Credit: Simon Huggins

For this year’s kids maker day, we’re going to try a game jam. Here is the rough agenda:

9:00   Welcome and introductions, playing game. What’s your favorite game? What makes a game?
10:45  Game jam challenge  (designing a game with supplied materials and constraints)
1:00   Design a game (You choose from options of computer games, board games, card games, outside games, or something else.)
2:15   Design a game (cont.)
3:30  Share our games
3:45   Wrap up

As you might remember from past years, we never know how many kids we’ll get or what ages they’ll be. In the past, we’ve had around 15-20 kids, aged 2 to 85.

My plan is to start with a bunch of games out everywhere, inviting kids to play with whatever they want. This will then lead into a discussion about favorite games, what makes a good game, and what a game is (hopefully leading to things like things like goals, rules/constraints, components, core mechanics, and spaces.)

Then we’ll have a structured game jam, where kids get in small groups (3-4) and are given specific materials and constraints, and told to make a game with the above elements. (I haven’t decided on the specifics of this challenge, nor on whether to require them to write out the rules.) Then we’ll play each other’s games and discuss. (I’m leaning against a more formal evaluation.)

In the afternoon, kids will be invited to design another game, but this time with no constraints. It could be a computer game, a board game, a card game, an outdoors game or something else. (I’m not quite sure the computer game thing is going to work because of time/resource constraints, but I’m willing to try it if the kids want.)

Any comments? I’d love to hear them.

As I’ve worked on this, I drew on the very helpful videos of Kevin Hodgson and Matthew Farber, which are posted below.

Other helpful resources are this Game Jam Guide from ??.

Stay tuned for more on this project as it develops.

Game jam on!

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