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Growing Up—Choices & Challenges

Should I buy a new bike or save for a car? Will I get grounded or win that scholarship? Students answer these questions as they design a cool, new game about growing up—with their own personal twists.

  • Grade 4
    Grade 5
    Grade 6
  • Directions

    1. Organize students in small groups. Ask students to list and compare favorite board games. Read and discuss books such as Enders Game by Orson Card or The Egypt Game by Zilpha Snyder. Brainstorm common factors found in the games such as paths to follow, bonus or challenge cards, obstacles, rewards, consequences, game pieces, random number generators, and other attributes. Consider also having students make connections to the games that they play daily.
    2. Using Crayola Erasable Colored Pencils, ask students to write a list of immediate and future goals for their lives. What might you like to accomplish in the next six months? In 5 years? 10 years? 20 years? Document student responses on a white board, easily visible for quick reference. Students also list obstacles or challenges that might interfere with reaching those goals, such as the need to practice a sport skill for three hours a day or to go to college for several years to achieve a goal.
    3. Next, ask students to create a list of possible rewards for accomplishing goals and/or consequences for not achieving these goals.
    4. Challenge students to create a new game board to play. This can be done in small groups. Students decide on the design of the game board and how players will move from start to finish. Children sketch ideas on scrap paper, experimenting with a variety of configurations to make sure everything will fit on the board and be visually appealing to the team members. Determine the basic rules for the game in order to know what parts need to be constructed.
    5. Here are some ideas to get started: Create an eye-popping game board. Make colorful designs on a piece of white paper using brightly colored Crayola Washable Markers. Cut out stepping stones from colorful construction paper to create a path leading from start to finish. Glue the decorated shapes to dark construction paper. Glue the base to large piece of colored construction paper to form a border.
    6. Make spinners and game pieces with Crayola Model Magic® compound. Try swirling Model Magic colors, adding dots or stripes, and stacking colors to make the game pieces stand out on the board. Model Magic dries to the touch overnight and dries completely in 2 to 3 days.
    7. Students use the lists they created to add another layer of fun to their game. Create reward and consequence cards connected to the challenges and obstacles. Decorate cards with symbols that match those used elsewhere in the game. Write words with Crayola Fine Line Markers.
    8. Students play their games with classmates and friends! Compare and contrast the features of the games. How do student-created games compare to the games in Enders Game and/or The Egypt Game?
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

    LA: Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience in an organized manner, using appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details to support main ideas or themes; speak clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    SS: Give examples of and explain group and institutional influences such as religious beliefs, laws, and peer pressure, on people, events, and elements of culture.

    VA: Select and use the qualities of structures and functions of art to improve communication of ideas.

    VA: Use subjects, themes, and symbols that demonstrate knowledge of contexts, values, and aesthetics that communicate intended meaning in artworks.

  • Adaptations

    If possible, have several board games available for students to review. Possibilities games include Monopoly, Candy Land, RISK, Twister, Cranium, Chutes and Ladders, etc.

    Students work in small groups to develop their original games. Challenge students to write clear, concise explanations of the purpose of their games, as well as the rules to follow when playing the games.

    Students adjust the focus of their original games to worldwide issues such as green living, global warming, and/or limiting carbon footprints. If possible, students use recycled materials to create a larger format. An written explanation of the purpose of the game, as well as clear, concise rules, need to be included for this expanded format.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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