paint the sides of all the strips.

Step 7: Its Turn for Puzzle Set

This is going to be a very interesting task for you, as you are also developing your Creativity and logical thinking too while making this skill set. Take any chart paper of the size of the puzzle area (leaving border area). You can also cut one cardboard piece of the size of the puzzle area and make shapes on it and cut it out directly. I was not having a large cardboard piece, so I am using a chart paper. Use your creativity to form any skillset or puzzle set. I made a rough sketch on the notebook first. After finalizing 10 sets I drew it on the chart paper. I numbered each set to avoid confusion while cutting the cardboard pieces for the set.

Step 8: Transfer the Set on Cardboard Pieces

Now, we need to copy the shapes of sets one by one on the cardboard sheet and cut it using the Exacto knife. This is very important to make an accurate cut/shape on the cardboard, as this will create problem while fixing the puzzle. This is the reason why I have used this chart paper.

Step 9: Finish the Shapes

There should not be a large gap between the shapes because the kids will get confused over it. So, here i am done with the cutting of puzzle shapes.

Step 10: Color Them Beautiful

Let's color the puzzle set into beautiful yellow. Bright colors are the favorite ones of kids. Here, I am using Acrylic color to paint the shapes. Once the first coat dries up, use another coat of yellow and finish all the shapes.

Step 11: Glue the Borders

Its time to glue the strips we had painted for the fencing. First place the strip without paint on it. And then paste the stip with the color on it. Do this with all the sides.

Step 12: Solve the Puzzle / How to Play

Place all the sets inside the box and check for any errors.

We can make various rounds for this game :

1) Ask the kid to pick a random shape/set one by one. He/she will place it on the puzzle board after observing and analyzing each shape. And will finish the game in whatever time he/she wants to take. This will be the easiest round.

2) For the next round, this game can be played between two players or it can be a multiplayer game. Each player has to beat his/her own time. The one who will take minimum time to solve the puzzle will be the winner.

3) Here, someone will supervise the game, it will be supervised using a stopwatch. The one who is supervising will give one set at a time to the kid for a time period of 5 seconds and the player/kid have to think logically and apply it on the board.

This is really a brainstorming game for kids.

Step 13: Here We Go..

Just disassemble the puzzle and reassemble it and enjoy. Happy learning !!

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